When 20-year-old Kirkland Back cold-emailed our Editor in Chief back in April, expressing avid interest in his “poetic and wonderfully relevant” magazine, we knew there was something special about this one. You would never guess that her internship in W‘s features department is her first; the double major in English and Art History at the University of Alabama is a picture of wit, poise, and –of course, Southern charm.
Don’t you look nice I’m wearing an Anthropologie blouse tucked into the J.Crew #2 pencil skirt. My necklace is Banana Republic. When I first got to New York, I was so shocked that everyone wore black and minimal makeup. In the South, we think, “The higher the hair, the closer to God.” (Just kidding!) I like to wear a lot of color and bright makeup, so I guess I just have to embrace sticking out.
From there to here I grew up in Gadsden, Alabama. When I was 13, we had a magazine drive at school, and I picked W as my first subscription. I was raised Southern Baptist, so my mom had to censor some of the more racy spreads – but I really fell in love with all the beautiful imagery. Then, two years ago, I saw Bernini’s Apollo e Dafne. The sculpture completely changed the way I feel about the power of art. It brought me to tears.
Another country At this time last year, I was enrolled in a study abroad in Oxford. I had a lit class where we would be punting down The Isis while reading Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky.” It was an incredible experience.
In a day’s work I transcribe, I make runs to Lynn [Hirschberg], help with research for Fan [Zhong]. I’ve also started putting together an ideas memo each week, where I compile a list of current things my friends and I are into, like the rapper Yellow Wolf or the macaroon craze.
Current inspirations Kate Middleton, galactic prints, Givenchy Resort 2013, J. Crew, glam denim. And PB&Js – I have one every single day…living on a budget!
All that drive and somewhere to go I really admire what Diane [Solway] gets to do. As the arts and culture editor, she gets to cultivate ideas. It’s a leadership position, but it’s also creative – that’s something I’d like to do. But as much as I love New York and want to spend my youth here, I really love the South, too. When you grow up in a place like Alabama, you get addicted to it.
Photo Credit: Jeanine Celeste Pang