I happened upon Laia Garcia-Furtado's work in 2011, when my hobbies included making sticker albums and anticipating the next Disney Channel Original Movie, and everyone was wearing those hipster glasses in neon colors and using the phrase "adorkable." Most importantly, in 2011, Rookie Mag had just started and I was one of their most dedicated readers. Laia's articles for Rookie were especially revelatory for me. She made me feel less lonely as an only child, she introduced me to Fiona Apple and Now and Then, she taught me it's okay to do nothing. In short, she was like the cool older sister I never had.
When I got older and explored my interest in journalism more thoroughly, I learned to appreciate Laia's writing on a deeper level. I marveled at how she could be so knowledgeable about so many different things yet her writing was never grandiose or snobby, how she was able to make the lessons from personal events in her life feel applicable to everybody, how she could make you care intensely about various pop culture ephemera you had previously overlooked. By this time, Laia was an editor for Lenny Letter, and I quickly became engrossed in her work there as well as Lenny's whole aesthetic which I gracelessly tried to replicate in my own zines and publications.
Now features director at Garage, Laia continues to motivate me to write. Her humor-infused voice hasn't lost its earnestness, and she still introduces me to new concepts, whether it be how sincerity vs. authenticity are the new metrics of our time, or Emma Summerton's photographs. But what really inspires me is that she also writes about things that I thought were too niche to be covered, like Tokyo fashion label Jenny Fax or the costume designer for Los Espookys. She showed the importance of writing about what you care for, because you don't know how much it could mean to someone else.
Who are your inspirations?
My mom and my grandmother! The most intelligent, no-nonsense, go-after what you want women. I know that everything I do and am able to do is because of the sacrifices they made.
What work are you most proud of?
At Lenny I was also our art director, and I had a really incredibly diverse group of illustrators that I worked with. Seeking new people out was one of my favorite things to do, and we worked with both established illustrators and people who had never done a professional commission before. It was really fun. Also, the little book that was published early last year, Psychic Taste. I really gave myself through the process and I have to admit that even when I started writing it I didn't think it would be good enough to see the light of day. It's good to prove yourself wrong sometimes!
What does typical day look like for you?
Wake up between 7 and 8am, drink coffee, listen to The Daily while I get ready, get on the train and listen to a podcast or read a book. Get to the office around 9:30, work* work work work work work work check twitter work work work work work, leave office around 6, do a 7pm pilates class, be home by 8:30, shower, have dinner, watch tv, piss around the internet, think about how I want to write something but never actually get to writing it, get in bed around 11pm, troll instagram until I fall asleep around midnight.
*review pitches, submit invoices, edit pieces, answer emails, follow up on edits, answer emails, answer emails, answer emails
Using a metaphor, how would you describe your creative process?
Fill up a water balloon and slowly see it get fuller and fuller and heavier and heavier until it pops. (Meaning I get an idea and I have to sit with it for forever until I'm like "ok now I can write" and sometimes the "ok now I can write" is just... a looming deadline. I need pressure, is what I'm saying)
What do you think is the most important skill for a young writer to develop?
Actually just writing. When I started my blog, back before blogs were a thing and literally only like 5 of my friends read it, I made a point to blog every day. It was like a job, no one was paying me for it, but I always made time to write at the end of the day. So much so that on the occasion I missed a day I would feel horrible guilt about it. I would like to get back to that habit again. Now I feel like I am too scared of hating what I write so I don't even do it but that is stupid! Oh, and also another thing is to always write down ideas when you get them—especially if you tend to get lots of ideas right before you go to sleep. You think you'll remember them when you wake up, but you won't. (These are both advice for myself? So I think it's also like, you know, the learning process never stops!)
Who are your favorite artists?
I'm going with a broad definition of "artists" for this one: Fiona Apple, Chris Kraus, Julia de Burgos, Ana Mendieta, Lisa Yuskavage. Currently very into Christina Quarles and Toyin Ojih Odutola.And you know, Miuccia Prada ;)
How do you hope your work will change in the future?
I hope I do more of it. I hope it shows less fear. I hope it is bolder. I hope it surprises me.