Recently publishYOUth spoke with the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Overachiever Magazine, the wonderful Rehana Paul! Rehana is a rising college sophomore from Philadelphia, and she is an accomplished writer and blogger. Her magazine focuses on uplifting the voices of Asian women, and she has a plethora of advice for submissions and internship opportunities! Here we spoke with Rehana about getting involved with Overachiever Magazine, the qualities in accepted pieces, and her passion for writing!
Can you tell us a bit about your passion and background with writing?
RP: I have always loved writing. When I was little, I would make these newspapers with all the news going on in my house and with my family, steal my mom’s iPhone to look at the weather and headlines, and distribute it to anyone who stood still long enough. I have since refined my craft (and spelling), but that stands out as the first time I realized my passion for journalism.
How would you describe Overachiever Magazine as the Founder and Editor-In-Chief?
RP: I could go on for hours, quite literally hours, about it, but I think this one-liner sums it up pretty well: Overachiever Magazine is the world by and for Asian women.
Devika Bahadur From The Wellness Issue
The recent issues of Overachiever Magazine have been beautiful collections of journalism, poetry, art, and more. What advice do you have for students looking to submit or pitch their writing to the magazine?
RP: Just do it! Don’t overthink it, don’t put yourself down, just do it. If you’re not sure how to start, just send us a DM or email—I answer almost all of our DMs and emails personally, so you’re definitely going to get your question answered in great detail.
What are some qualities in accepted writing pieces that have caught your team’s eye?
RP: We love well-researched pieces. A lot of the pieces that we publish tend to be quite controversial, so when someone can back up their claims with reputable sources, we absolutely love that. On the more personal side, we like to see pieces that are very honest—that tackle the topics that no one wants to talk about.
What’s your approach to giving constructive feedback to writers?
RP: We tend to be quite firm about things like grammar—we have a style guide we conform to quite strictly. And of course, we’d never publish anything that was bigoted or close-minded in any ways. In terms of things like fleshing out ideas or offering alternative perspectives, we give suggestions, but as a rule, try to leave pieces as true to the author’s style and original vision as possible.
What is the one thing you wish you knew before starting the magazine?
RP: Honestly, nothing! I have loved learning on the job and learning from my team.
How can students get involved with the Overachiever Magazine team? How do you all go about hiring talented youth for the magazine?
RP: There are tons of opportunities to work with us. Apply for one of our internships—we open up applications three times a year (next opening in May), write for one of our issues, DM us about a social media feature—get in touch, and we’ll find a spot for you.
Is there anything upcoming for the magazine that you can tell us about?
RP: We launched our podcast, Over the Moon! Our incredible secretary—now podcast host—Isabel Moon created it (she moonlights as my best friend), and we created the first episode together. You can check it out on Spotify, Apple Music, or your favorite podcast source. We’re everywhere.
Finally, what advice would you have for youth writers looking to get their voices out there?
RP: Don’t wait for it. If you have something to say, don’t let up until you’ve gotten to say it. And hey, if no one is letting you say it—start your own magazine, be your own editor, and say it then!
Special thanks to Rehana Paul for her participation in this interview and the writing community! Feel free to read the latest issues of Overachiever Magazine, listen to the Over the Moon podcast, and check back in May for their internship applications!