Influentials 2021

This semester was full of learning experiences, to say the least. 

We pulled this special issue together despite the odds: ongoing staffing changes, a dearth of writers and an extremely constrained timeline were just a few of the challenges we faced. In previous years, Under the Arch editors combed through hundreds of student nominations over the course of a semester — this year, we scrambled to compile this list in only a fraction of that time. Between Fringe — our previous special issue — and this one, there was a turnover of only two and a half weeks. Yet the polished final product would never suggest that this was the case.  

Our theme this year deals with bold topics: sex positivity, sexuality and liberation. We wanted to talk about subjects that are sometimes considered transgressive by highlighting people who initiate these conversations. Through this, we hope to promote confidence, empowerment and self-love.

To our incredible subjects, Alyssa LaFosse, Aneesa Julmice, Ian Partman, Tara Jones, Tori Husain and Victoria Abraham — thank you for sharing your stories with us and entrusting us to tell them. Your confidence, candidness and vulnerability are the hallmarks of this project. In a similar vein, a huge thanks to our writers, Aleksandra Goldberg, Elle Liu, Jules Roscoe, Kevin Kurian, Lorraine Olaya and Rachel Mashambanhaka for taking on this project on such short notice and producing such amazing results.

Shoutout to our UTA elders Pamela Jew and Finley Muratova for helping us streamline this process. Your guidance has saved us from many sleepless nights and meltdowns. Well, more than usual, anyway. And of course, nothing would be possible without the rest of our incredible management team: Ashley Wu, Alexandra Chan, Alex Tey and Trace Miller, who have worked tirelessly all semester to make this newspaper a must-read.  

We also owe all our thanks to our creative directors Susan Behrends Valenzuela and Charitssa Stone for creating the beautiful layout for this issue. You two really brought our vision to life, and we are constantly stunned by your talent. 

Our UTA staff continues to impress us with their skills and dedication. All our love goes out to Brooke Nguyen, Ivy Zhu, Julian Hammond Santander, Kiersten Dugan and Mariam Khan. Special thanks to Brooke, Julian and our contributing photographers for pulling off an absolutely stunning photo shoot.

We hope that Influentials 2021 shows that UTA is still striving to tell big stories — even the taboo ones.

I want to congratulate Sydney on her first UTA-led special issue as a Managing Editor! You’ve taken up the mantle fabulously this semester, and I’m so excited to continue working with you.
Caitlin Hsu
Under The Arch Managing Editor

I can’t thank Caitlin enough for her constant support and extraordinary leadership. She has fulfilled every aspect of what a mentor is supposed to be and more. Working with her has been one of my greatest experiences at UTA. Congratulations on yet another excellent special issue.
Sydney Barragan
Under The Arch Managing Editor

Victoria Husain teaches us what it means to be accepting of happiness and sexual energy.

By Jules Roscoe, Contributing Writer

Tisch sophomore challenges sexualization and overconsumption with digital art.
By Elle Liu, Contributing Writer

College of Arts and Sciences senior educates by simply existing online as a fat person.
By Lorraine Olaya, Copy Chief

College of Arts & Science senior is calling for comprehensive sex education centering around black and queer voices.
By Rachel Mashambanhaka, Contributing Writer

Gallatin sophomore is changing the world, one movement at a time
By Kevin Kurian, Opinion Editor

NYU’s Sexpert is here to talk about anything. Seriously, anything.
By Aleksandra Goldberg, Contributing Writer