Eyes front! See the shortlist for the 2022 magazine cover prize showdown for Journalism students at De Montfort University

The front-runners in the DMU Journalism magazine cover prize 2022

It’s the clash of the covers, the grapple of the glossies, the melee of the mags – and now the shortlist has been revealed for the annual magazine prize contested by Journalism students at De Montfort University in Leicester.

Students on both the single- and joint-honours Journalism programmes at DMU create magazines and websites in a final-year project which tests the writing and design skills they have gained during their studies. Each year, the best covers go head to head for a cash prize.

And these are the front runners in the 2022 competition, which is being judged by Joe Brewin, the deputy editor of FourFourTwo, the world’s biggest football magazine.

The five glossies in this year’s clash of the covers are:

Adore, a monthly women’s lifestyle magazine with “stories from underrepresented and misrepresented groups”, created and written by Beth Bailey, Abbie Beresford, Fiora Flinton, Kira Gibson and Shantelle Gondo.

GenFem, a women’s lifestyle magazine aimed at an audience of 18-25-year-olds, created and written by Maryam Goncalves, Morgana Ribeiro and Maykel Valladares.

Ocio, a sports magazine that takes readers away from the mainstream, created and written by Thomas Carter, Rashaad Mangera, Joshua Solomon, Holly Taylor and Luke Williamson.

Taboob, a convention-busting lifestyle, health, fashion and entertainment magazine aimed mainly at women, created and written by Jaz Cartwright, Yannick Doualehi, Victoria Gavin, Megan McCluskey, Kiran Munder, Deborah Paul-Enahoro and Hannah Smith.

Twenty One, a Gen-Z style, culture and entertainment magazine, created and written by Arabelle Akinfe, Samantha Johnston, Seema Mian and Lauren Sadler.

Journalism programme leader, Brian Dodds, said: “Once again, I’m struck by the high standard of the magazines produced by our talented Journalism students at DMU. I’m looking forward to seeing who wins – but well done to them all.”

The winners will be announced next month and the members of the successful group will share a £200 prize. You can see the winner of last year’s prize here.

Rob Gee performs live at WORD! comedy special

By Abi Willock

Poet and comedian Rob Gee gave a rib-tickling performance as part of WORD! at the Leicester Comedy Festival.

Rob performed alongside comedian turned magician Tim Bombdog, host Lydia Towsey and open-mic performers as part of the WORD! and Foxy Comedy Special at Wygston’s House.

Rob’s passion for poetry began when he became front man of a punk rock band, he said “I was 16 when I fronted the band and the chat between the songs kept getting longer.
“I got into comedy because most of my poems were funny.”

It’s true, Rob’s performance had the audience in stitches with a selection of poems including; ‘My Daughter is a Donington Goth’ and ‘Swear to be Good’ from his cleverly designed Poetry Tapas collection.

Rob performing infront of a live audience Photo by Nick Rawle

In the past, Rob worked as a mental health nurse for the NHS, and often talks about the funny side of some of his experiences in his poems.

The giggle-inducing ‘COPD Singalong’, which was originally written as a commission about how choral singing can help with symptoms of chronic pulmonary disease, was a firm favourite among the audience.

Audience member, Elliot Luxton said, ”My favourite poem was ‘A Very Chilled Robbery’.

“I was very much impressed by his whole performance.”

 

After the gig at Wygston’s House

Rob helped to set up WORD!, a poetry and spoken word organisation running activities across the East Midlands, when it was founded 18 years ago.

Alongside performing, he also delivers comedy-based workshops for members of the ’Wednesday Words’ group.

 

Christian OnlyFans model Nita Marie on her ‘threesomes’ with God

Faith is a powerful thing – especially when it enters the bedroom. Here, Thomas Carter tells the story of a connection to the Lord that goes far beyond the pulpit…

Christian OnlyFans model Nita Marie, who says she has 'threesomes' with God
IN GOD SHE TRUSTS: Nita Marie (above) believes that a strong connection to faith improves her intimate life (Photo credit: Nita Marie)

By most accounts, Nita Marie is your everyday mother. Loving husband, twin daughters, and a job in sales. Very normal. Apart from the small fact that she is also a nude model. And not just any one at that – but a nude model with a calling from God.

“When I started modelling, I just wanted to learn the art of seduction,” she says, “but now I really feel like God led me to this.”

Nita (or ‘Mama Nita’ as she’s known to her fans) is a lively Colorado native, with striking blonde hair and an unshakeable connection to her faith.

“Some people thought I was being led by Satan!” she says, holding her crucifix necklace.

“Anytime someone is a believer, they’re always asking God what the next steps should be, and I’ve done that throughout my whole career.”

First modelling back in her college days, Nita would take a lengthy hiatus from adult photography, returning to the scene four years ago on a religious mission to rediscover her sexuality.

Now 46, she spends her days selling nude pictures and videos on streaming site OnlyFans to a loyal following of more than 100,000 paying subscribers.

“It was a leap of faith to even start doing it because nobody I knew was in the adult world,” she says. 

“I come from a place that is totally different, very conservative, no one would have ever expected me to do it.

“It was definitely a shock to most people, and it still is.”

Perhaps highest on the ‘surprised’ list were her parents, who found out about their daughter’s new career via an email from some mortified friends.

“They had a little heart attack!” says Nita. She lets out a nervous laugh, reliving the moment her parents learned the news.

“It’s not that I didn’t want them to know, I just didn’t feel like it was necessary for them to find out – I thought it would add a lot of stress.

“In my other work the uniform makes you feel frumpy, all buttoned up, so when I started posting pictures with cleavage or without a bra on, that’s where I got the craziest reaction.”

Astonished as some may be, her success is indisputable. Over a short period Nita has appeared on ITV’s This Morning and racked up more than half a million followers on social media.

Besides what is there to be ashamed of, she says, when making more money in the space of a day selling pictures through OnlyFans than she would in a month at her sales job.

Financial prosperity aside, Nita is still keen to emphasise her role as a religious servant, even if nude modelling is somewhat of a far cry from the Ten Commandments.

“I feel like God called me to this because there are lonely men out there who just need someone to talk to,” she says.

“One part of my calling is to fulfill that ‘mommy’ role for them, because there are actually a lot of men that have ‘mommy issues’. 

“There’s a huge kink of step-mom attraction, and it’s a fantasy they like to play out on my page.”

Even though Nita is “taking care of her boys” in a virtual sense, the relationships formed are, she insists, genuine emotional connections.

And there is perhaps no better evidence of this than her husband, whom she met during his time as a fan on her site.

“We met because of my modelling, in a Facebook group, and his comments always popped out at me,” she says, grinning.

“I actually reached out to him for help on a project, and he didn’t want anything in return, which was super attractive to me.”

Having spent the eight years prior in a (somewhat ironically) asexual relationship, Nita’s fan romance was a welcome change to her life, with marriage following shortly after meeting.

This time round Nita was determined to not repeat mistakes of the past, meaning the Lord would enter her marital life on a far more intimate level – in the bedroom.

“A threesome with God is really just inviting him in,” she says.

“God prepares me, and gives me confidence to talk about certain issues. It gives me the opportunity to be more open, and as I’m more vulnerable, the sex is amazing.”

“I have always made a point that God would be in our intimate life as well as our emotional life, and it has really made a difference with us being connected.”

Her husband, a spiritual person but far from a devout church-goer, is supposedly fine with this arrangement, or as Nita puts it: “He isn’t going to say no.”

But while affairs in the bedroom seem to be agreeable, Nita’s partner is slightly more agnostic in his view of her work.

“He gets more protective of me when I do content with other people, so I’ve tamed it back,” she explains.

“Now I do more solo content, as it’s something he wanted me to do. It’s good because we’re evolving.”

With motherhood at the heart of everything she does, Nita believes transparency regarding her work should be extended to her entire family, including her nine-year-old twin daughters.

“A lot of people have said I shouldn’t do modelling because of the girls, but the interesting thing is they are very supportive of it,” she says.

“My kids call it ‘body positive’ modelling, and they say: ”Mom, we’re so lucky you do OnlyFans!”

But still the question remains; is it really worth selling revealing pictures online if it means being shunned by friends and those in your religious community? Her answer, quite simply, is yes.

“A lot of my Christian friends are now very inspired by what I’m doing,” she says.

“They come to me saying about how a woman needs to feel empowered in her body and sexuality because we don’t talk about it enough in the Christian faith.

“Plus who knows what I’ll be doing in three or four years, I may be doing something completely different!

“If we put people in boxes it doesn’t give them the chance to change, to evolve and grow.”

In this view, Nita Marie is in fact your canonical mother. The only differing factor, of course, is found in her religious calling of truly unorthodox proportions.

Q&A: Sky News news editor gives current De Montfort University students a fascinating insight to the world of broadcast journalism

Former DMU student Annie Green returns to Leicester


De Montfort University graduate Annie Green shared her story of life in the journalism industry with current students during an inspirational talk on Wednesday.
Graduating in 2013, Annie has gone on to work for the Norwich Evening News, BBC Radio
Leicester and Global Radio, most recently landing the role of news editor at Sky News.
Following her talk, the English Language and Journalism graduate sat down with Tom Carter to provide some further words of wisdom:
Q: It’s your first return to campus for almost a decade – what has it been like being back
at DMU
?
A: Great but really strange! Some of the buildings on campus haven’t changed at all. I walked
back through the doors of the Clephan Building and had to pinch myself, thinking how nine
years ago I was sitting in the student seats watching and listening to people in the industry. The
fact I’ve been asked back to do a talk – what an honour.
Q: You were heavily involved in the Demon Media Group during your years here. Do you
have a personal highlight from your time in the society?

A: The fact we hosted the Student Radio Conference was brilliant. It brought us so many
benefits, such as going to drinks with industry professionals, where I got to network and which
ultimately helped me get my first demo listened to. Also, every week we had a news show,
putting in the extra time to go out and gather content, which was really fun. There was a good
camaraderie within the team, and I really developed as a journalist.
Q: Recent years have been an especially turbulent time to be in education – what would
your advice be to current students at DMU?
A: I would definitely say that work experience got me in the door for my first job, as not only did I
gain such valuable skills but I also started to learn what I wanted to do (for a career). Did I want
to go into print journalism, or radio, or TV? It gave me the opportunity to try everything and
helped me realise I love radio. Trying to find work experience is the best advice I can give
because while it takes a lot of determination and commitment in your holidays, you will definitely
reap the rewards.

Sky News news editor Annie Green, back where it all began for her at De Montfort University


Read more on Annie’s career and return to DMU here:
https://www.dmu.ac.uk/about-dmu/news/2022/january/sky-news-editor-shares-key-to-success-w
ith-dmu-students.aspx

A Chorus Line at Curve: ‘My exclusive, behind-the-scenes chance to watch the mesmerising Christmas show take shape’

Chorus of approval: the cast of A Chorus Line at Curve. Image by Marc Brenner.

From read-throughs to rehearsals to curtain up, De Montfort University Journalism student Maykel Valladares followed the rise of Curve’s critically acclaimed Christmas show – and blogged about it for the Leicester theatre’s website. How did she land the role? Here’s her story

It’s July 2020, mask mandates are put into place and people are still encouraged to stay at home in the state of Utah. I needed to find something to keep me busy, so I registered for a summer semester of school. I spent a lot of time sewing since I was pursuing a fashion degree.

One day I was cutting and ironing a significant amount of fabric and I wanted to play something on the television so I wasn’t working in silence. I saw that the popular Broadway musical “Hamilton” had recently been made available on Disney Plus, so I decided to turn it on. As it went on, it was no longer background noise. I became hooked on the story, the dancing, and the music. This was the start of my obsession for musical theatre.  

Fast forward to October 2021. I have taken the leap to live in England and I’m studying Journalism at De Montfort University in Leicester. Even though it’s a dream come true to study abroad, I knew I had my work cut out for me.

During the first week of classes on the Arts and Entertainment Journalism module at DMU, I found out about an internship that was available at Curve Theatre in Leicester, as a blogger for their big Christmas production of A Chorus Line. The blogger would get to sit in on rehearsals and help give a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes.

A chance for me to practice my writing and I get to watch a musical? Sign me up!

I applied and got an interview with Fiona Moore, the press and digital manager at Curve. She’s incredibly sweet and was kind enough to offer me the position.

Utah to Les-tah: Maykel at Curve

I started on November 1, the first day of rehearsals. You could feel the excitement radiating off this new cast. As I looked around the rehearsal room, there were mood boards hung up all over and a miniature model of what the set will look like. I loved seeing the 1970s inspirations the set and wardrobe designers were using.

That first day, it was just the cast getting to know each other and doing a reading of the script. They all sat in a circle and even though there was no singing and dancing, they were animated and were starting to become their character. Honestly, I would pay just to watch that.

‘It has been a privilege to learn about how much work it takes to bring a production together.’

Maykel Valladares

Every week I would check back in with the cast seeing how the show was progressing. Going to rehearsals was the highlight of my week. For me, watching them learn the songs and dances helped me grow my appreciation for theatre. I would get lost in their voices and was mesmerised by the energetic choreography.

I had never really thought about the hours of work that go behind a big production like this. You just go in, take a seat, and almost just assume that they have always know what they are doing. That’s not the case. They forget lines, they miss steps, they have to repeat everything. What impresses me is the dedication and discipline to practice for hours on end to perfect their craft.

Hats off: A Chorus Line at Curve, Leicester. Image by Marc Brenner.
Mirror man: Adam Cooper as Zach. Image by Marc Brenner
In the air tonight: the mighty Carly Mercedes Dyer as Cassie. Image by Marc Brenner

During most rehearsals, director Nikolai Foster would stress the importance of understanding the story of A Chorus Line. It’s a story of these actors from all different backgrounds just trying to pursue their passion. The audience won’t be able to relate if the actors themselves can’t relate to the story.

“This is a story about your childhood being over and moving towards the future,” said Nikolai, “Embrace it with your energy and connect the story to you.”

The relatability of A Chorus Line is what makes it one of my favourite musicals. I love Nikolai’s reason for bringing this show to Curve.

“We are being made stronger by the trauma and the anxiety by the sheer terror of what we’ve all been through,” said Nikolai.

Going to the theatre is what gives me an escape from the uncertainty of life. Even if it’s just temporary, seeing the characters of this show singing about the struggles of growing up makes me feel like I’m not alone. I think everyone will be able to relate to some aspect of this show.

It has been a privilege to learn about how much work it takes to bring a production together. It feels like just yesterday it was the first rehearsal and it was just a simple reading. Now, it’s the highlight of the holiday season for all those who watch it. 

A Chorus Line runs at Curve, Leicester, until Friday, December 31. Read Maykel’s blog for Curve here. And book tickets for the show here: https://www.curveonline.co.uk/whats-on/shows/a-chorus-line/