Based in Valley Village, California, Brandt started her retro `zine about seven years ago with the goal of ‘teaching girls that they should look to the past to find inspiration for the future.’ Pesky Meddling Girls offers explanations about why `80s TV shows like Square Pegs were cool, as well as tips on how to dress like Jerry Hall, and quotes from great brat-pack flicks like Pretty in Pink and The Breakfast Club.
To get the ball rolling, Brandt sent copies of the `zine to designer Steve Madden, who commissioned Jennifur and her sister to design a footwear ad for the January 1998 issue of Seventeen magazine. An article in the premiere issue of Teen People (February 1998) clinched the success of Brandt’s campaign for exposure.
Now garnering a loyal subscriber base of 10,000 girls across the U.S. (copies are distributed by mail only), Pesky Meddling Girls has built a solid reputation among denizens of the underground print realm-the goal of any self-respecting `zine. Ironically, it’s that very anti-establishment status that has caught the attention of at least one media conglom scoping for the next ‘cool’ teen thing.
Brandt recently finished a book called Life is a Movie Starring You. . . The Pesky Meddling Girls Guide to Living Your Dreams, which Warner Books will launch in the U.S. in fall 2000.
Based on the `zine, Brandt’s new print offering emphasizes her philosophy that girls can be whomever they want to be, and all at the same time if they choose. Life is a Movie will be set up much like the `zine, with collage art and stream-of-consciousness advice on style, music and films, but the book will include blank pages in which girl readers can also write about all things ‘pesky’ (read: cool).
On the TV side, the Brandts are in development with Warner Bros. on a live-action series based on the `zine. Jennifur says most girls can’t really relate to anything that’s currently on the tube, but she hopes the girl-positive Pesky show will fill that void.
The entire Brandt family contributes to the `zine project, with sister Lizzie doing the cover art and father Larry taking care of the business end. He recently signed a deal with Northbrook, Illinois-based The Wormser Company for sleepwear, also to appear on U.S. shelves in fall 2000. According to Jennifur, the sleepwear will be inspired by what inspires her-the past. It will include loungewear from old black and white movies, along with `60s psychedelia mixed with feathers and sparkly doo-dads.
The quirky 20-something also recently finished compiling a CD called Pesky Meddling Girls Presents…Music To Get Dolled Up To with music label Kid Rhino. Featuring the same haphazard mesh of trend and era music Brandt touts in her `zine, the CD will debut along with the book and sleepwear in fall 2000.
A digital version of the `zine is set to debut on the Net by next summer, and Larry hopes to ink deals for Pesky cosmetics and accessories in the near future. But despite all the rapid growth, Jennifur says she intends to continue cranking out the photocopied, hand-stapled issues of Pesky Meddling Girls as long as she can.