Why is it that the ones who don’t give a shit are the ones we want to be like the most? Magda goes with the flow with no apologies, in a drape-y dress from Shareen’s Vintage and a cozy sweater (which she got from a “skater dude” in Long Beach). Wearing a black leather jacket that she traded a gray t-shirt for, she radiates All-American cool, even though she didn’t learn a word of English until the third grade. Magda picked up bits and pieces from Aladdin and Saturday morning cartoons– so that she could tell the girls who called her “bitch” in first grade, before she even understood the word: “Fuck you, you’re the bitch!” Everything in her closet is the embodiment of the real Los Angeles, of Echo Park, where she lives and works– Daisy Dukes and cowboy boots in the Summertime, jeans for rolling around in the mud while shooting photos. Of the easy, breezy lifestyle of Los Angeles, Magda says, “you can drive an hour South and you’re in the desert, an hour West you’re at the beach, an hour East you’re snowboarding in the mountains, and an hour North you’re riding a roller coaster at Six Flags.”
“I don’t like to pre-think shit too much– just go with it.” As a photographer, Magda understands the importance of “the moment.” This extends to the rawness of her captivating photography. Having fewer expectations is her most current head space for success and Magda lives her life like she’s taking a photograph. She bought her enchanting house on the spot with her savings for the car of her dreams, a ’68 Chevelle. Today it is her own slice of Americana, a place where she can relax in her red, white, and blue jeans and army jacket and work– and, once she gets her chickens to go with the garden she’s working on (despite some fits and starts– “I’ve got a black thumb,” she says, not discouraged), she’s “never fucking leaving.” She loves waking up to the breeze through the windows, putting on Led Zeppelin, lighting some incense and throwing on a fringe shawl with leopard-print hip-huggers, “How are you ever gonna be a bitch or in a bad mood?” she says. Not to mention the company of her two dogs, Bob and Captain Pickles, both of whom were found while hiking and having lunch respectively. Mr. Pickles chose his own name from several Magda tried out for him.
Magda splits her time between photography and music. “I do not sing. I play guitar. I sit in the corner and headbang a lot,” she says of her music, which is equal parts Black Sabbath and Judas Priest. There are no high heels in her collection of worn-in leather boots and shoes (“Carrying eighty pound amps in heels? Back problems for life!”) and there’s no turning off her instincts as a photographer. When she and her band are being photographed, she’s still looking for control, setting up the shots. A total tomboy who picked up a love for skateboards and dirt bikes in Arizona, Magda was supposed to be a boy named Adam. Neither she nor her parents have any regrets– when she was just learning to skate, she took her Dad to the park to show her what she could do. All he could ask, stunned, was: “How do you just get back up after you fall down all the time?” The answer is obvious to me: Magda says her parents are the coolest people in the world, just like her.