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Jacques magazine
Jacques MagazinePhotography Ben Ritter

The all-female led mag challenging porn’s boys’ club

Jacques Magazine is an erotic publication for the feminist generation

The porn and publishing industries have always been an ol' boys' clubs, but at ‘Jacques Magazine’ founder Danielle Leder-Hettara wants to change that. Banking issues on the appeal of confident sexuality, natural beauty and loyal subscribers instead of relying on advertisers, ‘Jacques’ aims to carve out a fairer representation of the female form in soft porn.

First of all, Leder-Hettara rarely sources her models through agencies, “98% contact me. They say, I love the magazine and what it stands for, and it always comes out great.” She also wields the camera herself, preferring girl-led sets. It’s a feminist publication, Leder-Hettera says, because she's a feminist, and Jacques is an expression of how she sees the world.

“There are several different reasons why someone poses nude and I tend to pick the girls that do it to make a point, not just someone looking for attention." She explains, “as women, we can sort of beat on each other. There's too much body shaming,” and she wants to change that.

Dreamt up during Leder-Hettara’s days as a model living in agency provided apartments and watching other girls subsisting on lettuce and diet coke while fasting for castings, ‘Jacques’ is a backlash against backwards beauty standards. “Living in this model apartment these girls became my family… I didn't let the industry's standards affect me but it upset me that my friends didn't have the strength or voice to say: this is fucked up.”

“As women, we can sort of beat on each other. There's too much body shaming”– Danielle Leder-Hettera

And Leder-Hettara has brought that feeling of girl power and mutual support  to ‘Jacques’. First things first, she cut out the over processed elements. No retouching, fake tans, or bleached blonde hair. Everything is shot on film instead of digital because the innate abstraction of film is kinder to the body. The publication features women of all races and body types; real women expressing their sexuality in an authentic setting. "A lot of the [‘Jacques’ models] become my really good friends. It's a big deal to photograph somebody nude, especially if they don't do it very often."

Leder-Hettara is instead focused on what the model is feeling and who she wants to be versus selling ability. It could be because Danielle also steps in front the lenses, so she perfectly identifies, “these girls are coming to me because they want to feel empowered and in the process empower other women.” That's why I decided to lead everything myself. You know what they tell me now afterwards? This is the sexiest I've ever looked/felt/been in my entire life and I have photos to prove it. And these are girls like you or me, you know, normal girls."

‘Jacques Magazine’ is technically porn. It's hidden under opaque wrappers in specialty shops and its website reads: "must be 18 to enter." But it's more. Shoots pull from a world of girl-centric inspiration: occult priestesses, turn of the century strippers, farmers' daughters, and geishas. It's a representation of Leder-Hettera and all the women she holds close who inspire her, and it's catching on. “Do people really like Playboy anymore?” She winks.

Find out more here