Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Move over T. Swift, Michela Tindera is Fearless

Michela Tindera is fearless. It says so right there in silver letters on two BCBG bracelets she loops around her wrist everyday. 

If you want proof, just ask the Cincinnati native about the time she ran out in front of a moving bus on the streets of Sevilla during her post study-abroad trip last summer.

Or ask her about her in-depth reporting class where, as a sophomore at Indiana University, she sat face-to-face with a teary-eyed father whose 18-month-old daughter was coming off proton treatment for brain tumors.

“I try to use the bracelets as a reminder in a lot of aspects of my life,” says Michela. “I actually used to be deathly afraid of talking to strangers. But I guess you could say my love of writing forced me to get over that.”

Most recently, Michela, 20, is busy being fearless in New York City, where she landed an ASME internship in the articles department of Family Circle. There’s been no running in front of moving vehicles yet, but the summer is still young.

Michela (it’s pronounced with a short e sound, by the way) was, however, able to pitch story ideas her first week on the job and is now tackling an article on finance. It’s not a subject she’s well-versed in, but that doesn’t scare her.

“I’m most excited to report on topics I don’t necessarily know much about, because I feel like I’m learning more,” says Michela as she runs her fingers through the underside of her long hair, revealing a faded streak of purple. “The things I research for health and family sections I otherwise never would have known about.”
But there are many things Michela does know well: pies, for example. In the past year, Michela won first place in her county fair for her apple pie (despite never having made one before).

“I made probably 10 pies in two weeks to get it right,” says Michela. “People there were surprised to learn that I’m not a 50-year-old woman.”

There’s dance, too. The former ballerina has landed small roles in the Cincinnati Ballet Company’s “The Nutcracker” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Though she doesn’t perform on stage anymore, Michela still loves dancing whenever she can—well, just not to Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love,” which she associates with one nerve-racking solo. (More up her musical alley would be 2000s hip-hop; she could listen to Ja-Rule or Ashanti anytime.)

It’s journalism, though, in which Michela really excels. She became editor-in-chief at her college magazine, INside by the time she was a junior.

“Michela is one of those visionary leaders,” says friend and INside co-worker Dianne Osland. “She had a good idea of what she wanted the magazine to look like and was able to convey that to her staff.”

This fall the rising senior will take on an internship at Indianapolis Monthly Magazine. She’ll also put to use her handy concentration in Informatics—something like computer science—as she transitions into her new role as web editor at INside.

For such a technology-savvy position, it’s somehow ironic that Michela owned a flip phone until about a month ago.

“It was just a personality trait of hers,” Dianne says of Michela’s outdated phone. “So much so that if you stuck around long enough, you were bound to see a video of her cat, Fritz, pop up on screen.”

Cats are also another self-proclaimed passion for Michela, who once headed the development of a full spread on cats in the Indiana Daily Student newspaper that went viral online, complete with a timeline of cats through the ages. Grumpy Cat would be proud, no doubt.

Often preferring to be punchy in her work, Michela has a style that translates into her witty personality.

“She’s funny, but I don’t think she knows,” says Dianne. “Regardless, she’s one of those people that if I’m hanging out with her, I know I’m going to have a great time. I know she’ll succeed in anything she sets goals for.”

In five years, Michela sees herself definitely in New York, hopefully pioneering the next big web frontier for digital magazines. Nothing is set in stone, though, for the fearless student who admits she likes to deviate from routines as often as she can.

“I prefer to mix things up for anything I’m doing,” says Michela. “Even here, you can easily take the same route home from work, but if I can, I always turn onto a different street to explore.”

No matter what street she ventures down next, magazine journalism is one bus you better believe Michela isn’t going to let drive away without her.

By Kayla Becker, Florida State University, This Old House Magazine
Edited by Leah De Graaf, Iowa State University, Real Simple

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