PUSS PUSS magazine combines felines with fashion, art and music, with features from Ai Weiwei, Chloë Sevigny, Gia Coppola, Tyler, the Creator, and the late Ren Hang
The image of the “crazy cat lady” has long plagued feline lovers around the world. But PUSS PUSS magazine is out to change that, with a dedicated crossover for those who love felines, as well as art, music and fashion.
“It was one of those ideas that I came up with and could have become one of those things that you don’t do yourself and see someone else realise. I didn’t want that to happen with this one,” explains founder and editor in chief Maria Joudina over email. With a background in design and art direction, alongside fashion branded projects and an obvious love for cats, Joudina’s first issue had her reaching out to Ai Weiwei to ensure she cemented PUSS PUSS’s shelf space. Since, Chloë Sevigny, Tyler, the Creator and more, have appeared in varying issues. Its fifth – guest edited by Heathermary Jackson – reveals four covers: Grace Coddington photographed by Juergen Teller; the late Ren Hang immerses models' bodies and heads in fish tanks; artist India Salvor Menuez captured by Sandy Kim; and model Jane Mosely lensed by Gia Coppola.
As it prepares to launch tonight at New York’s Dashwood Books, we speak to Joudina about how she’s flipping the cat lady trope on its head and share an exclusive preview of issue 5.
Tell us more about this issue and its covers.
Maria Joudina: This is the first time we had multiple covers. Grace Coddington for one of them shot by Juergen Teller was a dream come true! India Menuez is a cat lover and owner and has a lot of interesting stuff going on, but we shot her in LA instead of NYC where she lives so her cat is not in the shoot. Jane Moseley is super cool – she kind of has a mini zoo where she lives in LA and I love the contrast between this ultra cool Balenciaga model on the catwalk and the real Jane with her cats, rats and dogs. Of course it was a huge honor to have Ren Hang shoot for us, it’s so tragic what happened! Michel Gaubert is featured with his two cats – Boris and Brad. He is super funny and has the best Instagram account! Gia Coppola who shot Jane Moseley is also featured with her Bengal cat Pluto whom she takes out in this crazy looking cat trolley. There is also Sue Webster with her cat, My Black Baby, and a tonne more!
“I don’t like describing it as a ‘cat mag’ as that’s not what it is. It’s more about the people who share a love and a starting point for ideas!” – Maria Joudina
How do you go about curating the content of each issue and how do you continue to find willing (and known) cat fans?
Maria Joudina: We always try to get a good mix in the issue of culture, fashion, music, art and everything in-between and it’s actually more about the people behind the cats than the cats so to speak. It’s easy to find cat lovers – you just need to look at their instagram. If you have a cat, it will definitely feature heavily on your feed!
Who have been some previous people featured in past issues that you've been excited about?
Maria Joudina: We had Ai Weiwei in our first ever issue, which was actually part of the reason why I decided to go ahead with this. I wanted to feature him and make it clear from the start that the mag is not about fluff, in both senses of the word. I thought if someone like him is into it, we must have something good! He actually invited us to come to Beijing as he was not allowed to leave the country at that point, so we flew over and hung out with him and his 30+ cats and did the shoot and interview there, it’s still quite a highlight for me. Of course Chloe Sevigny in our previous issue was amazing to get, she had just directed her first short film - Kitty - so the timing was perfect!
With this issue, one of your covers was shot by Ren Hang, along with an accompanying shoot. Tragically he passed away before seeing this but can you shed some light on your time working with him?
Maria Joudina: Like everyone else, we were extremely shocked and saddened when we heard about his tragic passing, he was so amazingly talented! I’ve been a fan of his work for a while and just got in touch to ask if he’d be interested in doing something for the issue, and with him shooting so many nudes the connection to the other kind of pussy was obvious. So I suggested to do something with that in mind. He loved the idea and wanted to add fish to the mix which resulted in this beautiful shoot and cover. We also decided to dedicate the issue to him and his work, that will always celebrate life, the body, and freedom of expression.
Do you ever worry you'll run out of cat-related content?
Maria Joudina: Not really, there will always be plenty of cat lovers and with our approach, the possibilities are endless. We are also looking to expand our subject matter, and with a name like PUSS PUSS, we’d love to do a “Pussy Power” issue about strong women or a “Sex Issue” is another obvious one!
What has the reaction and reception been to PUSS PUSS? Who do you find your readers are?
Maria Joudina: We have quite a mix of readers in terms of men and women and by now we are sold worldwide in over 200+ shops as well as online. It’s always a bit tricky describing to people what we are about who haven’t seen the actual mag. I don’t like describing it as a ‘cat mag’ as that’s not what it is. It’s more about the people who share a love and a starting point for ideas!
How difficult is it to actually work with cats ?
Maria Joudina: It totally depends on the cat – we did a shoot in Paris with a Siamese cat that was a total nightmare – nobody could touch it and it took three people to get it back into it’s carrier. Luckily, we had a backup-cat that saved the day. On another shoot, the cat was loving all the attention despite about 20 people on set, he was looking straight into the camera and ended up on the cover of our third issue.
What's next for PUSS PUSS?
Maria Joudina: Well, it’s kind of difficult to follow Grace Coddington but there are a lot of people we’d love to work with. Especially people who are normally very cool and reserved and totally open up when they can talk about their beloved pet – Karl Lagerfeld and Choupette are next, hopefully!
PUSS PUSS, issue 5, launches at Dashwood Books and will be available worldwide or by pre-order here