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Meet 21 Creative Women of Chicago

From stylists & designers to photographers, filmakers and DJs, these amazing women are shaping Chicago’s ever expanding creative scene

Yaz Fragoso

yaz

Yaz is wearing the Eugene Taylor silver v-neck dress | Photo by Clyde Munroe

Yazmin Fragoso is easily one of the most recognizable fashion faces in Chicago. The model, stylist and actress seems to be every creative’s muse in one form or another and rightfully so—she simultaneously stuns with her natural beauty, dry humor and sexy yet effortless style.

What do you do?
I’m an aspiring actress, stylist and fashion director or at least trying to be… but honestly my love and heart is in performing and acting and everything else just ties together because of what I’m attracted to do and find myself doing on the daily.

Who or what inspires you?
My mother inspires me to work hard for my dream everyday. My friends inspire me because they’re so talented! Life in general inspires me! I motivate myself and get inspired by being on the train itself and watching the people around me. People watching is the best 🙂 any little detail on their outfit can trigger a thought or inspiration in me and my mind just wonders off.

Why do you choose to create?
Because it makes me happy and sane. Getting to make ideas you only had to yourself come to life and having the people around you appreciate it and understand it is a beautiful feeling. Even if at first they don’t understand or get where you’re going with your creation, those who matter will get it. Even if it’s just you in the beginning who is the only one that gets it that’s all that matters. You’re good if you have your own back.

Why Chicago?
Guess I was just lucky enough to be from here. Haha no but for real Chicago is a city where artists are truly passionate about their work. We try our hardest and fight for what we stand for. The culture has been so alive lately too and I love being apart of it.

What’s next?
I mean, making it!? Hopefully be in a big production soon. Work side by side an idol? Make the dream a real reality? Never stopping, just gotta keep working.

Follow Yaz Fragroso on Twitter @yazgosohard
Follow Yaz Fragroso on IG @yazgosohard

Sahar Habibi

Sahar is wearing the Eugene Taylor black v-neck shoulder dress | Photo by Clyde Munroe

Sahar is wearing the Eugene Taylor black v-neck shoulder dress | Photo by Clyde Munroe

DJ and Soulection member Sahar Habibi is a master of high/low style. The brunette beauty effortlessly switches between glamorous fits (rocking satin, suede and always a killer pair of heels) to comfy but well curated streetwear-esque ensembles that her Insta-followers are sure to be screen-shotting. While she’s turning heads by day, by night is where Habibi’s true magic shows—she’s easily one of the most notable DJs in Chicago right now, breaking down a usually boys-only community with her undeniable talent and mastery of mixing.

What do you do?
I’m a DJ, and also a part of the music collective, Soulection, as an executive assistant.

Who or what inspires you?
I get inspiration from everything around me. From other creatives, my family, my team, my friends…. hm.. Russell Simmons, nature, music/live shows, traveling. I like to observe the OG’s and learn how they built themselves up from the bottom.

Why do you choose to create?
I choose to create because it expresses who I am. It expresses how I feel. When I’m happy, sad, mad, excited—I always take it to the music to fill my mood. I’d rather let the music speak for me when I don’t have the words to say.

Why Chicago?
Chicago is a big, yet small city with a lot of inspiration and grind. A lot of opportunity, and a community of other creatives working together to make each other’s visions and dreams come true.

What’s next?
I’m ending 2016 by plotting on what I want to come out of 2017. There’s a lot of potential on “what’s next.” Obviously, growing myself as my brand, always. But also I have a lot of ideas in mind that I will be setting small goals for myself, to help me build up to my bigger ones. We shall see.

Follow Sahar Habibi on Twitter @sashabibi
Follow Sahar Habibi on IG @sashabibi
saharhabibi.com

Katrina Tarzain

katrina

Katrina is wearing the Eugene Taylor cobalt jogger set| Photo by Clyde Munroe

Katrina Jayne is a Chicago based photographer who effortlessly captures the magical and unapologetic grim and grit of the city’s music and art scenes. Her photographic style has no barriers; she switches up her project style so often—whether she’s shooting a concert, a party or an editorial—she manages to highlight all of the uniqueness that makes Chicago, it’s people and it’s creatives, so great.

What do you do?
For now I lurk around providing vibes and taking photos mainly behind the scenes of the Chicago hip hop, art, fashion + nightlife scenes. I capture things and people that I find important or interesting in Chicago. I am still figuring out exactly what it is that I should do, but in the meantime remain in the cut catching candid, significant moments that people do not expect or notice that I am capturing. People change when they know the camera is on them so what I love most is capturing raw, organic moments that end up holding a lot of meaning and real emotion. I like to show people what its like to really be doing it in Chicago.

Who or what inspires you?
Music, fashion, imagination, fearless rule breakers and people who have unapologetically always done whatever the fuck they want. I am also inspired by film photographers, specifically old school female street and fashion photographers, who in the end made a legacy for themselves before social media and digital photography was even a thing. I am inspired by true artists with no days off, fully committed to doing what they love whether people accept it/them or not.

Why do you choose to create?
I choose to create not only because it is fun and I love it, but also because nothing else really matters to me. There is a lot of messed up shit and opinions of people/groups of people in this world and I sometimes feel as though I could be doing more. Then I remember that by creating new things and zoning in on documenting people and scenes that I really fuck with I am able to show people who are not in the creative world that everyone is more similar than you would think and we are all really here for the same reasons and should get along as such.

Why Chicago?
Chicago is the best and has some really dope shit going on right now that I don’t know if everyone has even realized yet. I tried to move away and do the whole east coast thing, but after dropping out of school and coming back to Chicago, I spent a couple of years going to shows dolo taking photos and meeting as many people as I could in different scenes. Chicago has the rawest most talented people I have ever met. I love Chicago and the people in it and really want to stay here and continue to document the important things going on to help build scenes and hopefully bring people together who have never considered working together.

What’s next?
The start of my long awaited rap career…haha kidding. Kind of. There is so much that I want to do and so many people that I still want to work with. I am not much of a planner, but I do have a bunch of long term goals and projects that I would like to accomplish in addition to continuing to build my insta-collection. Eventually, ultimately, I want to move into the city and invest in a warehouse space for not only shooting, but also for a recording studio, darkroom, prop shop and event space for me and all of the like minded creatives I have met to take advantage of.

Follow Katrina Jayne on IG @katerjayne
katerjayne.com

Bianca Betancourt

Bianca is wearing the Eugene Taylor bell crop top jacket | Photo by Clyde Munroe

Bianca is wearing the Eugene Taylor bell crop top jacket | Photo by Clyde Munroe

Almost four years ago, Bianca Betancourt saw a gap in the magazine industry for publications that focused on fashion, art and culture through the millennial perspective. That along with a lack of boundary pushing publications in general existing in Chicago, inspired that start of CIRCUS Magazine which she has edited and curated ever since. Since then, Betancourt has continued to be inspired by the countless creatives she interviews and writes about daily and being surrounded by such diverse and talented artists has reflected in her style as well. She’s never afraid to try any outfit once because even a later regret can turn into a great story.

What do you do?
I’m a writer, editor and quasi curator currently residing in Chicago, IL. I am the founder and editor in chief of CIRCUS Magazine, a digital publication here in the city that showcases trending and undiscovered creatives of all types and why their work and stories matter. Aside from running CIRCUS, I also freelance, having been previously published in The Washington Post, Huffington Post, Teen Vogue, Remezcla and The Chicago Sun-Times.

Who or what inspires you?
Women from all wakes of life inspire me and the barriers they go through to make their dreams happen. I love strong women like Frida Kahlo, funny women like Fran Drescher and unapologetic women like Nigella Lawson. Writing wise, Zora Neale Hurston and Sandra Cisneros are the ultimate inspirations. If I could be any one woman in the world? Penelope Cruz, hands down. I relish women who have the confidence I often lack.

Why do you choose to create?
It’s the only thing that feels natural to me. I grew up always loving magazines but never knew that my calling in life would be to write, edit and create my own. Even if my readership is small, I love retaining the power to promote badass artists doing their own thing and in their own way and help them get the attention they deserve. Many creatives I’ve worked with in the past have gone on to do huge projects post working with me or CIRCUS so I feel like a fairy godmother of sorts that help people realize their potential—being a writer and editor is selfless. It’s never about me, but always the subject and the story.

Why Chicago?
I moved to Chicago (almost 5 years ago now!) because I thought I wasn’t ready for New York for school. Looking back, I probably would have handled it just fine, but I know I was meant to come here. I’ve met amazing artists, discovered that I too, am an artist of some sort, and I really came to grips with who I am as a person, culturally, emotionally, spiritually. I fell in love as well! I love traveling and love to move around so I probably will move soon, but I’ll always be thankful for Chicago. It gave me the tools to grow.

What’s next?
I just wrapped up producing CIRCUS’ first print issue and next aside from planning Issue 002, is releasing my book of essays and its accompanying short film next spring. It’s going to be a Solange music video x Lemonade x Kali Uchis with a splash of Sex and the City and the biggest and boldest thing I’ve ever conquered. I can’t wait.

Follow Bianca Betancourt on Twitter @bybiancabee
Follow Bianca Betancourt on IG @bybiancabee
biancabetancourt.com

Oliva Goodman

Oliva is wearing the Eugene Taylor alined bellbottoms | Photo by Clyde Munroe

Oliva is wearing the Eugene Taylor alined bellbottoms | Photo by Clyde Munroe

Olivia Goodman is a designer, stylist but also most importantly—a bonafide girl boss. The Windy City native is the founder and designer of Og Brand, a menswear brand “for everyone” that Chicagoans proudly rock. She has an eye for creating cuts and clothing that are classic to Chicago style but with a modern, refreshing edge. When she’s not designing or sewing herself, she’s styling herself to perfection—often experimenting with classic silhouettes in untraditional textures or colors or revamping vintage finds to bring new life to their look.

What do you do?
I design clothing for everyone, inspired mostly by menswear. I also think of really crazy outfits and put them on beautiful people.

What inspires you?
Mostly the people around me inspire me the most. All of my friends are go-getters. They know what they want and they figure out how to get it.

Why do you create?
I choose to create because it’s what I was put on this planet to do. I’ve tried so many other things in the past, and I came to decide that creating is what makes me the happiest and the most fulfilled.

Why Chicago?
Chicago is where I was born and raised. I love and breath chicago. I’m staying here because of this renaissance era that we are all kickstarting and I will continue to build and develop my own industry here.

What’s next?
Next is opening a showroom. I want people to have a destination to touch and feel the things I create and I also want to have a space for others to showcase and connect with one another.

Follow Olivia Goodman on Twitter @TripppleOG
ogbrand.com

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