Lotus Magazine: Embracing Confidence and Self Expression at Manhattan College  

By Angelina Perez, Contributer

Lotus is a Manhattan College-based magazine dedicated to giving artists and those with a creative passion a platform to express themselves. 

Lily Brown, a senior economics major is the co-editor in chief of Lotus alongside Jilleen Barrett, and was able to explain the semester-long process it takes to make the magazine come to life. 

“I definitely think Lotus is a space where people can find themselves creatively and also professionally,” Brown explained. “People join Lotus because they have a vision that they want to see come to life, and we are the only space where you can just come in as a brand new member and say, I have this idea. I want to write this. I want to have this photoshoot, maybe. How can I do that? And Lotus is there to kind of give you all the tools and all the people to execute. And I think that that is super unique, and I don’t really think that happens elsewhere on campus.”

Lotus published its first issue in 2017, making the club five years old this year. They feature both Fashion and Beauty and Lifestyle and Opinion based pieces. They currently run “Yours Truly,” a column similar to a diary entry posted every Wednesday. You can relate to these women as they share their experiences and thoughts through adulthood. 

“There’s always room for learning and growth with Lotus, which is the best part about it,” Brown said. “You know, even for me, as one of the Co-editors in chief, if I feel like my skills and an area aren’t good enough to execute a task that I need to do for the print, I’ll lean on somebody else on the masthead to help me out with it. So it just becomes very collaborative, especially when we’re getting towards the print date. And that comes from the passion for the publication and the dedication to the magazine.” 

Lotus offers applications during their meetings and throughout the semester for modeling positions regardless of experience. It can be a great way to expand your portfolio and understand what life will be like for you if you want to enter the field. 

“When it comes to, you know, people who model for us, we never require any sort of prior experience,” Brown said. “If you are someone who feels comfortable being put on the page, or you’re looking to get into modeling or you’re just like ‘Forget it, I feel super confident today.’ Being a model is open to anyone, I think it really is about finding confidence for people, and yourself which is amazing.” 

Freshman Xavier Peña, a psychology major, spoke about his time modeling for Lotus’ most recent shoot directed and styled by Mars Ross. 

“The concept was different but was very creative,” Peña said. “It felt good being the black sheep of the public eye and made me feel confident in a way. A lot of people complimented us; most of the looks we were getting were those of awe.” 

Michaela Sully, a freshman communication and sound study double major, was the nail artist for Mars Ross’s shoot. 

“Six hours for two sets,” Sully explained when asked how long the nails took to put together. “Originally I had gone to a Lotus meeting and was talking to Mars about how I wanted to put my nails out there and she suggested it would be a cool addition to this photoshoot. I am very grateful for this opportunity.”

Sully is just one of many young artists Lotus helps express their passions behind the scenes, a task that comes with many challenges.

“One of the challenges with Lotus is that we are not actually an official school club, so the Communication department will give us money to print our magazine, but we are not supported by Student Engagement for the publications,” Brown explained. “So the stylists are responsible for styling their models, and that also goes for the cost of styling them as well. I know our stylist Mars Ross; if she’s able to, she will use clothes that are already in her closet. She has an insane wardrobe; she’s even styled men with her wardrobe. So I think our stylists are very good at being economical about what they do.” 

Lotus Magazine is hosting a fashion show on the Quad on April 27th from 9 to 10 pm. All are welcome, and they are even pushing Manhattan College student designers to apply and have their pieces shown. 

“Someone suggested the fashion show at our very first meeting in the fall, and it was totally like an idea that we had no idea we would actually be able to execute and now it’s happening.” Brown said. “Student Engagement is helping us out with getting us decorations, so it’s not like we get no help from the school. We go to them with something that will be a benefit to our community and Lotus and they will help us out you know, so we may not be official but the school still supports us.”

Grace Hokodak, a sophomore English education Major, is a participant in Lotus’s upcoming fashion show and was able to shine light on her vision behind her soon-to-be featured pieces. 

A glimpse inside “That ‘70s Shoot.” BRIAN ASARE/COURTESY

“I created a vision board on Pinterest of what idea I was going for.” Hodak said. ”It started with bright colored 80s themed, and from there it evolved into color and expression in business attire. I have a lot of bright colored statement pieces that I wanted to pair with blazers and long jackets so I figured that was the best theme for what clothes I had! I also borrowed some clothes from friends who were willing to let me who have a similar style to my theme.” 

Lotus can give those who need a creative outlet a safe space with no judgment, just flourishment.  

“I think Lotus is a reminder that you can do some pretty cool stuff with the right people in your corner.” Brown proclaims. “It is scary when you are doing something that you really care about, but you have to do things that scare you a little bit sometimes. If you could just get through it little by little it’ll get done and it’s going to be so worth it.” 

Lotus Magazine’s masthead applications for Fall 2022 are currently open. Those who share a passion for writing, fashion, and art are highly encouraged to explore the many positions they offer. To keep updated with the progress of this semester and future issues, their Instagram is @lotusmagazinemc.There is always a place for you at Lotus, from behind the scenes to in front of the camera.