Daniela Rodriguez, Superstars Only
Originally from Miami, Daniela Rodriguez is the founder and Editor-in-chief of Superstars Only. Now based in New York, she started the magazine with the help of her friends in November 2021, and has recently released the fourth issue titled ‘Escape.’
We’ve stocked the last two issues of Superstars Only, and love both its approach to art and its visual aesthetic—artfully undesigned with just the right degree of structure to make it stand out from the crowd. As Daniela explains as she shares her week, ‘I like to stay loose with our look and have it change for each issue.’
What are you up to this Monday morning?
I’m actually in Cambridge, MA at the moment, printing some issue four shirts to take with me for the book fair in LA that’s coming up.
What can you see from your desk/ through the window?
I’m still settling into my new apartment in New York, but my view hasn’t changed much. I still face a middle school, except this time I can see their basketball court. It’s entertaining at times. I enjoy this view better because it has more trees. I like having greenery at my window.
Which magazine do you first remember?
When I was little, I remember going to the grocery store with my mom after school and picking up all the magazines at the checkout line. I was usually drawn to Cosmopolitan or J-14 and took the quizzes to discover what kind of girl I was or which heartthrob I would be most compatible with. I also loved looking at the tabloids—all the poorly edited images of celebrities doing their errands accompanied by the most outrageous headlines.
Oh! And I remember my mom finally letting me buy one. It was a copy of Disney Adventures, which started in the 90s and ended in 2007, the same year I got my first copy. It was a small magazine, physically speaking. Now that I think of it, the size was designed perfectly for a little kid’s hands.
Which magazine matters to you the most this morning?
I recently discovered Lotion Magazine created by Pamela Butler at the East Village Zine Fair. It’s a collection of images that reads like a film. I bought a copy of their first issue and I’m loving it. They're currently on Issue 10 and I want all of them.
Describe Superstars Only in three words.
Box of chocolates
What makes someone a Superstar in your view?
This is a question I never really know how to answer myself, which is probably why I ask everyone we interview. If you asked me this when I was four, I probably would have said a really pretty and talented famous person. I don’t think that’s true anymore.
I had come up with the name Superstars Only as a way to poke fun at a NY scene that felt very into itself. I wanted to create something that didn’t read as a hall of mirrors. We’ve had so many moments where we’ve naturally stumbled on the people we end up featuring, which always feels better than tirelessly looking at who and what is hot at the moment. I think our most recent issue is a perfect example of us getting closer to figuring out what a Superstar can be.
For example, Yuan Lee, the first interview in the new issue, was the owner of a bed and breakfast we were staying at. We later discovered he was a painter who painted the zoo animals on the Nabisco Animal Cracker box. Or Lexi Langill, who we found credited as Graphic Designer in the credits of an episode of TV show ‘PEN15’. Not really knowing what that title meant in the context of that show, we googled her name and learned that she had worked for all of our favorite shows, designing all of the graphics that had made us laugh. It’s fun meeting new people and hearing their thoughts on Superstardom.
Describe the visual aesthetic of the magazine
There’s a natural rookieness to it since we’re always trying to figure new things out. I’m a very visual person, so I like to stay loose with our look and have it change for each issue. For the third issue, The Serious Issue, a lot of our aesthetics were pulled from things like airplane safety manuals, a restaurant menu from a lobster house in Cape Cod, and the CPR posters you see inside of restaurants—all very serious things.
Why did you launch a print magazine?
At the time, I was frustrated with a lot of the things that I was seeing, especially in the art world. I got tired of complaining and not doing anything about it. At times, I felt a little helpless since I didn’t have a platform—I felt like anything I did would just go nowhere.
It wasn’t until my boyfriend, Adrian, was required to have a piece of journalism published as part of his final for a class he was taking at school. Since he didn’t know anyone who had a publication, he asked me if I could make my own. I said yes, cause why not? A magazine was something I’ve always had in the back of my mind. The name Superstars Only, too. I usually need a deadline for things to get myself going, so it was the perfect opportunity to finally start on something I had been wanting to do for a long time. Things took off from there. We now work on the magazine together.
What advice can you offer a wannabe publisher?
‘Magazine’ is the kind of word that you can close your eyes and imagine; there’s a pre-existing template. Don’t let that template suffocate you when coming up with your own.
Also, printing is a pain. No one told me, so I will be more than happy to tell whoever’s reading this: printing is expensive and something always goes wrong. At least that's been my experience. Honestly, if anyone knows a good printer please let me know.
What are you most looking forward to this coming week?
My birthday is this week... so I have that coming up. Hopefully I can see my friends. :)