Interview with Abi Martin-Hill, founder of Nonchalant Magazine
Nonchalant Magazine is a digital lifestyle magazine for queer women and allies. It began with a small team of four, founded by Abi Martin-Hill, and since has grown into a team of fifteen writers, videographers, and creators globally.
Nonchalant has proudly worked with brands such as Meta, Hilton Hotels, Playstation, Film4, and Somerset House. Abi recently spoke about how important it is, now more than ever, for brands to support diverse business owners.
She’s kindly shared her story with us.
What inspired you to set up Nonchalant Magazine, and how did you go about it?
Growing up in the 90s (yikes) meant that there was very little if any, queer representation in magazines or on TV. I can only ever really remember negative stereotypes and storylines which of course is extremely detrimental to society.
I moved to London in 2013 and enjoyed reading magazines on my commute. The magazines I read had lots of amazing content I could connect with, from getting ideas for what to do at the weekend, or picking up on the next big trend, but equally, I felt a lot was missing for queer women.
That’s when the idea of Nonchalant was born. I wanted to produce content that not only provided access to inspiring queer role models but also fun, relevant, and engaging content that I felt like I was missing at the time (so I assumed others wanted it too).
Back then, I worked in Marketing for Cath Kidston and was a self-taught web developer, which in turn gave me the skillset to create the website. After coming up with the idea, building the concept, and designing the branding myself, Nonchalant was born and originally it was named Nonchalant London.
I then invited a few friends to write for it. It started off as a blog but since then Nonchalant London grew and “London” was dropped from the name due to our readership spanning outside of London. We now have readers from all over the world.
What are you most proud of with Nonchalant Magazine?
I’m extremely proud of the interviews section, we’ve carried out some great interviews with the likes of Heather Peace, Chelcee Grimes, Lucy Spraggan, Megan Barton-Hanson, and Zoe Lyons. My main goal for this platform was to showcase inspiring queer women for the younger generation to look up to, and I feel this section really does do that.
We know that providing positive role models who people can relate to reinforces positive views of themselves and increases what they feel they can achieve personally. And that’s what we aim to do at Nonchalant Magazine. Provide women, and specifically queer women content that will tell them they are, and always have been a f*cking legend.
What is your favourite piece on Nonchalant and why?
I really love the interview we did with Chelcee Grimes. She’s super charming, and funny and has achieved amazing things in her career already. We can’t wait to continue to follow her path of success! I’m lucky to have a talented team with me when we run interviews (shout out to Zoie and Flick), the energy they bring really does help us create amazing interviews, and we always have fun with our guests. Go check out our other interviews on the website.
Who writes for the magazine and can people get involved?
We now have an incredible team of contributors, ranging from writers, photographers, videographers, and marketers. We do have opportunities to join the team, please reach out and let us know how you might like to contribute.
What are your thoughts on queer representation in media?
We have come an extremely long way since 2015 when Nonchalant Magazine began, and I’m so pleased to see the great step change. However, we have so much more work to do, especially for our less fortunate LGBTQ+ community members. And in areas of the world that are not so supportive, or even dangerous to live in.
is it true you’re partnering with Velvet Ibiza this year?
We are so excited to have the opportunity to be the lead media partner for Velvet Ibiza this year. The festival is taking place in May and will see hundreds of queer women head to Ibiza for a much-needed rave. Our team will be there as part of the partnership and we’re really looking forward to it. A week-long party in Ibiza… how could we say no?
What is the best lesson you’ve learned since starting the magazine?
oh, so many lessons. I think the biggest personal lesson I’ve learned is how much I’ve discovered about myself and how I still struggle with internalised homophobia (thanks 90s). That has been a really big struggle and generally, I find the generation below very inspiring about this as they really are leading the way in allowing people to be themselves.
What good advice have you received along the way?
I’ve been really lucky to have had a lot of great advice from family and friends throughout. Especially from my partner Cara, and sister Emma. I think the most important piece of advice that I had to hang on to throughout (and still now) is – don’t give up.
Who are your role models and why?
My sister, Emma Hill, is a huge role model to me. She’s the co-founder of the fashion brand Damson Madder. And it’s a cliche answer, but I really look up to my family, parents, and partner. I’m luckily surrounded by very strong, courageous, and supportive people.
Aside from that, I absolutely love Stevie Nicks, and something that she said in an interview one time really has helped me through a lot of things:
”If you have stage fright, it never goes away. But then I wonder: is the key to that magical performance because of the fear?”
What’s next for Nonchalant Magazine?
Well, Pride month is just around the corner. This is always an amazingly fun time of year for the magazine and our writers. Covering all sorts of events and topics across the summer is a highlight for me. Watch this space.