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the ms. mayhem story /

Ms. Mayhem grew out of a desire for one place to go to discover stories about women in alternative industries, like skateboarding, graffiti and tattooing. I couldn’t find a news outlet that focused on women’s issues beyond abortion or sexual assault. I became frustrated visiting multiple sites and social media platforms, trying to find femme-identifying individuals in each area of my diverse interests, and news coverage that empowered us. So I set out to create the platform I desperately needed in my life. 

Our name may seem familiar to many who were around for the feminist movement in the ‘70s. Ms. Magazine was a major influence on second-wave feminism, as we hope to be on the current wave. As our name suggests, we like disrupting the status quo. In many cases, that will mean we present some uncomfortable arguments or data that clash with your beliefs. As long as it’s truthful, we’ll report it.

I look forward to opening up a dialogue about what it means to be femme, and how current events shape our daily lives. I’ve gathered some of my favorite journalists who represent several intersections of gender identity, sexuality, class, race, ability and solid writing. We aim to bring a fresh perspective on feminism, politics and entertainment to the table, and in the process destroy stigma in our own personal beliefs. And as much as our audience is along for the ride, we’re here for it too. 

 

Yvie Oddly and Jehovah Thickness at Denver PrideFest June 2017. Photo by Ali Watkins.

meet our reporters /

Madison
Lauterbach

FOUNDER & EDITOR /

I was born in Denver raised in the surrounding suburbs. I recently graduated from MSU Denver with a degree in journalism and a minor in political science. I was the news editor of the university’s newspaper The Metropolitan for two years. I’m that person who argues about politics at the bar, like the time I won a debate with my ex about federal taxes and he keyed both sides of my car. I’m 25 years old and have rheumatoid arthritis and I also know that’s very young to have arthritis. I’m a little bit angry about a lot.

Cassandra
Ballard

CO-FOUNDER & CONTRIBUTING WRITER /

I was born outside of the Denver area and have spent the majority of my adult life living in the city. I spent a few years living on the western side of the Continental Divide, and I yearn to go back. Growing up, I was a competitive ballerina and I would have gone professional, but high school happened. In my early 20s, I lived as a ski bum on the Western Slope. I studied journalism at MSU Denver and worked as the features editor at The Metropolitan.

Annie
Burky

CO-MANAGING EDITOR /

I am a native Coloradan with a bachelor’s in international affairs from the University of Colorado at Boulder. I’ve worked with the Peace Corps as a literacy specialist in Uganda and a language instructor in China. I’ve also recently accepted a fellowship at NYU to receive a master’s in writing. If you have an intramural soccer team who is looking for a player I’m interested!

Ali
Watkins

CO-FOUNDER  /

In addition to writing for Ms. Mayhem, I’m also a reporter for BizWest. I grew up in Colorado and have covered Aurora, Denver and now Boulder Valley and Northern Colorado. I studied journalism at MSU Denver, covering news and feature stories in the Denver Metro area for The Metropolitan, where I served as photo editor from 2017 to 2018 before a year-long run as editor-in-chief. Before my current roles, I interned and freelanced as a photojournalist for Sentinel Colorado in Aurora. I’m also an acting board member in the SPJ Colorado Pro Chapter, serving as secretary since 2019.

James
Bofenkamp

CONTRIBUTING WRITER & COPY EDITOR /

I was born and raised in Colorado, and currently study philosophy at MSU Denver. Early in my time there I started writing for the school’s newspaper, The Metropolitan, and fell in love with the work, environment and people. While there, I worked my way to assistant news editor, where I was able to learn a surprising amount, every week. Subsequently, I have picked up journalism as my minor. In addition to Ms. Mayhem and school, I also tend bar at The Denver Press Club.

Polina
Saran

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER & VIDEOGRAPHER /

I was born in Latvia and raised in St. Petersburg and Moscow during the collapse of the Soviet Union. During that time, stores had no food and the Russian mafia fought for power and made the city into the country’s capital of crime. At 18, I came back to Latvia where I earned a bachelor’s in psychology. In 2013, like many other Europeans, I moved to London to learn English and find work. After that, my desire to speak English led me to study more and I moved to Denver, where I earned a second degree in social documentary and video production.

Padideh
Aghanoury

CONTRIBUTING WRITER  /

I was born and raised in Colorado and currently live in Denver. You can find my writing in other local publications like 303 Magazine and OUT FRONT. I tend to write about underground music, and am personally involved in several DIY projects around town. Outside of music, I am deeply passionate about worker’s rights, gender and racial equity and the abolitionism of the police, military and prisons. When I’m not busy writing or reading, I like to paint, garden, make music and ride my bike.

Esteban
Fernandez

CONTRIBUTING WRITER & PHOTOGRAPHER /

Long commutes with NPR allowed my long-standing love affair with politics, history and science to continue past my undergrad days at CU Boulder. Devouring everything from Radiolab, This American Life, and other podcasts soon made me realize it was what I wanted to do as well. I attended MSU Denver, where I served as Editor-in-Chief of The Metropolitan. I’ve written freelance since then, covering topics like the business side of the hemp industry. In my spare time, I regularly prowl Amazon Prime for yet another trashy found footage horror movie and regularly feed my addiction to science fiction.

Maria
Muller

CONTRIBUTING WRITER /

I’ve spent the last 30 years raising five kids and also managed to find time to graduate from MSU Denver with a degree in journalism. As much as I love my kids, I am now ready to concentrate on my next two loves, writing and comic books. I am a regular writer for Denver Parent magazine but I’m excited to explore other publications. I’m especially eager to learn more about powerful women, LGBTQIA and anyone else in our world whose voices should be heard, and to share their stories. Also, Marvel over DC all day.

Amelia
Petrini

CONTRIBUTING WRITER /

I’m originally from Asuncion, Paraguay and moved to Texas in 1996, but I’ve called Colorado home since 2011. I have a bachelor’s degree in linguistics from MSU Denver and a minor in social psychology. My biggest passion is figure skating, something I attempt to find the time for most days of the week. In my spare time I like to draw and explore new languages.