Sarah Jasmine Montgomery: Rank & File Co.
1) WHO ARE YOU? TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF, HEY, EVEN BRAG A LITTLE.
I’m Sarah Jasmine, a senior journalism major at UT Austin with a minor in French. I started out working at The Daily Texan. I became a photo editor, and then moved over to ORANGE Magazine and was editor in chief of that for a year and a half before handing it off. Nowadays, I do freelance mostly and work on my new company Rank & File Creative Consulting, which became a registered LLC (business) in January 2016. I co-run the company with my best friends Jesus Acosta, who is our creative director, and Saaya Temori, our media director. I’m the managing director. We’ve done four official events, but I myself have done over a dozen. We also manage two bands (The Bishops and Nam) and one individual artist we can’t name currently. In addition, we do a lot of creative services like album covers, website design, press releases, etc. Most of my job is the business side of organizing things, making connections in the local community, and honestly, people just email me all the time for advice on booking shows, or finding a space, or just what they are doing in their creative career. I do a lot of the “consulting,” or just helping people figure out what’s going on. We recently got into zine designing, which is natural with our history of magazine work. We try not to take on too much, and we try to keep everything in house. I’m very paranoid about who I work with.
Besides being a full-time student and being financially responsible for a small business, I freelance write and take photos. I also work for ScoreMore Shows, a music company in Austin. I help run their music blog and take photos at their concerts and festivals. Some of my work from there has been picked up by Billboard Mag. I’ve interned at a few places, but in the spring I start interning with Texas Monthly, so I’m excited about that. In October, I released my first poetry book, so I hope to continue doing more creative writing.
There are a lot of other random work things but, when I‘m not working on any of these things, I’m hanging out with my friends. My friends are my family. People are super important to me so I try and invest time in them, and luckily I have a great network of creative and smart people to spend time with. I also read a lot and paint in my free time, but very poorly.
2) TELL US ABOUT THE WORK YOU ARE DOING AND WHY IT IS IMPORTANT.
The work I’m doing is just all over the creative world. Music, visual art, writing...haven’t done much in film yet, but I’m sure we’ll get there. I mean, I started in journalism and while I know that’s not the only thing I want to do, I always come back to it. Magazine work is my favorite, and I think it’s one of my dreams to work at a big magazine. I don’t just love storytelling-- I think magazines really influence the taste and the eye of generations of people. They showcase artists and sometimes are responsible for really making them famous. It’s tastemaking, and I like that. I think the creative world is so important because it’s the stuff that really makes life worth living for. Ideally, our work helps others understand important issues and also can directly impact those who are suffering in the world. I won’t pretend art is the best answer. We need to be on the ground, volunteering, donating money, helping people who need to have their voices heard. I think art, photography, and journalism are tools we can use to help give people a platform for finding their freedom, from whatever is oppressing them: racism, sexism, their government, poverty, etc. The work I am doing and hope to do will aid in these fights for freedom.
3) WHAT HAVE BEEN SOME CHALLENGES IN PURSUING THIS WORK?
It doesn’t pay. And there is not a lot of certainty about the job field. Journalism and art jobs come and go all the time. It’s also hard to not get caught up in the hype. There are constantly trends and click bait type stories being produced, and I have been a victim of following those, but it’s important to have the tenacity and the will to dig deeper than the surface. For the sake of quality and substance.
Also, I think there is a struggle sometimes being a woman and not being taken seriously. People are so often surprised that I work in these worlds, and that I’ve been successful. I still get asked at music festivals if I’ve ever shot before, but I think people are starting to recognize I’m legitimate and that’s good.
4) WHERE AND HOW CAN WE SUPPORT YOU IN YOUR QUEST?
I feel like my quest is just beginning. I’ve had these dreams of being a writer and an artist since I was a little girl and I feel like that’s finally becoming my reality. People see me in that light and it’s satisfying. I guess for support, just support local artists and businesses by going to their events, buying their products, or sharing their stuff online.
5) WHO INSPIRES YOU?
The people who inspire me the most are women in the fields I want to work in. Naomi Zeichner, the editor in chief of The Fader, heads my favorite publication, and has made it one of the best print publications out there. And not just for music. Raven B, Hannah Sider, Petra Collins, Christina Paik: they are all badass lady photographers with different styles and different focuses, but are really killing the current industry and I look up to their hustle so much. You can really see they are doing what they love. I also really am inspired by my friends. They are all so talented, and such good people to their core. They make me want to be a kinder human everyday.