Parting Shots

The matriarchs of the 145th guard pass the torch.

Eliya O. Smith, FM Editor-at-Large, 146

FM’s very own EOS is way better than that Eos lip balm in little round tubs. She’s not waxy, she’s nowhere near spherical, and she doesn’t commodify women’s insecurities. I also have it on good authority that not once has she been sued for making anyone break out in “boils and blisters on and around her lips requiring medical attention”. Chapstick couldn’t write some of the sharpest and most lyrical prose the mag has ever seen, and it certainly couldn’t make scarlet fever look good.

Name anything besides unpacking and I guarantee EOS does it better than you. Editing stories? Like a pro. Avoiding meat? For ten years, baby. Wearing clogs? You should see her in action. I have, so I can safely say that EAL duties will be a piece of cake for her. She’ll handle the good (ponchos with nothing underneath, veggies, compliments on her authorial voice) and the bad (that kid in Bloomsbury section, velvet, compliments on her authorial voice) with grace; I’m only sorry I won’t be around to witness it.

Okay, you know what, I’m sick of this. Time to cut the crap: Her humor is too dry, her writing too incisive. I want something wet and healing! Like lip balm. That’s why I’m leaving the mag, to hydrate my lips with long-wearing flavor combinations like vanilla mint and hibiscus peach. Goodbye, good luck, remember to moisturize.


Abigail L. Simon, FM Chair, 146

I feel somewhat unequipped to tell you about Abigail L. Simon, and not because she’s a super mysterious figure or anything. When I joined FM as a junior, I was essentially the sitcom stepdad popping in on a fully formed family. So I can’t tell you what comper-Abigail was up to, and I can’t recount stories of newly minted writer-Abigail and how she adjusted to the board. But it’s our final production night, and these parting shots don’t write themselves.

I did get to know Abigail a great deal outside of FM, and that girl was my rock. I showed up to class once for Stat 104 (which I foolishly decided to take as a junior), and she was the only recognizable face. As a humble humanities concentrator, I knew nothing about the world of p-setting or group projects, but Abigail saw me through it all.

And that’s what I know Abigail will do next year. She will see this magazine through. She’s just the kind of no-nonsense straight-shooter FM needs.


Norah M. Murphy, FM Chair, 146

“WE GOT AN INTERVIEW WITH THE GROUNDHOG LADY,” I announced over the FM listserv one evening in January, pitching out what would surely be an adorable and straightforward local story about Groundhog Day. In an extremely predictable move, Norah picked up the groundhog assignment. A few days later, I received a message from Norah with the subject line, “groundhog lady is….maybe an anti-vaxxer?” It was an awkward situation: The key source in our lighthearted groundhog coverage was, indeed, a public vaccine skeptic. In the end, we found a way to tell the story truthfully and fairly. The groundhog in question saw her shadow.

Norah, I tell this story, not just because it makes me say "of course this happened to you," but because in this job every week seems to have its own anti-vax groundhog lady: an unfortunate surprise that seems like it could derail everything but is ultimately possible to work around. Articles will fall through, execs, compers, and staffers alike will get mad at you, Crimson business associates will sell the FM backpage to advertisers without telling you first. Shit happens, and at this magazine of ours it manages to happen in the most audacious ways. I’m confident that you’ll push through the tough moments with a good attitude and a great sense of humor. Dicey reporting situations, Crimson bureaucracy, unchecked male ego — you’ve handled all of it before. I’m no groundhog, but I see a sunny year ahead for FM.


Katie C. Berry, FM Editor-at-Large, 145

To my very dear kcbkcbkcbkcbkcbkcbkcbkcb,

I hope that wherever you go on Monday and Tuesday nights, there are a lot of books and a lot of petulant people to debate you on small matters. Specifically, I wish you a lot of Henry James novels, and also some kind of device that will allow you to read them while you cross the street. I hope you are always surrounded by the hordes of people who are lucky enough to call you their friend, except I also hope this horde of people rotates who actually hangs out with you so it’s never more than one-on-one time, because I would never wish dreaded group socializing upon you.

In exactly one year I will send you a reminder about the time I wore the white crayon Halloween costume. I will continue to do this annually until one of us is dead. Do not worry.

Until then: I adore you even more than my dad adores you (and seeing as he likes you more than he likes me, if you math that one out, it definitely comes to a lot of adoration). All my love forevs.


Leah S. Yared, FM Chair, 145

Leah once texted me, “I was so worried you’re a go to bed by 11pm person lmao.” Fortunately, I am not — and my friendship with Leah has thrived largely because of that fact.

Actually, I can safely say that Leah is one of the only people in my life whom I have texted all through night until the sun rose the next day. Sadly, Leah and I were not just shooting the breeze. We — a humanities and social science concentrator respectively, who can both count on one hand the number of p-set classes we’ve taken at Harvard — were desperately trying to finish statistics problems by Monday morning. The hours between 3am and 6am are some of the loneliest and most grueling hours to be awake. With Leah, these hours were still grueling, but a whole lot less lonely.

As I know well from my two years (and long hours) of working with Leah, her work ethic is superhuman. More importantly though, Leah’s calm, collected demeanor, biting sense of humor, and self-assured leadership style have made her an incredible magazine chair. In just one year — doesn’t it feel like so much longer than that? — Leah has become an indispensable part of FM. Leah, I hope your bedtimes are earlier in post-FM life, but just know that we’ll miss you so much next year.


Marella A. Gayla, FM Chair, 145

My first real interaction with Marella A. Gayla ’19 was roasting her as a freshman in front of the entire staff of FM when I was being initiated to the magazine. These days, I’m less terrified of Marella than I was then (but do bear in mind that roasting such a salacious, impressive, and impressively salacious person was a truly daunting task). Perhaps "scared" isn’t the right word — "intimidated by sheer degree of cool" might be more accurate. Even still, “cool” feels too cheap a word to describe the inimitable MAG. “Miranda Priestly in a denim jacket” comes closer, save for the fact that comparing Marella to an old white lady — even three-time Academy Award winner Meryl Streep — feels intrinsically wrong.

Marella’s take-no-prisoners-and-also-no-bullshit attitude was made clear from the get-go, and evident in her leadership of two comp classes and two stellar semesters of magazine publication. Her talent as a writer, editor, and pasta chef is astounding. Can your magazine co-chair cook up a mean tomato vodka sauce on Thursday and dish out editorial wisdom on Friday? Unlikely!

Marella leaves very high platform boots to fill.