An interview with Yasmine Hassen of The Humming Magazine 

To some, university comes as the next big step in life: a chance to finally pursue your dreams and find your passion. When it came to the arts, Yasmine Hassen personified exactly that. When I first met her in August of 2015, she was brimming with ideas and goals she wanted to put into play during her time at Vic and UofT. Now, entering her third year in Sociocultural Anthropology, Cinema Studies, and Diaspora Studies, Yasmine is also Communications Director of The Humming Magazine, an online publication she took part in starting up last year. The Strand reached out to Yasmine for advice on how other freshmen can pursue various forms of art and involvement in culture.

The Strand: How did The Humming come about?

Yasmine Hassen: At Vic, I met all of my friends and creative “peeps,” That’s where I met Jenny, Carleigh, and Mathea [Jenny’s roommate]. Around November, Jenny and Mathea approached me about this creative project. We’ve always talked about starting something, from being DJs to starting a band, but we never made any tangible goals. So when we came up with the idea to do an arts and culture publication, they appreciated that we all had the same passion and mind-frame. As artists, we found it hard to find publications that were more open and chill, we didn’t want to be snooty—we wanted to create rampant support, creativity, and a community that’s passionate and creative. We want to show off and connect people through a safe and supportive space to uplift artists. 

What does the name mean to you and why did your team choose it?

The name actually came about because Jenny wanted something that captured The Humming as something “moving, a vibrant thing, buzzing with passion and blushing with pure life.” I remember for us, The Humming was something that comes from within you, like a “hum.” It’s like the passion from within you too and it’s fleshy, like our peach logo! When you bite into a peach, it’s like that fleshy juiciness on the inside that’s like that same passion. We’re also mistaken as “The Hummingbird” a lot, too, which we find funny.

Have you faced any hurdles in trying to become more involved in the art realm? 

I always wanted to be in a creative realm. I’m actually starting a podcast with my friends too! I didn’t picture myself doing a magazine at first, but I definitely wanted to be a part of an arts and culture publication, so it worked out in the way that we formed The Humming.

Do you still face any obstacles?

Well, as a student—and I know I’m not the only one feeling this way—school can get in the way of you pursuing these things. I get invested in school, and when I’m not studying, I just want to chill. So it gets annoying when it’s super deep and I’m suddenly engulfed in the cycle of school, sleep, exams, etc. When I’m not studying though, I try to paint and take photos. I’m trying to incorporate being inspired in everyday life and not make it a chore.

Since becoming involved with The Humming have there been any particularly fulfilling moments for you? 

I think Jenny and Mathea had more faith in our success—not that I’m a negative person at all, but it was just hard to imagine people submitting actively to something we started with no large amount of power. Like, we weren’t already working at VICE or something like that. It’s profoundly humbling and fulfilling now, I think, that there have been so many people who reached out to us and support us from different universities. There’s even been someone from Spain! The power of social media has made me really feel the support and it’s beautiful. It’s lovely that people continue to support this, even from the launch party it felt surreal. Just people being genuine and real in their support.

What do you do to maintain creativity?

Surrounding yourself with other creative people helps a lot. Seeing your friends doing creative things and succeeding helps me so much. There’s so much potential. During high school, none of us were super creative, but in university we all spread our wings and inspire each other. There’s so much positivity.

How would you like to see The Humming and your other projects progress this upcoming year? 

Right now, I feel like I’ve hit a plateau. But for me, these past months have been hard to keep up with things I want to do. Just between a job and school, like I mentioned before. But once school starts, I hope everything we do continues to stay successful. Even if we fail, we’ve still learned so much, but I hope we grow. For me, I want The Humming to become a brand. Not for it to become super popular, but to grow with our community. Putting yourself out there—it’s scary. You’re putting a part of yourself out there and there’s such a high chance of not succeeding, especially in this creative realm where everyone’s doing something. But I hope everything I’m a part of continues to grow. That’s fulfilling.  

What advice can you give to incoming students about following their goals?  

It’s important when you set goals to make really tangible goals. Sometimes I’m like, “I want to do the entire world in two weeks!” but realistically, that can’t happen. I think telling people about your goals, even if it’s scary, or even journaling about it, it makes the goals more real because you’re held more accountable. Failing shouldn’t be such a big deal, cause failing will just help you develop more. Even with The Humming, all of our plans kept getting pushed back because we made so many goals that weren’t feasible. Once we decided to just put our submission video out in March, we knew that there couldn’t be any more excuses to hinder ourselves. Before we made anything public we kept thinking “let’s make it better,” and we kept pushing it back. That’s the thing though, you can always get better and evolve once it’s out. Also, as cheesy as it sounds, join creative organizations on campus. Like VCDS, VicXposure, etc. Even if you don’t stick to it, it exposes you to so many likeminded people and networks. With university, don’t scare yourself about goals or friends or being creative. We’re all in the same boat. Don’t let obstacles ever discourage you either—there’s not one linear path, it’s pretty wavy and that’s totally fine.