BROCCOLI MAGAZINE THE FIRST OF ITS KIND
CANNABIS EN VOGUE
Anja Charbonneau is the founder and creative director of Broccoli magazine, a beautifully designed cannabis-focused publication for women created by women. Anja, previously creative director at Kinfolk, noticed that the cannabis industry was unfolding quickly with legalization happening in so many places, and she felt there was a need for a beautiful, forward-thinking magazine to discuss cannabis and explore modern stoner culture in a new way. "We’re a woman-owned company, and it’s an important time for women to take up as much space as possible in weed while the industry is still being shaped." - Anja
Anja tell us about the importance of the aesthetic design of Broccoli and how involved are you in its development?
Design plays an important role in cannabis, because good design helps people become more comfortable with weed. If it looks high quality and safe, then people are more open to it. This is true for Broccoli as well, by making it look polished we are making the topic more accessible for people who are curious to learn more about cannabis. For readers who already love cannabis, we’re showing it to them from a new perspective, focusing on art, culture and fashion. I worked directly with our designer Jennifer James Wright to concept the design direction, and I did a lot of the photography in the first issue as well.
What are your greatest inspirations or influences?
Recently I was very inspired by a fashion magazine from the 1950’s called Flair. It was created by a woman named Fleur Cowles, and it only existed for a year. She used some of the most avant-garde printing and design techniques available at the time, for example they did a rose-themed issue and the paper was scented like roses. Their pages have cut-outs, inserts, gold ink, and so many fun surprises. Fleur Cowles was very connected socially and culturally, so a lot of major artists contributed to the magazine, like Jean Cocteau illustrated a bound-in art book for one issue. It was shut down because they spent way more money than they could earn back in advertising, but the twelve issues that exist are very special.
Most interesting reaction to Broccoli you've heard so far?
Right now we are being contacted from women all over the world who want to be part of Broccoli. In the last couple days I’ve been in touch with women in South Africa, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, and Turkey, to name a few. This community of women who are interested in cannabis is so much bigger than any of us could have imagined!
What would you like most readers to feel or what kind of content are you expecting them to engage with the most?
Some of our content is directly about cannabis, like an educational piece on CBD (a major compound in the plant that doesn’t get you high, but offers health benefits) or a conversation with women about their personal experiences buying weed. Other stories are more conceptual, or touch on other areas of interest for our reader, like an art history piece about a screenprinting nun from the 1960’s or a music review of a conceptual ambient record made by a Japanese composer. Cannabis is just part of the picture for our readers, it’s not necessarily their only interest in life.
Describe the Broccoli audience? Why did you decide to take it into such a feminine direction and did you receive a lot of criticism or support for doing so?
Our readers are primarily creative, high-achieving women who are interested in cannabis for a multitude of reasons. Some use it for health, some use it for fun, and they’re ready to be more open about how weed fits into their life. Our magazine is owned and created by women, so it’s a natural focus for us, and we want Broccoli to be a platform for women’s voices. We’ve had overwhelming support so far, and we’re so grateful for how warmly we’ve been welcomed into the industry.
What are some of the upcoming subjects you will be touching on and projects the magazine will be involved with?
We’re working on our second issue right now. A couple highlights include an interview with Donisha Prendergast (a filmmaker and activist who happens to be Bob Marley’s granddaughter), and an article about cannabis medical research informed by leading women doctors in the field. On the weirder side, there will be pieces about cats, light therapy, and love hotels in Japan.
Other favorite publications, social media handles?
I love the photography magazine Aperture, they present great themes each issue and I always learn about so many compelling artists. They are always showcasing diverse talents from the past and present and it never feels homogenized.
Words to live by?
I have a bad memory for words (but remember every photo!). I’ll share a quote from Broccoli Issue 01, from the poet Ella Wheeler Wilcox: “A weed is but an unloved flower.”
Anything else you'd like to share?
Broccoli is an open invitation, a platform for women. Please write to us (firstname.lastname@example.org) if there’s any way you’d like to be involved, so that we can continue working for our community.