Psst … whether you believe in the idea of serendipity or not, there’s no denying a large dose of it is what led to Puss Puss being the first title in our inaugural MagSpy package. It was back in June, and the last night of our trip to London for the Monocle Summer Fayre. On our way to dinner, we received an email from London-based art director Maria Joudina introducing her soon-to-be-published biannual publication on cats. Immediately, we knew we had to arrange for a meeting the next morning before our afternoon flight. And boy, are we glad we did. Because even if you wouldn’t be a cat person despite you being the last human, and them being the last animals, on earth, as long as you’re a fan of magazines, you’ll find lots to love about Puss Puss. Unconvinced? Our interview with Maria will purr-suade you otherwise.*
Naturally, the first question has to be – why a magazine on cats?
I love cats and I love print, so it was an obvious continuation to put the two together and mix in fashion, art and culture; I hope there are more people who feel this way.
Have you always been a cat person?
My family always had cats, so I was raised a cat person. I still remember the look on my grandma’s face when I brought in my first kitten!
We heard your own cat cameos in issue 1 of Puss Puss.
Sputnik is a gorgeous Russian blue and looks like she was destined for the limelight. However, she doesn’t like it at all and it took quite a long time to get the right shot for the magazine. She was actually supposed to be on the cover with Anja [Konstantinova], but she was not enjoying the shoot at all; and it felt more right not to put a cat on the cover and just have Anja with her “Meow” tattoo to leave a bit of mystery. Sputnik was in another shoot, the one by Mariana Bassani that features close-ups of different cat’s coats. This one was a lot easier to shoot.
Besides Sputnik and Anja, the star of issue 1 has to be Ai Weiwei. How did the interview come about?
I am a huge fan of his work and have read many interviews with him. And in each one of them, even without being asked, he mentions his cats. I think for him, they are a metaphor for freedom in a way, because you can’t really tell a cat what to do and they always do as they please. We emailed him and his studio just responded by asking when we wanted to come over. At that point, I knew there was no going back!
How would you pitch the magazine to someone who isn’t into cats?
The concept of the magazine is to, first and foremost, create interesting content that happens to have a connection to cats, so most articles will be an interesting read even for people who aren’t necessarily crazy about cats. The interview with Ai Weiwei, for example, is mainly about art, politics and activism; and the cats only act as a connecting thread that tie all the articles together. I also like to think that we spent a lot of time creating a beautiful object with high quality paper, design and print, which people will want to keep and collect.
What do you say to people who question the sustainability of a magazine on cats?
Many people have been asking me this question but once you start digging, there is so much content! There only needs to be a small connection – as long as you can trace it back to cats somehow, it works!
Which is your favourite cat character in pop culture?
I’m not sure if it counts as pop culture but my favourite cat character is the cat in [Mikhail] Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita, which is my favourite book. And, Cat from Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Who do you think would win in the following cat fights and why?
Choupette vs Grumpy Cat
That’s a tricky one, I would say Choupette as she has more experience being a celebricat and, worst case scenario, she can call in her bodyguards to help.
Hello Kitty and Garfield
Hello Kitty – she would just charm Garfield into submission, so there would be no need for a fight.
(Internet cat stars) Maru vs Lil Bub
It’s getting more and more difficult! Maru, as Lil Bub is smaller and less agile with her short little legs.
Cheshire Cat vs Crookshanks
Crookshanks would win, since he can call in his buddies to do some magic.
Tom (Tom & Jerry) vs Sylvester (Looney Tunes)
Tom, cos he has more tricks up his sleeve. Also, Sylvester is a very unlucky cat.
*Convinced to pick up a copy of Puss Puss? Click on the “MagSpy” tab above and sign up for a 3-month to 12-month subscription at just $30 a month, and you’ll receive it at your doorstep, along with a Top Secret package bursting with limited edition goodies curated according to the theme of the title. If you’d prefer a one-off pack, follow us at @magpiemags on Instagram or like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/magpiemagazines for news on our pop-ups, where you can pick up a pack at $35.