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Makeup artist prepares model Deja Brown for a photoshoot.

2021 Through Our Lens

VARIANT captured behind the scenes moments through disposable cameras during the Fall 2021 semester.

Head of Styling, Kayla Edwards
Behind the scenes at the Local Architecture shoot for the Patterns issue
Evie Sears and Naila Latham at our North End social
Model Jack Wilburn applying makeup before the Patterns of Historic Movements photoshoot.
Reebha Chetty at our North End social
Jack Wilburn and Adelina Miller on set
Cheri Marshall applies makeup to model Isabella Lasneski.
Behind the scenes of our Patterns of Historic Movements photoshoot
Kayla Edwards, Emilie Burch, and Hannah Mazanec pose for a shot.
Jordan Schmitt works on a sign for the Patterns of Historic Movements reading: “Screw Sexists.”
Jonai Spates applying makeup on model Destiny Reynolds.
Behind the scenes at the FACES collaboration photoshoot
Models of our Patterns of Historic Movements photoshoot pose and yell for a shot.
Head of Public Relations, Emilie Burch
Executive Board members at the North End social
Makeup artists prepare models for the FACES collaboration shoot.
Members enjoy the North End social.
Ky Rodriguez prepares a protest sign for the Patterns of Historic Movements photoshoot.
Jack Wilburn and Adeline Miller on set
Members enjoy the North End social
Hannah Mazanec and Kayla Edwards
Jordan Schmitt and Ellie Roberto
Isabella Lasneski is photographed
Co-head of Makeup, Hannah Mazanec
Executive Board members enjoy the North End social.
Sarah Osterle and Naila Latham

The Red Wolf Sanctuary, More Than Just An Organization

By: Emily Squance, Blogger

Located in Rising Sun, Indiana, The Red Wolf Sanctuary (RWS) preserves and protects a wide variety of animals. Even though each creature may come from all walks of life, they are all able to call this non-for-profit home. 

The Red Wolf Sanctuary was founded in 1979 on the mission of preserving North American wildlife. They hope that with their efforts in protecting and rehabilitating a wide variety of animals, they’ll allow future generations to have the same opportunity to help “save the living past for the future to enjoy”.

Wildlife biologist, Carlin Marsh, decided to volunteer at the sanctuary during her senior year of college in 2017. After graduation she moved to Washington State but quickly realized a piece of her will always be at the sanctuary. In the fall she decided to move back to Indiana and work at the facility full time. Marsh serves as one of few tour guides for the organization and strives to educate the public on the importance of protecting each and every species. 

Upon first glance you may be mesmerized by the miles of acres that overlook the private property. You are overwhelmed with a sense of peace and solidarity. Tourists are provided with an informative tour guide who drives guests around the property in an ATV. Throughout the ride you will drive past a variety of animals who all have unique, unsung stories that are just awaiting to be shared. 

The first animals you’ll meet are four red foxes who despite their size, have huge personalities. These gregarious creatures are incredibly social and will never fail to show guests their charming smile. Occasionally if they don’t feel like they’re getting enough attention they may let out a bark or two. Unfortunately, foxes are one of the most commonly traded animals in the fur trade. Typically it would take 15-40 foxes to make one fur coat. Luckily for these four carefree foxes, they were originally part of the fur trade but didn’t sell. Therefore they found their permanent home with the sanctuary. 

Often the most popular animals viewed at RWS are the wolves and bobcats. Currently the facility inhabits one bobcat who, like the foxes, was unfortunately part of the fur trade. For obvious reasons visitors aren’t able to touch the animals but regardless they always seem to leave an impression. After meeting gray wolves, EC and Sue, it reaffirms that wolves in fact do mate for life. Sue may be intimidating at first but once you get close enough to her you’ll quickly realize she is a lover. She can be found pressed up against the fence in hopes to get scratches from volunteers while her mate, EC, can be found guarding her from afar. 

Similar to the animals they look after, all the volunteers come from all walks of life as well. Even though each one is driven by their own unique passions, they all are highly educated on the animals they take care of. They form connections with each animal and many of them consider these furry friends as part of their family. 

“With the pets we bury them. If they were here and our animals they would get a proper burial,” Marsh says.

RWS isn’t just a non-for-profit, it is a tight knit community of down to earth people. The organization provides both internship and volunteer opportunities that allow people to grow in more ways than one. Director, M.E.D Paul Strasser, strives to work with people he not only considers co-workers as well as family. Strasser doesn’t fail to make a positive impression on every guest he interacts with. Aside from being incredibly educated and passionate about the animals he cares for, Strasser leaves both guests and volunteers laughing at the end of the day. He is witty and clever, always able to throw a joke or two into every conversation. Like many of the animals at the facility, he has a huge personality and maintains a light hearted work environment. 

“I have a few rules in life that I live by. The first one is adapt or die. The second one is that nobody is meaner than the person who has seen you naked. The third is big eats little. Finally the fourth is survival of the fittest,” Strasser says. 

Jokes aside, the RWS hopes to expose their visitors to the wonders of nature and of the wildlife that lives in their very own country. Strasser hopes that by creating the RWS he will be able to teach younger generations the importance of environmental conservation. 

“Their job is to protect what is left or it’ll be gone and they’ll have to tell their kids they screwed it up,” Strasser says. 

The RWS takes donations, specifically expired meat, from a variety of businesses around the area. However they are always advertising new ways guests can help out on their website and social media platforms. If you or someone you know are interested in learning more about the RWS and ways you can support them click here

Whether you have the opportunity to visit the non-for-profit or not, it has become vital that each generation does their part in protecting the environment around us. Try to be conscious of your actions and how they may affect the animals around you. 

Beads and Things: An Athens Gem

By: Emily Squance, Blogger

Tucked away behind various trees on Shafer Street, there sits a colorful building with an eye-catching pink and blue sign. Upon first glance Beads and Things may just look like an ordinary bead shop. However, inside you will be immersed in a world of color and creativity. 

Founded in May of 1990, Beads and Things started out as a dream yet to come to life. Ohio University grad, Joe Merkle, opened the store on 400 dollars cash and few supplies on hand. 

“My mom got me into beading when I was a kid and I always loved beads so I collected them. I needed a job after college and I had to provide my own opportunity,” Merkle says.

Merkle knew she loved the sales industry but she wanted to follow her passion for bead making. Conveniently after she left college and searched for a new job, Phil Berry came to Athens to help his cousin build a house. Although he wasn’t interested in bead making at first, Joe was able to influence him and together they created Beads and Things. 

Even though there has been a decline in brick and mortar stores, the few remaining provide customers with a different experience than regular stores. Beads and Things was founded on a passion and every decoration and piece of merchandise incorporated into it, has a backstory. 

“This is a very tactile business, colors that need to be seen and stories that need to be told. We source all our beads from our travels and just different artists,” Merkle says. 

There are very few businesses that enable customers to take a break from reality. In the digital age it can be hard to incorporate mindfulness into your day. Beads and Things is a hidden gem that allows people to put their creativity into a product. 

“There’s something innate about wanting to make things that are representative of something. It takes you somewhere that’s good. It’s really important, that whole creative process we go through with our minds. It flows over into everything else we do,” Berry says. 

Beads and Things from the beginning has been a free flowing business. There has never been a set objective or goal, Berry and Merkle just want people to have a good time. Even though they made it clear that they’ve never really been into having a mission statement, in a way the takeaway from this local brick and mortar is that like the creative process, everything falls together eventually. 

It is very evident when meeting both Berry and Merkle that they strive to live their lives to the fullest. They believe that life is too short to not be lived, therefore everyone should go out into the world and explore what it has to offer. 

“You’ll be somewhere you’ve never been before and things will just unfold. You’ll find connections, people, and artists. The more you get out the wider your view will be,” Berry says. 

Beads and Things isn’t just a store, it’s a giant bead box that brings people together. 

“Meeting people has been the best thing about this. Getting to be a small part of people’s lives one way or another,” Berry says. 

Throughout the past couple of years there has been a divide among people. Whether be with politics, religion, or even racial injustice, one could say that there has been a lot of tension within the world. Berry emphasized that throughout all his travels and adventures to various countries, he realized that many of us are a lot more alike than we think. Traveling has the ability to widen your perception on life and experience different cultures and people. 

“Traveling stretches time. You make friends from different places. It’s important for me to leave the country so I don’t get caught up in thinking everyone thinks like me,” Merkle says. 

Whether you are an Athens local or an Ohio University student, I highly encourage you to stop into Beads and Things and experience what it has to offer. Not only will you leave with unique, handmade pieces of jewelry, you’ll leave with a different outlook on life. 

Curology College Ambassador Program

By: Ashley Formani

Curology and its College Ambassador Program are super excited to share an great opportunity for college students to get access to affordable and effective skincare through their Curology Access Program.

Curology is a skincare company that provides personalized skin care treatments. A Curology provider works one on one with each customer to create a personal skin care plan. This may include anything from acne and blackheads to fine lines and wrinkles.

Each member gets a free consultation with a dermatology provider, who prescribes a custom mix for your unique needs and ships it directly to you. Your dermatology provider sticks by you to make sure your formula is right for you and can adapt it as your skincare goals change.

Each month, Curology and its employees provide 1,000 free limited subscriptions to eligible participants that provide documentation of financial need via the Curology Access Program.

The Curology Access Program provides $485 worth of credit for Curology medication, products, and services. This credit may be used for Curology provider consultations, the first month of Curology prescription medication, 12 shipments of Curology large custom bottles, and/or the purchase of non-prescription skincare products that maybe offered by Curology.

To sign up for the program and to see if you may qualify, students can go to the bottom of the Curology.com home page and click
on the link titled “Curology Access Program”. If no link is present upon home page visit, it means that all 1000 subscriptions have been given away for that month. However, be sure to check back next
month to sign up.


All Ohio University students who want to sign up for Curology can go to Curology.com/OU to get their first month free, just pay $4.95 for shipping and handling.

NYC Check-In with Anna: #2

By: Anna Birk, Copy Chief

Just as I knew it would, the phase in my New York journey has come where I find myself thinking, “I don’t want to leave. Ever!” It’s as if I long for the city, even though I’m actively watching it pass by from my apartment. I think some of the things I was originally nervous about are the same ones that I’ve come to love: the breeze of the subway as it jerks to a stop at any given station, the pigeons that fight outside of my bedroom window every morning.

I think that as the city warms up as well, the atmosphere completely changes, like someone sprayed serotonin in the air and it blanketed Manhattan. Even in the colder weather though, I’ve been able to find ample experiences to feed my audacious endeavors – several of which have been through my internship experience, starting with the Cyrano movie premier.

The screening/movie premier was something I had found out about no more than 24 hours prior to the start of the event. My boss looked at me and said, “Do you want to go to a movie premiere tomorrow?” Naturally, I said yes without hesitation. My role was to be the travel manager essentially; just making sure everything went smoothly and we went where we were supposed to go.

The event mirrored the beginning of a race; you wait, and wait, and build up anticipation and then suddenly you’re rushed in front of cameras, keeping an eye out to make sure everything goes smoothly. 

I arrived at the event before Harnaaz Sandhu, Miss Universe 2021, and when her car pulled up, I was given a run-down of how the red carpet would go. We would walk up, wait to be ushered in front of the movie-poster backsplash, I’d sprint through the cameras to the other side of the carpet and watch and wait for Harnaaz to signal me to come receive her Miss Universe sash – in which case, I’d hurry back on the carpet again. We needed to take photos both with sash, and without, hence all the running around.

Before we even got the opportunity to go onto the carpet however, the leading actors and actresses arrived, halting the rest of the carpet. I think both Harnaaz and I were starstruck to see Peter Dinklage, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Haley Bennett and Director Joe Wright. After we finished our press appearance, we were able to interact with the other stars walking the carpet and the stars of the movie as well. I think Kelvin may have been more excited to see Harnaaz then either of us had anticipated – it was an adorable moment between the two of them.

After many photo ops and interactions with others inside, we were escorted to our seats and watched a short introduction by the cast and crew on stage before the film began. The film was amazing. I was enthralled by the musical adaptation of the age-old tale of Cyrano and his pining love for Roxanne. For anyone who doesn’t know the premise of the film, Cyrano, played by Peter Dinklage, is a man with a physical quality that he, himself deems “unlovable” … naturally he falls for his best friend, Roxanne, played by Haley Bennett. She falls for someone else, enter Kelvin Harrison Jr., who is nowhere near as silver-tongued as Cyrano. It’s a classic case of hopeless romantics and words unspoken. 

The movie premier is just one of the many things that I cannot believe happened. I think it’s just miniscule experiences like that that have added up to make this job, and city, somewhere that is going to be impossible to leave. What other city can I take a 20-minute train ride after work to attend the Harry Styles, “Pleasing,” pop-up shop? And then ride 20 more minutes up to Central Park to bask in the sunlight on a rock? For dramatic effect, let’s say there are no other cities that offer the same qualities. I suppose that leaves New York as the greatest city on Earth. I stand by that. 

VRNT x FACES

Photos by: Elliott Magenheim, Chloe Challacombe, Mikaela Woods & Evie Sears

A collaborative week of events with FACES, a modeling organization at Ohio University, for the first Athens Fashion Week Events included a Makeup Masterclass and a Walking and Posing class. Additionally, we held a Styling Workshop with Ohio University Megan Carter, who works as a professional stylist, designer and creative director in the fashion industry.

Campus Activism: A Brief History

By: Halle Dray

Photos by: Madeline Melragon

Katherine Jellison, Ph.D., is a U.S. and social history, and women and gender studies expert, who teaches at Ohio University. Jellison is a veteran of academia; she grew up as the daughter of a university administrator and has been surrounded by a collegiate atmosphere since childhood. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Iowa and immediately became a professor. Jellison has intensively studied and experienced various social movements, and when asked about their patterns on college campuses throughout her lifetime, she provided the following insight:

Q: How did people on college campuses, with common beliefs, organize themselves together and form protests, pre-internet?

A: “I assume the way that, back then in the 60s, was still the way we were doing it in the 80s: old-fashioned leafleting going around and putting up leaflets that said, ‘Here’s the protest, here’s the time it’s happening, here’s the location!’ Just taping things up on walls and putting them in the residence hall mailboxes … (graduate) student mailboxes. It has always been important and always a good strategy to get graduate students as well as undergraduates involved. Also, I remember people just getting out there with blow horns and saying, ‘Are you angry about such and so?’ and drawing people who were walking between classes at the time.”

Q: Considering all generations of students, what are the most common tactics students use for reaching higher-up university officials?

A: “Well, in terms of how effective any of them are, [there’s] the old ‘march around the campus, boycott classes,’ in which no students go to classes at this certain hour and we just leave the classrooms empty. That hopefully sends a message to administrators’ teachings. It all goes back to the 1960s. Faculty and students have also organized to have evening teach-ins, where they come together in an empty classroom and share information about the issue. I think a little bit of that happened here during the first year of the Trump administration with abortion policy. What probably gets administrators’ attention is that students and faculty are working together to become more informed about these issues.”

Q: It’s common to think of iconic leaders regarding social movements, but on the microcosm of a college campus, have you observed that they are typically led by a collective whole or have you seen more individual spokespeople for groups?

A: I think that what’s most effective is that people approach these things as a coalition. What works best is a united front that crosses these boundaries of who’s a student, who’s a faculty member and who’s a staff member. There may be individuals who might have a particular upfront speaking role, but I think, unless they are backed by their constituencies in large numbers, it’s not that effective. If we looked at the iconic movements, say of the 1960s, on certain individual campuses, we might gravitate toward individuals who were seen as various effective spokespersons…There may be one or two spokespersons who stood up on the roof of a car and said something that was amazing, and everyone rallied behind that person. The movement, however, was so much more than that person… on a college campus. No matter how charismatic and articulate [the leader] is, it has to be more co-leadership.”

Q: As far as ongoing movements go, such as Black Lives Matter and abortion rights, what are some patterns that can be seen in the ebbs and flows?

A: “Well, unfortunately, it usually takes a dramatic event; one that’s getting either local attention in a dramatic way or, obviously, national attention like George Floyd. It’s good to recognize that the movement continues even when it is not in the headlines. In terms of  women’s issues in general … Donald Trump’s inauguration was one day, and there’s the March on Washington the next day, and after that it seemed to be one thing after another. The Harvey Weinstein cases and the ‘Me too’ movement have kept the women’s movement in the headlines over the last five years or so. I think we’re probably coming to another one of those headline moments depending on what happens as a result of this situation in Texas.”

Q: Particularly in the women’s rights movement, what has male participation looked like in the past? Over the years how has it changed, if at all?

A: “That is still something that divides the movement. On every campus I’ve ever been on, a debate on an annual basis was the Take Back the Night March. ‘Are we going to allow men to be part of the march or not?’ Even on [Ohio University’s] campus, some say, ‘let’s have male allies’ and others say, ‘no, we don’t want male allies.’ I think the LGBT movement has helped make the women’s movement more inclusive, and caused more people who do identify, now or in the past, as men, to feel maybe more invested in things.”

Q: Finally, what has the integration and prioritization of racial intersectionality in the women’s movement looked like over time?

A: “Well, that was a criticism all along … one person who I can give as an example is Mary Terrell-Church, who was always talking about her own intersectionality as a Black woman, and that she couldn’t separate Black voting rights from women’s voting rights. She couldn’t say ‘I’m playing this side of my identity or that side of my identity’ because they’re both central. One person’s voting rights are as important as anyone else’s … if anyone’s voting rights or rights of citizenship was trampled on, then everyone’s was. By the time we came to second wave feminist movement … everyone started to allow Black women to be right at the center of the action, which I’d argue they always were … but now they are getting publicity.”

Dr. Jellison concluded the conversation by recommending the book Vanguard by Martha S. Jones for anyone interested in learning about patterns and developments in intersectional feminism through the story of Black women’s fight for voting rights.

The War Against Reproductive Rights

By: Amanda White

After the decision of Roe v. Wade, there has been a pattern of almost identical legislation put into place in states across the nation to restrict abortion, making access to abortion increasingly scarce. For over a century, women, and those with the ability to get pregnant, have been fighting for their reproductive rights in the U.S., through movements such as The Women’s March.

In 1976, after the decision of Roe v. Wade, the Hyde Amendment was legislated, blocking governmental funding for abortion under Medicaid, unless it was to save the life of the person with-child. In a 1980 Supreme Court case, Harris v. McRae, which challenged that amendment, the amendment was upheld. The case affected those who could not afford an abortion without Medicaid, forcing them to give birth or more commonly, perform an abortion on themselves, which causes severe medical complications, including death. According to the Guttmacher Institute, about 22,000 people die per year due to unsafe abortions. 

In 1979, a Massachusetts bill that required parental consent for minors seeking an abortion was challenged by plaintiff, William Baird. The court deemed the law to be unconstitutional, and stories of minors dying from at-home abortions due to the law began to surface. Consent also played a large role in the abortion control laws of 1988 and 1989, in which there were a number of regulations. One of those regulations meant getting informed consent from the father of the child before the person seeking an abortion was allowed to have the procedure. All of the regulations under the abortion control laws were deemed unconstitutional, except the bill in which one had to receive consent from the father of the child. That put many in danger, depending on how that person fell pregnant, whether it was rape, incest or an abusive relationship. 

After the death of former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Ruth Bader Ginsburg in September 2020, the United States has faced a great challenge in keeping the decision of Roe v. Wade afloat. Only about eight months after her death, Texas passed the Texas Heartbeat Act, banning abortion until the sixth week of pregnancy, essentially ending Roe v. Wade protections in the state of Texas. Based on the history of such laws’ that the U.S. has witnessed, Texas will soon face many deaths due to unsafe abortions, as well as uproar from citizens across the state. 

Likewise, there is a cry louder than ever to include transgender and nonbinary people in the conversation. Transgender, female-to-male, FTM, people who have not had sex reassignment surgery are still able to get pregnant. According to UCLA’s Williams Institute School of Law, transgender people “are over four times more likely than cisgender people to experience violent victimization,” making the rate of unwanted pregnancy for transgender people also considerably higher. Those who are transgender or nonbinary may experience gender dysphoria, which is “a distressed state arising from conflict between a person’s gender identity and the sex the person has or was identified as having at birth,” according to Merriam Webster. Gender dysphoria often causes severe depression and/or anxiety. Becoming pregnant as a transgender or nonbinary person would likely worsen their gender dysphoria, whether the pregnancy occured from consensual or nonconsensual sex. Yet, due to the pressure being put on the decision of Roe v. Wade, the risk of abortion care for transgender and nonbinary people is just as insufficient, if not more. 

The cases and bills listed above are unfortunately just a sliver of reality that people face when it comes to abortion care. As one state has a law deemed illegitimate as per Roe v. Wade, another law is being embedded into a different state with interchangeable statutes. Individual states, almost yearly, put laws into place that are nearly identical to laws that have already been deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. When those who may need to seek abortion options, cannot access care according to their situation, this creates an unfair imbalance of the sexes. People living in the U.S. are not asking for dominance of one of the sexes, simply equality and accessibility to abortion.

Return to “normal” life after COVID

By: Jordan Schmitt, Editor in Chief

With a combined sense of hesitancy and relief, Ohio University students followed the rest of the nation’s attempt to return to life in person this semester. With an urge to vaccinate the population, COVID cases have started to decrease. 

It was unsure as to whether our semester would follow through as planned, considering the past two years have not gone as planned, no thanks to the pandemic. Regardless, we powered on and cautiously welcomed old and new faces. VARIANT was thrilled with the amount of interest we received upon recruiting new members. After being confined to our homes and bedrooms, we were relieved to get back to creating in-person. New members and a new executive team, that had not yet collaborated in-person, brought a renewed energy that inspired our work this semester.

In our fall issue, VARIANT wanted to explore a topic new to our readers; something that could be represented in fashion, visually and editorially. We chose the concept of Patterns.

In fashion, patterns are a simple staple. The repetition of lines and shapes come together to create bold prints. We experimented with mismatching patterns in different looks for the issue. Kayla Edwards, our talented Head of Styling who is the face behind the cohesive looks this season, explains how to stylishly clash patterns on page 1. We drew inspiration from avid fashion icon Iris Apfel who is known for her over-the-top eclecticism, page 27. 

In many instances, the rules of a pattern are meant to be broken. VARIANT seeks to question the patterns that make up our lives and what can happen when you step away from a norm. When patterns of oppression and discrimination are enforced over time, they are strengthened to marginalize certain groups. Patterns of racially-based injustice perpetuate society’s history, while decades of homophobia and transphobia have ingrained biases toward identities outside of the gender binary. Decades of conservatism and sexism have led to a war on reproductive rights, discussed on page 37, in which patterns of legislation restricting abortion have posed serious threats on its accessibility. 

We are collectively growing more conscious of the detrimental effects of those patterns, but fully breaking them takes a large amount of time and work. Historically, recognizing injustices leads to speaking out through protest or activism. Writer Halle Dray conducts an interview with an accredited professor of social history and women and gender studies on page 9, who spoke on patterns of activism and its success in speaking out against injustice. 

Another way to break patterns of discrimination is through media portrayal. On page 21, Copy Chief Anna Birk analyzes local news coverage and its impact on upholding stereotypes. Through examining coverage in Athens, we see how failing to report on all identities can leave important groups out of the narrative. 

There are ways we can enjoy the beauty that patterns create – through music, and fashion and even nature. Life is simply an experience of recurring patterns, whether as reliable as plaid or as unsteady as chevron. As you read the issue, we hope you reflect on how we all perpetuate unhealthy patterns. We hope you love it, and on behalf of the VARIANT team, thank you for supporting student media and creatives. 

Sincerely, 


Jordan Schmitt 

Editor in Chief