By Amanda Y. Su

Parting Shots

Outgoing FM leaders pass the torch.
By FM Staff

147th Guard:

Andrew W. D. Aoyama, FM Chair, 147:

Recently, Andrew reminded me of a story of his that I edited during his freshman year — his first solo-bylined piece, to be exact, of which there would soon be many. I didn’t quite remember it (sorry, Andrew), so I looked back through our emails to find our very first exchange.

Unsurprisingly, it reflects everything that I soon came to find out about Andrew. He was resourceful: A source wasn’t responding to his emails, so he planned to track down the source in person. He was thorough: He sent me his interview questions in advance. He was thoughtful: He mulled over several different possibilities for an angle. And, he was impressive: He sent me a finished draft a full day in advance of our editing session (something that, as you have surely learned as an exec, is precious and very hard to come by).

Andrew, these are qualities that you have demonstrated again and again over the past two years: as a powerhouse staff writer (writing THREE hard-hitting reported stories for our Heat issue glossy last year!), a natural editor (constantly taking on some of our toughest stories), and a dream of a comp director (mentoring a wonderful and strong class of new writers).

And these qualities will certainly serve you so well as chair. I have no doubt that you are going to take our magazine to new heights with your sky high dreams of podcasts and newsletters and monthly glossies. Keep being your resourceful, thorough, thoughtful, and impressive self. FM is so incredibly lucky to have you as a leader next year.

—ALS

Nina H. Pasquini, FM Chair, 147:

I feel like it’s a safe assumption that Nina H. Pasquini has the capacity for great rage and fury, but one would not know this at first glance. (I only suggest this because I talked to her after she interviewed Harvey Mansfield.) One would, instead, feel intensely supported and heart-warmed in the presence of Nina.

Nina, however, is more than just the calm, warm presence wearing a turtleneck in the newsroom: She is, famously, a party girl (forced by proximity to The Fly Club for Gentlemen); an ardent Timothée Chalamet stan; a wine mom; and a confident, caring reporter.

She is committed to truth in journalism: She asked me to change the text of a levitous piece about The Fly after her deadline because she witnessed, with her own eyes, men playing beer pong in suits and needed to tell the world the truth. She is hardworking in the face of incompetency: She texted me about FM-related matters on Friday and Saturday nights and gracefully weathered my useless responses!

Most importantly, she will lead this magazine with grace, strength, and kindness. Nina, I am confident your chairship will be “very baller, very anarchist,” to quote Timothée Chalamet in “Lady Bird”. I wish you a year of toxic femininity, kickass reporting, and too much fun.

—NMM

Vivekae M. Kim, FM Editor-at-Large, 147:

By the time you read this parting shot, Vivekae Kim has probably already gone from woman to viral woman. Yeah, that’s right—FM’s next EAL (editor-at-large) is a YouTube sensation known from such videos as “Harvard student goes thrift shopping.” Never heard of it? Well that’s on you.

But I assure you, dear reader, sudden celebrity status will only equip Vivekae for her new job which includes such responsibilities as: setting the tone for answering weekly ice breakers, sending some variation of “hey, this is more of a question for your editor” approximately 65 times per semester, and, most importantly, flashing those pearly whites so the managing editor will proof our articles.

Celeb status aside, there’s no one I’d trust to make the weekly google forms, assign pitches, and reassure the chairs with tepid but still sincere “it’s going to be okay”s. I’ll be reading FM in the dining hall, whispering to myself “Once upon a time I knew her…”

—JED

Congratulations on the beginning of what I am sure will be a thrilling year. I have very few words of caution to offer you, as you are eminently qualified for this position, and I would feel silly giving you instructions. Mostly, what I have to say is this:

I hope you never have a Casual Monday or Tuesday, as I personally have looked forward to playing the “which life-altering outfit will VVK present to us today” game every time I see you, and know all your underlings will, too. I hope you find everything absurd that happens over the course of the next year hilarious. I hope you continue to follow your gut when it comes to stories you feel must be written. You have an unusually sound moral compass that I admire very much, and I cannot wait to see where it leads you.

Please remind AWDA and NHP that everything is going to be okay and that nothing matters as much as they think it does. But also I hope you can also validate their anxieties and cry along with them when things go wrong. It is fun to care about things when you are a college student and nothing really matters. I hope you always care a lot.

Mostly, I hope you have as much fun as JED and I have this past year! I have the highest of hopes for you next year.

—EOS

146th Guard:

Norah M. Murphy, FM Chair, 146:

Once I told Norah that I was having a bad week and wanted to quarantine myself in my room with some Ben and Jerry’s and a rom-com. Norah’s eyes widened because Norah loves rom-coms, and she offered to give me tailored advice. I said that I preferred mild cynicism in my rom-coms, and Norah recommended “Obvious Child,” which did in fact feature a perfect bouquet of dry wit and Jenny Slate. But what elevates this story to Norah-status is what happened next: I logged onto Twitter and saw that after our conversation, Norah had made a Google form called “romcom matchatron 2000” so that she could spread her services to the public.

Norah: You have gifted FM with your leadership, patience, humor, and grace under pressure for many years, and now we must give you up so that you can matchmake rom-coms for the rest of the world. I don’t know what I will do without you — when, during magazine initiations, you are not in the room to share the weight of being made fun of for having a tendency to rewatch “Pride and Prejudice” during times of stress. You were the first leader on FM who made this place feel like home for me. You are always there for us, literally, sometimes you are one of two attendants at comp socials. You are kind and grounded, honest and down-to-earth, and you never get mad at people, even when they don’t know how to use InDesign after one (1) year.

Please never stop Tweeting, so that there is always something to fill the statement-Doc-Marten-shaped holes in our hearts.

—NHP

Abigail L. Simon, FM Chair, 146:

“You’re really lucky to have Abigail as an editor,” she says, perched on the edge of the couch. She was right — I was extremely lucky, and so was the rest of FM.

It’s Harvard-Yale weekend, and one of my best friends from high school and I are paying a visit to one of his college best friends — who, coincidentally, was one of Abigail’s high school best friends. If that was a confusing sentence to read, don’t worry: The chain of events to which it refers was equally confusing.

But by the time we arrived at Abigail’s suite in Pfoho, she had already gone to bed, leaving just the three of us to collect in her common room.

“Abigail was the best of us,” her friend continues. “Sharp, smart, funny — but more than anything, kind. The magazine is in amazing hands with her as chair”

She was right about this too: Abigail is the best of us.

Abigail: You have carried FM with grace, modeled for us what it means to lead with generosity, creativity, and care. We’ve been lucky to have you as an editor — and luckier still to have you as a friend, a mentor, and a role model.

—AWDA

Jensen E. Davis, FM Editor-at-Large, 146:

My favorite pose is your T-pose. It’s not most people’s kind of T-pose, when people are trying to assert dominance. Instead, it’s a fantastic flourish of Jensen-trademarked conviction and/or exasperation of the best kind, often accompanied by a remarkably hilarious quip worthy of Twitter-viral fame. I love our shared interest in celebrity, your large scarves, and your platform boots made for a reformed (?) party girl. I shall miss your pithy remarks in both writer’s and exec, usually punctuated by a single arm raised, pointer finger directed at the heavens. Thank you for being YOU. You are simultaneously the most and the least LA person I have ever met and I’m not sure what we’ll do at FM without your West Coast representation. I’m thankful that we’ll at least have your incisive Twitter coffee shop commentary.

—VMK

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

One thing I have always appreciated about you is that we always seem to be on the same page about our preferred level of petulance -- that is, a VERY HIGH LEVEL. (I will advocate for petulant interviews in exec.) In your footsteps, I hope to strut, in flowing robes, with unparalleled confidence and irreverent wit through the newsroom. I’m actually not sure how I will cope without your white crayon ice breaker answer, our anticipatory laughter that begins bubbling up during your exposition, and your assumption of a very Eliya story-telling pose -- chin up, authoritative, clear-eyed gaze trained on a distant Sanctum corner. I hope my comedic timing will someday match up. Finally, I shall always remember how your editing always helped me believe in myself -- like I did have the power to seek and show truth through my reporting and writing. EOS, I will miss you!

—VMK

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Parting Shot