This week in Women in the Mountains, we sat down with Editor in Chief Sierra Domaille and Art Director Juhee Kim of HiHeyHello magazine. Their new adventure magazine seeks to shake up women's media by highlighting the outdoors, sport, and creativity in one beautifully designed print magazine. HiHeyHello magazine photo.
There’s just something magical about magazines. For me, I’ve always loved the Christmas-like feeling of getting a small package in the mail once a month. Excitedly you rip open the plastic to find a beautiful collection of glossy photos and stories that whisk your imagination off to some faraway adventure. When I was 13, I saved my allowance and purchased two magazine subscriptions: Seventeen and National Geographic. I looked to Seventeen as a guidebook for navigating young womanhood, whereas, Nat Geo quenched my thirst for adventure. While I loved both, as I became more involved with the outdoors, neither magazine—and most other magazines, honestly—failed to showcase female explorers, creatives, and self-starters that I could look to as role models. Even now if I were asked “What does women’s outdoor culture look like?” I’m not sure I could give you a definitive answer.
Unsurprisingly, I’m not the only one who’s felt this way - so did Sierra Domaille and Juhee Kim. Except they used their dissatisfaction as a catalyst to take action by creating their very own magazine. Thanks to Domaille’s background in marketing, PR, and the outdoor industry and Kim’s expertise in design and illustration, the two joined forces to create HiHeyHello Magazine, a high quality printed journal that celebrates women’s outdoor culture.
Flipping through its pages you quickly notice that it’s not trying to be a women’s version of Powder or Freehub, instead, it’s something different. You’ll find all sorts of outdoor sports and adventures featured within each issue: skiing, mountain biking, surfing, and even skateboarding. While the subject matter is ever changing, there’s always a common theme of the outdoors. The same goes for the women in these stories. It’s not just elite athletes, but business owners, farmers, artists, creative directors, or the everyday explorer. If that hasn’t enticed you already to snag a copy, the magazine is lovingly designed with an extreme level of detail and intentionality. The end result is a beautiful piece of design that begs to live on your coffee table, and feels wrong to recycle when you’re finished reading the whole thing.
HiHeyHello just launched issue 2, and flipping through it I can’t help but feel like that 13-year-old again, staying up far too late because I can’t seem to put the magazine down. Eager to learn more, I caught up with Editor in Chief Sierra Domaille and Art Director Juhee Kim.
Left: Sierra Domaille proudly holds up issue 01 of the magazine. Right: Check out HiHeyHello's website to get issue 02 now! HiHeyHello photo.
Can you start with your personal background, and how that led to creating a magazine?
Sierra Domaille: I have always been a tomboy. I grew up in the mountains and then rebelled to love the ocean. I love cycling, camping, surfing, and skateboarding. I’m a little into everything - master of none. I spent over a decade with corporate jobs in public relations and marketing, primarily in the outdoors and action sports industry. Working in public relations, one is always aware of the media landscape. I’ve always loved print magazines, and it is fulfilling to create something tangible.
I left the workforce to focus on raising kids and got the itch to do something more entrepreneurial and creative - welcome HiHeyHello! When I first posted about starting the magazine, an old friend responded “I love that you’re still making magazines.” I laughed because I had forgotten that I used to make these little xeroxed/ collaged booklets and a short-lived girls skate zine. I think adventure and magazines have always been small fires inside of me, and now is the time.
As a woman, what did you find to be absent or lacking in most outdoor media?
SD: Honestly, I think we are at a place in time where women are owning adventure. The historical role of playing the sidekick is past tense. Women are crushing it these days and having a hell of a time. I’m not just speaking about athletics. Women are organizing around shared interests and claiming their spaces—like Flash Foxy and WTF Bikexplorers. We are also democratizing the outdoors and bringing new elements of creativity, activism, and fun that were lacking in the past. I wanted a place to tell stories about rad women doing rad things. I couldn’t find a media outlet for these stories, so I created one.
Most outdoor media is vertical, meaning its focus is on one sport. Climbing. Skiing. Snowboarding. I read many media kits and most outdoor magazines demographics skew between 75%-85% men. These magazines have featured more women in recent years, but their focus is men and often performance. I think there’s a lack of creative media space for women and I hope HiHeyHello can be both a magazine and a community.
Why do you think it’s important to create a space like HiHeyHello to tell these stories?
SD: I believe there are so many great stories out there that don’t have a home. I hope HiHeyHello feels inspirational and like something that you and your friends can be a part of. I also think there’s something slow, sacred, and intentional about print. In print, stories can breathe and there is nothing like rich photos on a page to make a story come to life. I feel print is the antithesis of a quick scroll, something that allows readers to push pause and engage. I see print as part of a moment of quietude or inspiration.
HiHeyHello isn't just about breathtaking outdoor adventures, it's also about the makers and creators in outdoor community. HiHeyHello photo.
Can you tell me more about the overall aesthetic/look of the magazine? What inspired the overall look and feel?
Juhee Kim: We want our readers to be delightfully surprised each time they turn a page. We also want our contributors and storytellers to feel proud of their stories on print. The overall look and feel of the magazine happens pretty naturally as we design around the stories we are surfacing. Some questions before I begin designing for each story: How can we bring this story to life? How can we best represent the storyteller’s voice and personality on these 8.5x11" pages?
The magazine covers stories of all types of women and their outdoor experiences. When you flip through an issue, you'll find each story has its own look unique to the story being told. I love to keep carefully designed printed objects- whether it's a magazine from 2005 or a postcard from a really cute diner. (Maybe it's the hoarder in me.) I secretly wish our readers would have a hard time letting go of each issue long after they've finished reading all the stories.
Why is representation so important in the media?
SD: There are several case studies on how media representation impacts self-esteem. I think women are inspired when they see other women pursuing dreams, adventures, or lifestyles that they never thought of. There is a lot of room to tell stories of women of all colors, body sizes, abilities, and normalize the idea that we are all different but valuable and worthy of telling our stories. We promise that each cover is always created by a woman photographer and features a female subject.
How is HiHeyHello trying to address diversity and inclusion in the media?
SD: Starting with issue 001, I actively seek out diverse content to shift the norm from “exclusion” to “inclusion.” Featuring BIPOC, women, trans, and femme (WTF), and other marginalized communities in each issue is a must. There are so many inspirational women of all shades, sizes, identities out there. I just make it a priority, do some research, and engage. With the existence of hashtags like #diversifyoutdoors and #melaninbasecamp there’s really no excuses. It’s just about priorities. That being said, straight able-bodied white women still make up the majority of storytellers & creatives, I’m aware of that, and I want to help move the needle. There is no mandatory ability level, identity, sexual preference, or body shape and I hope our readers feel like their story is relevant and valuable. I also listen to ongoing conversations and embrace feedback in order to be better.
HiHeyHello wants to celebrate women's outdoor culture, which means uplifting all kinds of women—BIPOC, WTF, or ability level—in our community.
Was it daunting to start a magazine?
SD: Totally, and it still is! We launched issue 01 pretty under the radar. I was so scared we wouldn’t be able to pull it off. Maybe the printing job would look terrible, maybe someone would look at it, shrug their shoulders and toss it in the garbage can. Gasp. I’m still learning every day but with each issue comes positive feedback and more confidence.
I also have to call out Juhee Kim, who is my partner and creative director at HiHeyHello. We’ve hit our stride as a team and it’s been a lot of fun building this together. She’s the one that makes the magazine sing with her attention to design. With each issue, I hope we can stress less and enjoy the journey of building and collaborating with our community. I had no prior editorial experience, and I’m self-conscious that my writing skills are junior. Sometimes I suffer from serious imposter syndrome, but I’m excited to stretch myself and work on writing, take more photos, and keep creating.
What’s the backstory about the name?
SD: I wanted a name that was friendly and inclusive. Stopping to say “hello” is a small act of acknowledgment capable of opening doors and breaking down barriers. It’s also just a nice thing to do and can help people feel like they belong. I have to credit my friend (and amazing photographer) Gritchelle for putting the words together.
Your website says: “HiHeyHello is a print magazine celebrating women’s outdoorculture” — Can you tell me a bit more about what that means specifically?
SD: HiHeyHello bridges the outdoors, action sports, and creative culture. I think the word “outdoorsy” felt very exclusive and rigid for a long time. Today, it’s blooming into something awesome with a lot more diversity and creativity - hence the word culture.
With beautifully designed spreads like these, HiHeyHello is the kind of magazine you want to proudly display on your coffee table. HiHeyHello photo.
What kinds of stories are you excited to highlight with HiHeyHello?
SD: I’m blown away at the creativity and passion of women out there right now. I'm interested in adventure, activism, creativity, and BIPOC representation. I’m always on the lookout for the movers and shakers, the activists and artists, the upcoming athletes and photographers. Whose doing amazing stuff but their story isn’t being told? I also love to make sure each issue is varied and surprising in content. I love allowing surfing to live next to mountain biking or mountaineering next to skateboarding. I want all of that inspiration to be a showcase of beautiful, unapologetic, and adventurous women today. I’d also love to do more global content in the future.
From The Column: Women in the Mountains
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