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Girl Talk: What the F-Word Means to Concept Collaborator Samantha Hahn

Every STORY is a collaboration, and bringing F-Word STORY to life was no exception. Samantha Hahn is an internationally-exhibited illustrator, who in addition to publishing books of her vibrant work like A Mother is a Story: A Celebration of Motherhood and Well-Read Women: Portraits of Fiction’s Most Beloved Heroines, has worked with clients like Marc Jacobs, Oprah, Neiman Marcus, and many others. She contributed her unique talents to the realization of F-Word STORY, and we dished with her about her process.

First off, what piqued your interest about this collaboration, and how did you approach it creatively?

I was so thrilled to jump into this story creatively. I’m passionate about my work and wanted the lettering to convey the energy I feel about feminism. I kept the lettering loose using a brush and didn’t reference any particular fonts. Since I am lettering what the F’s “stand for,” I wanted the words to feel/look powerful. I kept them uppercase so their letter weight conveyed their importance.


Feminism is the defining “F-Word” of this concept. What does it mean to you?

I think the fundamental definition of Feminism has stayed the same over time, but lately the perception of it has shifted in the direction of less judgment. Modern Feminists want equal rights for women, and they respect women to decide what we think is best for ourselves, rather than having one notion of what an equal rights situation should look like– or what we ourselves should look or act like.

Can you give an example of a Feminist cause or organization that embodies that definition of Feminism?

I’m utterly amazed by Every Mother Counts. EMC works to make pregnancy and childbirth safe for every mother by raising funds that support maternal health programs around the world and also by raising awareness and engagement.  I realize how lucky I was to have had the care I needed during pregnancy and childbirth. With both of my children, I set out to have a natural labor and delivery in a hospital, and there were complications. I can’t help but wonder what could have happened in either case if I didn’t have top-notch personnel and equipment available to me. I feel very lucky and am in awe of what EMC does to ensure that women around the world can have that too.

What’s another “F-Word” that you personally stand for?

Family. My family is my raison d’être!

Let’s end on a note of advice from a woman in your life.

You know, I don’t think there’s one poignant quote I can cull from my life, but I would call out the examples I have seen lived out before my eyes. The women in my family are amazing mothers and also so passionate about their careers. I saw them balance both with aplomb, even when their path was not easy. I have a strong hope and suspicion that my daughter will have a different and better experience, but I would say I feel lucky to have seen the women in my family and my friends work to “have it all.”