Meet Kenyan Woman Behind Popular US Magazine [PHOTOS]

  • File image of Affinity Magazine founder Evelyn Woodsen Atieno
    File image of Affinity Magazine founder Evelyn Woodsen Atieno
    Teen Vogue
  • As a 16-year old girl, Evelyn Woodsen Atieno killed time in 2013 by flipping through popular entertainment and celebrity magazines such as Seventeen and Teen Vogue.

    She noticed, however, that despite some of the magazines catering to a teenage audience, they had no teenage writers.

    A determined Atieno set out to change this, and seven years later she is the proud owner of Affinity Magazine, a popular teen magazine focused on social justice issues, with over 400 teenage writers and millions of online readers in 200 countries around the world.

    A past cover of Affinity Magazine
    A past cover of Affinity Magazine
    Affinity Magazine

    Her story has been told by major US media outlets including Vice and Huffington Post. Unknown to many, however, Atieno moved to the United States at the age of four with her parents from Kenya.

    "I'm so passionate right now and active with [social justice], especially in the Trump era, because I'm the child of two immigrant parents, and it's really hard to see the way he talks about immigrants, especially people of color — it's just ridiculous

    "I came to America when I was four years old, I did not know English at all, I was put into ESL class and that's when I eventually learned English," she told Teen Vogue in a 2017 interview.

    She revealed that her focus on social justice issues stemmed from her observation that teen magazines rarely tackled serious subject matter despite many teenagers being interested and involved in social justice issues.

    "I was 16 and Trayvon Martin was in the news so people were really opening their eyes to racial injustice. To me, when everything happened, it really opened my eyes and made me interested in social justice.

    "From that, I got more involved in activism and it really sparked my interest in social justice so I decided to start a magazine.

    "I had interesting stories that were a bit more realistic than what you would read in the typical teen magazines. The magazines I was reading focused on one type of teenager, and Affinity shows a wider scope of teens," Atieno told Vice in a 2017 interview.

    The magazine adopted a unique model that saw it exclusively recruit teenage writers from around the country and currently has more than 400 young scribes.

    Now in college, Atieno still serves as the Editor-in-Chief of the magazine but plans on stepping down by the age of 25 and have a teenager run operations.

    She revealed in the past that she hoped to secure grant funding for the magazine and cut down on writers to make it a sustainable business.

    Atieno further maintained that, unlike other media outlets, they had a stringent advertising policy as they were unwilling to compromise on their core values.

    "Also, when it comes to advertising it can go against my morals, I don't want to advertise something I don't support," she asserted.

    File image of Affinity Magazine founder Evelyn Atieno
    File image of Affinity Magazine founder Evelyn Atieno
    File image of Evelyn Atieno
    File image of Evelyn Atieno