When seeking inspiration for Supermaker in the months before our June 2019 launch, Indhira Rojas had no way of knowing, but our team was obsessing over the fine details of her mental health magazine Anxy.
Exquisitely designed and bound, and filled with challenging articles about mental health, masculinity, and boundaries, Anxy created a new paradigm in my mind of what successful offline curation looked like. Rojas, who founded and served as Creative Director of Anxy since its first issue was printed in 2017, deftly merged design and editorial, encouraging writers to lean into meaningful personal narratives and elicit actionable takeaways for readers.
When contemplating our audience engagement strategy, we asked ourselves: What does it mean for us a publication to ask for reflection from our readers? To whom does our responsibility lie as a publisher? What does it even mean to consume media?
Anxy called earnestly upon its readers to examine their inner worlds, but what they did perhaps best of all was to earn readers’ trust. By burrowing into a then-underreported niche like mental health—and teaming up with wildly talented essayists and designers willing to “go there"—Anxy soothed our souls by reminding us that it’s natural to be imperfect, and to learn to process our own trauma and learned behaviors as we grow. It reminded us that it’s OK to not be OK, and that ruminating about our own mental health is an inevitable reflection of our own humanity.
Where Psychology Today sits on the diagnostic and self-help position of the spectrum, Anxy sits inversely between personal discovery and a lifestyle brand. Had they been allowed to continue down this path, perhaps we would eventually see an Anxy meditation app, a podcast or series on AppleTV, a line of products, and subscription service dedicated to sharing the best of contemporary psychology. They might be defined as the brand making psychoeducation engaging and achievable to grasp.
Last month, Anxy shuttered. Faced with an array of challenges to scale, and despite having sold 30,000 copies in our “print is dead” era, founder Indhira Rojas made the difficult decision to turn off the lights. In A Farewell from Anxy, Rojas wrote:
“I started conversations with advisors and friends about how to approach VCs, built a pitch deck, and mapped our potential trajectory and growth goals. I got feedback, made revisions, got more feedback, and continued to refine our pitch further. I did my best to present the untapped potential of Anxy. None of the conversations led to funding. While being a print publication was a strength for us, for investors, it was a limitation. They wanted to see a digital product, with low cost and high profitability, something able to scale exponentially and show deep traction. It made me wonder if, in the end, our truth is more art than commerce.”
This month, Supermaker is kicking off our own Mental Health collection, in which we explore themes of psychology, identity, self-care, and empathy. And as part of this series, we’ll also be sharing some of Anxy’s best articles that had never before seen the digital light of day. But first, Supermaker spoke with Rojas to learn more about Anxy’s legacy—and what’s to come for mental health media.