When first-year dance major and public relations minor Gabriella Alleyne sat down to think about what she was going to pursue for her Girl Scout Gold Award a few years ago, the issue of diversity in the media was something that immediately resonated with her. Alleyne decided to create her own magazine for the project, with the mission of giving space for young girls of color like herself to express their ideas, talk about issues important to them, and receive encouragement to create work expressed through a variety of mediums.
Kaleidoscope Teen Magazine is a true labor of love born from a lifetime of Alleyne’s personal experiences, and was driven by a social entrepreneurship class she took in high school. “One day I was in my kitchen and there was an Essence magazine on the table. I thought to myself: why isn’t there something like this for girls of color,” Alleyne said. “I was inspired to create something that spoke to me, and other girls like me. After that, my idea really took off. I had a lot of support from mentors and teachers who helped me and guided me through the process.”
The teen magazine launched in April of 2020 and has since had seven official issues, each with a different theme. The themes have all centered around diversity and opinions on topics such as the Black Lives Matter movement, the 2020 election, allyship, mental health, and more. The writing team behind Kaleidoscope is comprised of girls between the ages of 15 and 19, hand-picked by Alleyne. “I assembled a team of my high school friends along with some girls from other schools around the city who I knew. They are the ones who really helped me put together this magazine.” Alleyne said.
Alleyne, who in 2020 was a recipient of the Rita Ora/ShoeDazzle Women of Future Fund Grant, actually stumbled on LMU by accident. “I was visiting schools in Los Angeles with my mom and we had an extra day in the area, so we googled other colleges in LA and found LMU,” she said. “Being from the East Coast, I was not as familiar with California schools. When I found LMU I really just fell in love with the campus and the Jesuit values, which set it apart from the other schools I had been considering.”
Alleyne immediately felt a connection to the supportive community here, particularly identifying with the Black community at LMU. “I was able to talk with other Black students and people in the admissions office through Zoom calls, which is where I got a sense of the strength within the Black presence at LMU.”
In the future, Alleyne hopes to increase content and eventually aims to produce a new issue of Kaleidoscope each month. “My biggest piece of advice would be for young girls to go for what they believe in and truly want to do. Don’t let anything hold you back,” Alleyne said. “I had this idea for such a long time, and even though I did have some uncertainties, I am so happy that I decided to pursue my dream.” Through her love for connecting with others and dedication to elevating marginalized voices, Alleyne found a place to create a positive representation and space for girls of color to come together.