For the past few months, we’ve celebrated writers for sharing their stories with Affinity’s global audience. However, Affinity is about much more than just writing — it’s about speaking up, indulging in passions and sparking change. Our staff members make a variety of contributions, whether it’s interviewing artists, penning op-eds, interacting with readers on social media, designing graphics, and more. Therefore, starting today, we’ll be honoring Members of the Month for all the diverse talents they bring to Affinity.
Our first-ever staff member of the month is Federico “Fede” Bongiorno, one of our head social media managers! As head social media manager, Fede has drastically expanded Affinity’s online presence on Twitter and Instagram, allowing our teen writers and content creators to get their voices heard. Above all, he’s an incredible leader, a friendly colleague, and an integral part of the Affinity team.
“Fede is always engaged in everything he does, from writing to social media to simply talking with fellow writers about what’s going on with us and with the world,” main site editor Maddie Loy explains. “I love how much he engages with our audience on Twitter, especially when it comes to live-tweeting debates or awards events. Not only is he informative, but he cracks me up!”
We got the chance to speak with Fede and learn more about his life, inspirations, and future plans at Affinity and beyond.
Alice Ao: Tell us about your identity!
Fede Bongiorno: I’m a 19-year-old teen from Buenos Aires who has a huge passion for pop culture, politics and people! I’m still building my identity and I believe I’ll always keep doing so, but one thing that has never and will never change about me is the fact that I want to make this world a better and more inclusive place.
AA: One of the best parts of Affinity is its cultural diversity. You’re from Buenos Aires — that’s thousands of miles away from where Affinity is based! Tell us about your culture, your experiences, and the world you come from.
FB: I’ve had the luck to do some travel around the world, and I can say Buenos Aires is definitely more reminiscing of the big cities than the general public would assume. What I love the most about my country and South America, in general, is the warmth people are always spreading, which was definitely translated into huge support when I started writing here.
Unfortunately, I do believe there is a generalized sentiment of people in Argentina that it’s very difficult to be successful if you’re living here. We’re very underrepresented in media: there’s a lot of people talking about Latinos, but those who were born and still live here rarely get a chance to speak up. That’s exactly why I’ll always be thankful to this publication for giving me a voice.
AA: As a staff writer and one of the co-leads of our social media team, you’re certainly one of our great storytellers! What sparked your passion for storytelling?
FB: My sister taught me how to read when I was 4 years old, and I think since then I’ve always had a huge passion for learning. I thoroughly enjoy reading and researching about pretty much anything, and going into my teens I started to feel like I wanted the world to hear my voice as well. When I was 10 or so, I was always making Facebook fan pages about pop music and I was heavily invested in American media. Storytelling – or perhaps more accurately, communicating – has always been a part of me, and doing what I do now at Affinity just feels natural.
AA: What can our readers expect to see from our social media team in 2020 and beyond?
FB: Affinity is a publication for teens, by teens – and naturally, our audience is mostly on social media. Twitter and Instagram are crucial to our identity as a magazine, so we have a lot of plans for 2020 to develop our platform and give our readers content to learn more and feel identified with. That’s what our spirit has always been about.
AA: What’ve you learned from your time at Affinity?
FB: Last month marked exactly three years of me working at Affinity, and I can say it’s been an incredible experience so far. I have learned so much about myself and what I’m capable of, about the media and how it truly works, and about the whole world through my amazing colleagues and friends.
AA: What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever done with Affinity?
FB: That’s a great question! I think it has to be interviewing some of my favorite artists in the world. It’s crazy to think I had a chance to talk to them and find out more about the work that inspires me every day. Also, getting my article retweeted by Dua Lipa, of course.
AA: Outside of Affinity, what else are you involved with?
FB: I’m currently majoring in International Relations at Universidad del Centro de Estudios Macroeconómicos de Argentina (UCEMA) which is keeping me pretty busy during the year, but I’m also tutoring students at my former high school who are preparing for the city’s Model United Nations.
AA: What are some causes and issues that you are especially passionate about?
FB: I’m very passionate about politics in general, although that term is pretty broad. Being more specific, I’m always trying to spread awareness about the LGBTQ+ community and our day-to-day struggles, while not forgetting to have conversations about the issues within the community such as racism and misogyny that need to be fixed immediately.
I’m also a huge supporter of Latin American voices and telling the world about the situations going on inside our regions, which worldwide media usually skips over.
AA: What are your future plans and aspirations?
FB: I can see myself doing a lot of things in the future, I’m not someone who can just do one job for the rest of my life. As I said before, I’m currently majoring in International Relations and I would love to do work in something related to my career — but after my time at Affinity, I’ve realized how much I love working on the media, and I know it’s something I wanna keep doing when I’m older. So, hopefully, a mix of those two! Ultimately, I wanna do something that makes 10-year-old me, 19-year-old me and 50-year-old me proud.
AA: Do you have any advice for young people who want to get involved with media and communications?
FB: The opportunities in this field are endless. If you feel like you have something to say and you want the world to hear it, make it happen. When I applied to Affinity, I didn’t expect them to choose a 16-year-old kid from Buenos Aires as one of their writers because I’d always believed that very few people from my age and my country had those possibilities, but it happened and I can proudly say it changed my life. Don’t let anyone tell you who you can be, and I promise you’ll make it far.
Want to work for Affinity like Fede? Keep an eye out for applications, which are coming out soon!
All images courtesy of Federico Bongiorno