Having participated in the last two issues of the “Hearts + Farts” zine, we wanted to catch up with the woman behind the body-positive and inspiring work of art! Meet Stephanie Simonetti! Stephanie SimonettiWhat led you to create Hearts + Farts? I got the idea for Hearts + Farts during the summer of last year (2012), because I was becoming increasingly proud and comfortable with my body but was still having hard days. I wanted something that would remind myself (and others) to practice self-love, even on rough days. I want people to be able to look to Hearts + Farts for comfort, and to know that they are beautiful. I also want it to be a way for people to express themselves through art or writing by contributing their own personal struggles and revelations about their body. What inspires you? I spend most of my time with my boyfriend, my dog and my wonderful friends who have contributed much of their art, essays, and time to the zine. Some of my favorite hobbies are writing, photography, reading, music, clothes, Lush, and just laying in bed. I’m currently going to school in NYC for journalism and photography. Working with my hands is really motivating to me, whether its writing, working in the darkroom, or making the zine – I think making actual things with your hands and seeing the results of what you’ve done is really rewarding. My ultimate goal is to inspire and motivate people to just be themselves, do what they want and give them reasons to have self worth. hearts and fartsTell us about your own experience and journey with self-love and acceptance. Like many people, I’ve struggled with my body image since I became aware I was fat (around age five). I was made fun of at school and harassed at home – it definitely negatively impacted my confidence. I became more shy and withdrawn at school, hoping that if I was nice and quiet no one would notice I was fat and make fun of me. By the time I got to high school I started to feel more comfortable with myself. I knew some of my “friends” would make jokes about me behind my back, and mock my size but I started to feel bad for them instead of myself. They were so insecure with themselves they couldn’t accept the fact that I kind of liked myself and didn’t want to drastically change my appearance. Over the last five years I’ve just been getting more and more comfortable. I like to dress “well,” which makes me feel more accepting of my body. There are some days I feel more self-conscious than others, but they are becoming less frequent. If you could give women a piece of advice, what would it be? hearts and fartsIt would have to be that throughout your whole life, you will only have one body. You can change it around and dress it up, but it will still be your only body, so why waste time and energy hating it? When you accept yourself and learn to love yourself, there is literally nothing anyone can say about your appearance that can make you feel bad. Don’t give other people the power to make you feel that way. How can women get involved in Hearts + Farts? Hearts + Farts comes out every few months. The next issue will most likely be out early summer, May/June! Hearts + Farts takes submissions! Basically anything body-related: essays and poems about dealing with body image, art, illustrations, and photos depicting your body in a positive way, your tips for self-love, style entries, food/recipes. Anything you want to submit that is about treating yourself well and loving your body! If you want to submit to the zine you can email heartsandfartszine@gmail.com or message Hearts + Farts on Facebook with your submission and credit information (name, website, etc.). Hearts + Farts also has  a tumblr – check it out! (This article was originally seen in The Women’s Issue – a digital magazine we create in celebration of Women’s History Month.)