FRANQ GIRL is a digital beauty & lifestyle magazine for girls 14-19. It was created to be a positive place for girls to be heard and seen as they really are. Here is my exclusive interview with the founders Jessica Nicholson and Kristin Grimshaw!

How did the FRANQ GIRL Founders meet?

KG: Jessica and I met at Holt Renfrew. I ran the World Design Lab, a cool section of Holt’s that hosted new and upcoming designers, and Jessica worked in the Vintage Couture section.

Why did you decide to start up this magazine?

KG: Jessica and I both have young daughters and we often discussed our concerns for their futures. We decided to combine our talents and create something that could help change how girls are represented in the media and show them that they are more than just how they look.

What makes FRANQ Magazine unique?

KG: We use real teens as our models, we are Photoshop free, and we deal with the issues and topics that are important to them.

JN: We focus on girls as holistic beings – not just their physical appearance. In addition, we understand that we don’t need to make girls feel badly about themselves in order to sell them products.

What are some challenges you face creating this magazine?

JN&KG: There are several challenges we are facing at the moment. First, we are only two people doing everything – promotion, finances, business and media contracts.  Second, the fashion industry is not set up for diversity in body shapes, which makes it difficult to do our fashion shoots. Third, telling the world about FRANQ GIRL!

What is the biggest mistake you’ve ever made?

JN: I’ve made tons of “mistakes” that worked out for the better. I would say giving up my styling career after having my daughter. I had a tough couple of years, especially when I tried to get back to work. Instead of giving up, I did a lot of personal work, went back to school, and discovered my potential. I figured out new ways to put myself out there, ultimately giving me the knowledge and confidence to create FRANQ GIRL. I believe there are no coincidences in life.

Do you have a secret talent?

KG: I can make a clover shape with my tongue!

JN: I am able to imitate animals especially chickens cats and sheep!

What do you find to be life’s greatest pleasure?

KG: Sunday mornings in bed with the family.

JN: Being absolutely present in each and every moment.

What advice would you give to a girl chasing her dreams?

KG: Nothing comes easy. It’s going to take hard work but it will be so worth it in the end.

JN: The road to success is not a straight one, there is no such thing as overnight success, and what happens in between is much more important than the end goal.

Selina McCallum is a GEMgirl in the 2014/15 cohort,  student at Marc Garneau C.I. and a Digital Journalism Intern for GEM.