I’ve been told well over a hundred times that media outlets exist for the sole purpose of generating profit.
While there are countless examples out there to validate that statement, this isn’t always the case.
Meet Kristy Michelle, the founder and editor of the Buffalo-based media startup Qween City.
The driving focus of Qween City is “the work and accomplishments of women in Buffalo, New York”, as stated on their about page. Since last October, a team of contributors have been writing lady-centric profiles, reviews, advice columns and more!
Qween City operates on a nonprofit basis, and merely exists to tell the stories behind the badass women of Buffalo. Kristy paid out-of-pocket for all of the startup costs, and continues to cover Qween City’s expenses as a labor of love.
Kristy says that her life leading up to the creation of Qween City has been a “wacky ride.”
I’d say that’s an understatement.
After graduating from Buff State in 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, Kristy moved to Chicago to be with her significant other at the time. She ended up making her way into Chicago’s stand-up comedy scene, partying with comedians almost every night of the week. At the same time, Kristy was working a 9-to-5 job to keep herself afloat. She also kept her own stand-up comedy blog, and contributed to tons of other blogs and publications.
The abrupt lifestyle change was a major eye-opener for Kristy. She realized that her life didn’t have to be “some boring f*cking bullsh*t existence”, as she put it. Instead, she lived a life centered around art, laughter, and interesting people. She even befriended a few comedians that ended up making it big in the industry, including T. J. Miller, Kumail Nanjiani, and Hannibal Buress.
Eventually the life of “burning the candle at both ends” caught up to Kristy. She started to feel homesick, and felt the need to make her way back to Buffalo. But first, Kristy made a quick pit stop in Los Angeles for eight months. She spent some time hanging out with her comedian friends she met in Chicago. Kristy didn’t plan on staying in LA long, and never bothered to get a real job aside from freelance work.
After being out of town for 11 years, Kristy finally moved back to the 716. Her old ways kept up with her, and she began networking with the comedians of Buffalo. Kristy ended up coordinating the weekly stand-up open mic at Milkies, and became the managing editor for BuffaloComedy.com.
After living in the world of comedy for over a decade, Kristy wanted to branch off and start a new chapter of her life. This is where Qween City comes in.
Although Kristy has become less involved in Buffalo’s comedy scene, she never lost her passion for writing. Since moving back to Buffalo, Kristy says she’s met a ton of incredible women. With these two thoughts in the back of her mind, Kristy came up with the idea of starting a blog centered around the women of Buffalo.
Kristy asked around, and was surprised to find out that this project didn’t already exist. Using her previous experience, and with the help of a dedicated committee, Kristy brought Qween City into the world.
Although they soft-launched back in October of 2016, Qween City’s official launch party was on March 4th at the 125 Art Collective Tattoo Studio.
Qween City is a great example of “righteous journalism”. The contributors are simply telling the unheard stories that deserve to be told, without bringing profit into the question. I’m hoping this style of journalism sees a rise in popularity in the years to come.
The QC Committee (left to right):
Ashera, Kaitlin Russo, Tia Brown, Kristy Michelle, Shannon Dawn, Mikayla.
All photos courtesy of Kristy Michelle. Photo collage created by yours truly.