Friday, July 11, 2014

Kathryn Moody: A Life Taking Shape

Fresh off the clock from her internship at Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine, Kathryn Moody sat fidgeting in Peet’s Coffee & Tea, her fingers performing miniature origami with a straw wrapper.

“I need a worry token,” Moody explains with a laugh. “I like to mess with things.”

For Moody, this characteristic quirk is not just a nervous habit. From her feminist ideals, to her creative endeavors, to her various editor-in-chief positions, Moody is used to taking things into her own hands.  

Just like with the wrapper—now a teepee— Moody seems to reshape the publications she touches. During her senior year of high school, Moody used her power as the newspaper’s editor-in-chief to completely redesign The Red and Blue, burgeoning it to become the relative success it is today.

 “I enjoyed being able to take the reigns, not just because it was something I wanted to do, but because it will serve people,” Moody says. “One thing I learned at Kiplinger’s,” she adds, “[they’re] always thinking about what readers need.”

The rising senior plans to emulate that level of attentiveness as editor-in-chief of INside magazine when she returns to the Indiana University in the fall. That means refocusing the magazine—something fall Editor-in-Chief of the Indiana Daily Student Michael Majchrowicz considered when he hired Moody for the position.

“I knew Kathryn. I knew she had a very strong vision, a clear vision for what she wanted to do for INside,” Majchrowicz says. Part of that vision is to make the magazine a better platform for long-form journalism and for showcasing individual voice, Moody says.

“I want to find those stories of people that are not heard,” Moody says.

Moody’s love for stories also manifests itself outside of journalism. She has dreamed of a career in fiction writing since she wrote her first story as an 8-year-old about the video game character Sonic the Hedgehog. Since then, she’s worked on several screenplays, including a “horror movie for people that don’t like horror movies” that she filmed—she played the star role— with then boyfriend Ian Hougland.

“The importance of narratives (TV shows, news, etc.) in forming cultural expectations is hard to overstate,” Moody tweeted recently. “That’s why I want to get into creative work. It affects [culture] more that people realize,” Moody explains, citing women’s representation—or lack thereof— in video games as one example.

“I’m definitely a feminist—I’ll say that unabashedly,” Moody says. “Chivalry annoys the crap out of me.” Yet when her boyfriend of three years Ian Hougland popped the question amid exploding fireworks on the Fourth, she, after a moment of shock, happily complied with tradition and said yes.
In spite of Moody’s many experiences and successes, the recently-turned-21-year-old remains humble.

“I think to myself, ‘What have I done to earn it?’” Moody says. “One thing I want to learn this year going into INside,” she adds, “I want to learn how to lead people.”

After a while, Moody’s hands become still. Their nervous energy has worked itself out on the crumpled ball of paper, the worry token now rendered unnecessary. With her hands open for whatever comes next, Moody says confidently, “One thing I’m not afraid of saying: I know I can write.”

--Written by Sarah Barchus, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, AARP The Magazine
--Edited by Alexis Reliford, Northwestern State University of Louisiana, ESSENCE Magazine

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