Dream in Sequence with editor-in-chief, Fabiola Ching of Coalition Zine
Interview: Isis Nicole
Trust your purpose. At least that's what comes to mind after meeting 19-year-old, editor-in-chief, Fabiola Ching. She's the D.C. - based founder of, The Coalition Zine, a femme quarterly print, and online platform, made up of literature and videos.
Over Skype, we quickly indulged in our kindred tastes. We share the same zodiac sign, editorial roles, and, in pure coincidence, wore matching denim outfits.
By way of Cameroon, Ching's bottom line is simple. Solidarity, especially for women of colour.
Isis Nicole: Was becoming a publisher something that you wanted earlier or later in your life?
Fabiola Ching: I always liked writing. I liked books, but I never thought it was going to be a magazine … like a real thing, you know? I think I kind of fell into it, but I don't mind. I'm really glad that it happened. That it's happening. I started trying to work with more girls in the D.C. area. This is my first time Skyping in like years.
IN: I'm out here in California, which leaves Hannah Black and I accessible to each other on Skype. I'm actually on the phone or FaceTime quite a bit, now. I didn't get a chance to say this earlier, but I want to. You're doing everything you're supposed to and more. I went to have a look at the launch of your new webpage, and I can see all the work it must take to be able to give so much of yourself, as well as to provide a space for people. Don't ever stop.
FC: I'm so excited!
IN: How is your workshop Bby Steps? I want to participate in the future.
FC: We had to postpone it for just a little bit. Apparently, I've got too much on my plate! I'm currently contacting a bunch of artists, writers, curators, and really cool people in my area that would like to participate. I was thinking about it for a really long time. There's so many young people around me. When I was coming up … I'm still coming up, what am I saying. It's meant to help people who want to know where to start.
IN: Exactly. Sharing valuable information is rare, I feel. To be someone who really stands behind giving back, it's a challenge that's not impossible. It can be done.
FC: [At times] It's a struggle. I don't know shit. The little that I do know, and the little that I've learned, I really just want to share, you know. You don't have to tell your secrets and shit. Just helping people with how to start, or where to go for help. It's really important, especially for girls like us.
IN: That's awesome. I'm sorry I've just been coming at you with question after question. Did you have any for me?
FC: I am so enamored by you. I just want to know, when did you start doing Isis Nicole?
IN: [Thank you] Oh my gosh. Well, I ended up starting The IN Mag back in 2013. At the time my mom would drive me to get disposable cameras which I would send to artists. I'd give the artists an assignment on what to shoot, and then I'd interview them. I already had so much discipline through talking to myself on Tumblr starting in 2009. It's what eventually led me to interviewing a variety of people online, and in print. Even earlier on, I wrote for my high school paper. When I was around 9-years-old, I got my first computer, and had been writing short-stories and plays on there. Then in like 2004, I fell in love with Xanga. Fast-forward to 2014, I met Hannah Black at a Glossier event. I don't know if I'm pronouncing it right.
FC: I say it the bougie way.
IN: So I went to a gloss-ee-ay event, and had 100 plus pages worth of content that needed to be designed. And by this time, I had moved from film to assigned and submitted digital photography. Black was at the same party. She came up to me, coincidentally had her work on her, turned out to be a graphic designer, and we've been working together ever since.
FC: What are some of your challenges?
IN: I'm my biggest challenge. Sometimes I get scared and I can make excuses. Fear has never taken the wheel, thankfully, but sometimes I let it ride in the passenger seat and it'll make comments like, 'Who do you think you are?' Even when there's evidence of achievements, I'll have moments where I'll have to overcome self-doubt. And then outside of me are things like, gatekeepers. I feel like that's an everyday frustration - how to challenge those types of platforms.
FC: I love that you guys do everything on your own terms. It's something that I've struggled with, but I'm finally getting a grasp of that. And I'm so into how you guys are just so into what you do. Like when you see it, there are like no outside forces that [instruct] what you do. For me, who has always felt like an outsider in this creative scene, it was so nice to meet you guys. You guys were so kind from the jump and I've never gotten that kind of reception.
IN: Aw! Yeah! Black grew up in a small town in Iowa, and for me, in Ohio. I didn't grow up in a fast-paced culture. I think something about those backgrounds influence our friendliness. Thank you!
FC: I was thinking about fast-paced cities. I can go on and work in New York, but I can't live there. I feel it would completely strip me of my vulnerability.
IN: Are there any other cities that you'd like to bring The Coalition Zine? [Coughs] London.
FC: Definitely. Also, Philly. They've got a really interesting vibe. I'd like to go to fuck shit up a little bit.
Originally published in IN #5, Fall 2016