An insight into the eye behind MUSE

Editor-in-Chief Abi Conners shares her most special moments while working for MUSE Magazine

Abigail Conners has been with MUSE since her first year at Queen’s.
Abigail Conners has been with Muse since her first year at Queen’s.
Supplied by Abigail Conners

When I first met Abigail Conners, she greeted me with a wide smile — and I understood why so many students feel comfortable sharing their personal stories in her magazine.

Conners, ArtSci ’16, has been with MUSE, a vibrant lifestyle publication, since her first year at Queen’s. She began as a first-year representative for the magazine. 

“A friend suggested the magazine to me. I emailed them right away, got an interview, and got the job,” she said.

Everything associated with MUSE — including articles, models, videos, and editorials in print and online — are done by creative students here at Queen’s. The magazine is published online twice a year, while a limited number of copies are published in print. 

Ever since she joined, the magazine has grown over the years. In her second year, Conners began investing more and more time into what was then a small-scale passion project.

“I was hired as the online editor and I grew the readership by about four times,” she said. “I worked really hard at it, so my position became online director, just because I was so involved.”

When I sat down with Conners, she offered to grab me a coffee. As soon as we began to talk, I noticed the approachable personality that makes students come forward to share their stories with MUSE.

“It’s been constantly inspiring to be with the rest of the team at MUSE,” she said. “They really push me to be more creative and put my heart and soul into the projects we work on.” 

It’s no secret that MUSE was a seminal part of Conners’ university experience, who will graduate this year. The fourth-year student said she can’t imagine her years at Queen’s without it.

“By the time I graduate, I will have helped make eight issues,” she said, laughing. “That’s so many! I always joke that my major is in MUSE.” 

She’s come to a few realizations through MUSE, she added. In her second year at the magazine, Conners wrote an article about an accident she experienced as a teenager. She had been self-conscious about the experience, so writing the article allowed for a much-needed catharsis. 

“It was about an accident that I was in when I was 14 and it left a very severe scar on my leg,” she said. “By telling my story about something that was so personal, an experience that was so unique to me and terrified me to talk about, putting it on MUSE was completely therapeutic.”

The article, titled “Stripped”, was published in MUSE's eighth issue. 

“I always felt like I had a secret; like I had something that I needed to hide from the world,” she wrote. “My personal demons were exposed on my own body, for everyone to see and know and judge.”

Conners said she still marvels that she was afraid to talk about the experience and yet had the piece published in 500 copies of MUSE. It was when she realized the power of the publication.

“After that, I felt like I could do anything,” she said. “If I could do the one thing that scared me the most, I could do anything.”

Since then, she said, contributors have felt increasingly comfortable telling more personal stories to MUSE — which is exactly what she hoped to achieve. 

Queen’s has several publications, so I asked Conners what set Muse apart. 

“I always tell our editors to not think of us as fitting under any tight category,” she said. “We’re a voice for the student body, that’s it. And the student body is wide and large and diverse. Our job is to reflect that.”

Conners credited MUSE’s growth in the past few years to students who have contribute and submitted their stories in the hopes of having their voices heard. 

“It’s so rewarding to see people submit to the magazine and see their work accepted and realize that it was because of something we did,” she said. 

“It’s always amazing to think, ‘I made that happen’.” 

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