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Issue Date: January 2008

Leslie Simon


Age • 28

Why she’s interesting • She’s the voice of the young and alienated who obsess over “Donnie Darko,” sing along to Dashboard Confessional and are addicted to MySpace. And she co-wrote a book explaining the phenomenon to the rest of us — “Everybody Hurts: An Essential Guide to Emo Culture.”

Her day job • Simon serves as managing editor for the Cleveland-based national music mag Alternative Press.

What is emo? • The book’s opening paragraph describes emo as “a tuneful strain of punk rock with a lyrical emphasis on matters of the heart ... but more than anything it’s a state of mind.” The subculture is spreading to the mainstream, creating a dilemma for iconoclastic emo fans, Simon says.

Emo essentials • 1. A pair of Chuck Taylor high-tops with black laces, 2. A copy of Fall Out Boy’s “From Under the Cork Tree,” 3. Straightening iron for hair

Best book ever • Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” is one of the few books Simon has read more than once. “To get through Austen once can be a triumph in itself, but I love that book,” she says about her “totally emo” choice. “I think it’s the most perfect love story ever written, especially for girls with sass who step outside of traditional roles and want to be more.”

Her sweet side • Simon’s goal is to visit a “cupcakery” in every state. She loves Sprinkles in Los Angeles and Sugar Sweet Sunshine Bakery in New York City. If she weren’t writing, she’d open a cupcake shop. “I would be the amazing non-weight-gaining baker who could taste all of her delicacies and not gain an ounce,” she says. “That would be my ideal life.”

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