Shameless is an independent Canadian voice for smart, strong, sassy young women and trans youth. It’s a fresh alternative to typical teen magazines, packed with articles about arts, culture and current events, reflecting the neglected diversity of our readers’ interests and experiences. Grounded in principles of social justice and anti-oppression, Shameless aims to do more than just publish a magazine: we aim to inspire, inform, and advocate for young women and trans youth.
Shameless strives to practice and develop an inclusive feminism. We understand that many of the obstacles faced by young women and trans youth lie at the intersection of different forms of oppression, based on race, class, ability, immigration status, sexual orientation, and gender identity. As a grassroots magazine, we are committed to supporting and empowering young writers, editors, designers and artists, especially those from communities that are underrepresented in the mainstream media.
Proudly independent, Shameless is a grassroots magazine produced by a team of volunteer staff members.
Each issue of Shameless entertains and inspires with profiles of amazing women, discussion of the hot topics that concern you most, DIY guides to crafty activities, sports dispatches, the latest in technology, columns on food politics, health & sexuality, advice and more.
Shameless has been making waves since its launch in June 2004. That year, Shameless was named Best New Magazine by Toronto alt-weekly NOW and nominated for two Utne Independent Press Awards (Best New Title and Best Design). In 2005, Shameless won an Utne award for Best Personal Life Writing. We were nominated again in 2006, for Lifestyle coverage. In 2005, cover story “Making The Cut” was nominated for a National Magazine Award.
Published three times a year, Shameless is available in independent bookstores and Chapters/Indigo locations across Canada and select locations in the United States.
Sheila Sampath, Editorial and Art Director
Sheila Sampath is an educator and an activist designer who has been crafting creative for social good since 2003. She has a background in grassroots activism and organizing, which she incorporates into her strategic approach to graphic design and popular education as Principal and Creative Director at The Public and instructor at OCAD University. Sheila sit on the board of directors for the South Asian Visual Arts Centre, is a member of the British Council’s TN2020 network and a fellow of the Royal Society of Artists, and currently plays bass and sings in Tu Suis. Her first book, Letters Lived, was published in fall 2013 by Women’s Press. In 2012, she was named one of one hundred people of colour anti-racist activists by the Racism Free Ontario campaign. Sheila’s work as a designer has received international recognition for community impact.
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Julia Horel, Publisher
Julia Horel is the publisher at Shameless. She uses she/her pronouns. She holds a BA in English Lit from Trent and a Master of Publishing from Simon Fraser. Her day job is in book publishing, and she loves reading, social media, cooking, snacking and napping. Though she works in the literary world, she not-so-secretly indulges in romance and YA novels on a regular basis. She will drag you to a spin class with her if you show the slightest interest. She’s passionate about anti-racism, reproductive justice, fat acceptance and body image.
Contact Julia at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Caitlin Blennerhassett, Front of Book Editor
Caitlin Blennerhassett lives and works in both Ontario and Nova Scotia. She has been a member of the Saint Mary’s University Women’s Centre Board of Directors and has been trained as a Restorative Justice Facilitator, Doula and Placenta Encapsulation Specialist. She has an Honours B.A. in Criminology and Psychology from Saint Mary’s University and half of an M.A. in Counselling Psychology from McGill University. Currently pursuing a Bachelor of Health Sciences in Midwifery from McMaster University, Caitlin’s time is spent catching babies and reading about catching babies. She’s a solo parent, bibliophile and queer lady activist with a penchant for comic books and tea.
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Manisha Aggarwal-Schifellite, Arts Editor
Manisha Aggarwal-Schifellite is a writer, editor and snack enthusiast from Toronto. She has an M.A. from the Ryerson-York Joint Programme in Communication and Culture, focusing on representations of masculinity in advertising, and a B.A. in history from McGill University. Manisha has worked in independent media for over three years, including stints at The Real News Network, The New Press and Between the Lines Publishing, as well as community organizations like Parkdale Project Read and the Kensington-Bellwoods Community Legal Clinic. Her passions include critical pop culture analysis, bicycling and collaging.
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Jessica Balmer, Reviews Editor (on maternity leave)
Jessica Balmer has been writing and editing for fun since forever and for money any day now. Her writing has appeared in Bitch magazine, Trot Magazine, HEART Business Journal for Women, The London Free Press and The F-Word, among others. She is a prolific, though narrowly published, poet and blogger with a penchant for tattoos, avocados and culture jamming. Jessica has an MA in Women’s Studies and Feminist Research and a BA in Women’s Studies and Media, Information, and Technoculture from the University of Western Ontario.
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Shannon Clarke, Features Editor
Shannon is a writer from Toronto. She is finishing her undergraduate degree in journalism at Ryerson University, where she also studies economics. She has been writing for youth publications since 2005 and contributed to and edited McClung’s Magazine for four years. Shannon is passionate about feminism, labour issues, anti-colonialism, independent media and literature. She watches too much television.
Contact Shannon at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Julia De Laurentiis Johnson, Arts Editor
Julia has worked for a lot of magazines over the years, including Maclean’s, The Walrus and This magazine. She got her MA in Journalism from City University in London UK, sat on the Equal Voice Youth Board trying to get more women elected to government and has worked on and off with Shameless since just after it was founded in 2004. She’s interested in hip hop blogs and all the podcasts you got.
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Michelle Schwartz, Interim Reviews Editor
Michelle Schwartz is a librarian and writer who splits her time pretty evenly between the city of Toronto and the forgotten corners of the Internet. She is the co-director of Lesbian and Gay Liberation in Canada, a digital humanities research project that she hopes will one day spread the love for radical Canadian queer history far and wide. In the meantime, you can usually find her hopped up on coffee and reading a several months–old issue of the New Yorker.
Contact Michelle at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Christine Smith McFarlane, Contributing Editor
Christine McFarlane is a Canadian First Nations journalist and writer. She writes about issues that are the closest to her — healing, inspiration, current events and the political. She is currently working on her first memoir collection of short stories, which she hopes to have out in the next year. Beside her story “Choosing the Path to Healing,” which appeared in the 2006 anthology Growing Up Girl: An Anthology of Voices from Marginalized Spaces, Christine has also published creative non-fiction pieces in Yellow Medicine Review, a poem titled “I Remember” in xxx ndn, a book of poetry published by the Aboriginal Writers Collective of Manitoba, and a piece titled “A Legacy of Colonial Childcare” in Briarpatch Magazine. She also writes regularly for Life’s Journey, Anishinabek News, New Tribe Magazine, First Nations House, Windspeaker, Shameless and the Toronto Review of Books.
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Lauren Pragg, Columns and online Community Editor
Lauren is a daughter of Trinidadian immigrants who was born and raised on the land of the Mississaugas of the New Credit and Haudenosaunee peoples (aka Toronto). She’s a student, educator and editor. Lauren likes colouring books, beaches and pressing the buttons in elevators. She’s one of the bloggers you can follow on Tumblr.
Contact Lauren at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kate-Christine Miller, Circulation Manager and Community Liason
Kate-Christine Miller is an artist and child & youth Worker originally from the Niagara Region. She works as a Youth Worker at Delisle Youth Services’ drop-in arts program “The Studio” and at the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health. Kate is a bisexual, hard-of-hearing cartoonist and embroiderer who creates under the name Kate Mildew. She loves working with youth to create things, and sometimes those things show up in Shameless!
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Erin McPhee, Web Art Director
Erin McPhee is an illustrator and designer. She received her BAA in Illustration from Sheridan College. She can be found exploring her interests in self-publishing, sketchbook-keeping, feminism, and anti-oppression. You can check out her work on the cover of Issue 22 of Shameless here, and throughout the Shameless blog.
Contact Erin at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Meg Pirie, Web Editor
Meg Pirie works in communications in London, Ontario. Her work has been published in a number of local publications, as well as This and Canadian Dimension. She has two forthcoming academic articles that deal with feminist filmmaking. Over time, Meg’s varied and bizarre employment experiences have led to a keen interest in the many issues concerning labour, which is the primary focus of her Shameless column. You can expect to also find commentary on adolescence, feminist health issues and young adult literature. Meg holds a Master’s in Media Studies from the University of Western Ontario. In her free time, she plays with her dog Layla and reads about public transit.
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Naz Afsahi, Web Editor
Naz Afsahi resides in Toronto, and works as an education administrator for a theatre company dedicated to young people. She is passionate about and has written blog entries for Shameless on issues relating to trans rights, race and representation, and health and fitness. A feminist of colour, Naz is addicted to television, romance novels, Ashtanga yoga and cuddles. Naz has a Masters in Media Studies from the University of Western Ontario, and a Bachelor of Arts (Film Studies/Religious Studies) from Queen’s University.
Contact Naz at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ronak Ghorbani, Multimedia and Online Community Editor
Currently pursuing a PhD in Environmental Studies at York University, Ronak’s research focus is on diasporic youth cultures and developing Iranian-Canadian life histories. A graduate from Ryerson and York Universities’ joint master’s programme in Communication and Culture, her master’s research paper focused on Muslim feminisms and self-publishing. Ronak has worked with many different alternative media, including writing for NOW Magazine, Exclaim! and rabble.ca, and she is a former co-Editor-in-Chief of feminist magazine McClung’s. Her research into the world of feminism and social media has been featured in the Toronto Star. Ronak was also the Arts Editor from 2010 to 2013.
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Jessie Hale, Copy Editor
Jessie Hale is a freelance editor and proofreader who mostly works on academic and literary non-fiction texts of a leftist bent. In addition to copy editing Shameless, she has edited for many of Toronto’s finest small presses, including Between the Lines, Sumach Press, Tightrope Books and Canadian Scholars’ Press. She also works as Project Manager for Taqqut Productions, which produces books and other media focused on Inuit culture and history, and runs Marginalia Editorial and Creative Services, an editorial and design firm. She is especially interested in body acceptance, labour justice and reproductive rights.
Contact Jessie at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Brett Bishop, Head of Research
Brett Bishop is a trans-identified queer activist, a musical enthusiast, a writer and a researcher living in the city of Toronto. Brett holds a degree in Political Science from the University of Toronto and is the head fact checker for Shameless. They spend their time drinking coffee, sharing stories, roaming the intellectual corridors of equity and politics and listening to too much Beyoncé.
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Roxana Parsa, Events Coordinator
Roxana Parsa is currently a law student studying at the University of Toronto. She previously studied at McGill University, where she received a B.A. in Psychology and International Development, with a focus on the Middle East. Her writing and illustrations have been published in the McGill Daily, Upstream Journal and Briarpatch Magazine. She is interested in issues that lie in the intersection of immigration, gender and health, and is actively seeking a more critical approach to law.
Contact Roxana at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Nicole Cohen, Co-Founder and Board Member
Nicole Cohen is the co-founder and former co-editor and co-publisher of Shameless. She is currently an assistant professor in the Institute of Communication, Culture and Information Technology at the University of Toronto Mississauga. You can learn about Nicole’s research, writing and teaching at http://nicolescohen.com.
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Melinda Mattos, Co-Founder and Board Member
When Melinda was a teenager, the mainstream media tried to convince her that her breasts were too small, her brain was too big and her life would be incomplete if she didn’t have a boyfriend. In her twenties, she fought back by launching Shameless, a fiercely independent teen magazine. Melinda has a Bachelor of Journalism from Ryerson University and has worked as a writer, editor and producer at The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Eye Weekly, Strategy and TVOntario. She currently works at George Brown College.
Contact Melinda at: firstname.lastname@example.org