My Style: Darling Magazine's Sarah Dubbeldam

Photographed by Miha Matei.
Great style, a dream job, and the cutest house ever? Meet Sarah Dubbeldam, a former L.A. model who managed to turn a fantasy magazine she dreamed up with a friend over coffee into a booming business. Started as an online mag to help mentor women through the wild twists and turns of young adulthood, Darling's now two weeks away from printing its ninth issue — and Dubbeldam notes they're already a good chunk of the way through production on the 10th.
So, how did this Oregon-born, L.A.-based blonde babe accomplish what seems close to impossible for most of us? That's exactly what we wanted to find out. Ahead, tour her super-chic home and find out everything about her, from how she made her dream job come true and where she finds amazing second-hand steals to how she's empowering women worldwide. You won’t wanna miss this one, folks.
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Photographed by Miha Matei.
How did Darling magazine first get started?
"So, basically, outside of college, my friend and I were both really artistic, but we didn’t really know what we wanted to do with it. I had majored in art in college and was having this moment where I was like, ‘What does one do with an art major?’ [Laughs] We started a discussion about how we didn’t feel like there was a women’s magazine that we wanted to read or that was relatable to us or that we found ourselves in or found our struggles in.

"We started meeting over coffee and brainstorming about what we would want a women’s magazine to look like that we would want to read. We had both been through recent breakups and depression and anxiety and all of these heavy issues that we wanted authority on. Essentially, we wanted a mentor. And, we couldn’t find anyone that was older or wiser than us to help us through what we were going through."

Parker blouse; Oak and Fort pants; Mossimo clutch; Dolce Vita sandals.
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Photographed by Miha Matei.
Did it just take off from there?
"Not really. We started small and started developing the different sections. We came up with the name and the mission statement and wrote that together. So, it was just like a really fun year of laying the foundation together. After that, we started gathering more girls together and meeting in my living room. There were like 10 or 12 of us brainstorming together at that time. And, that’s when we came up with the personas of the magazine."
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3 of 19
Photographed by Miha Matei.
Explain what you mean by the magazine's personas?
"As a woman today, it’s not the 1950s anymore. You’re not just a housewife. You’re a housewife, you’re also a career woman, a mom, a wife, a world traveler — it’s very different now. So, that’s what the personas of the magazine are about — it’s about all the hats that we wear as women today."
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Photographed by Miha Matei.
Hello, perfect, little turquoise typewriter.
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Photographed by Miha Matei.
We don't know what to be more jealous of: the color-coded bookcase or the epic wallpaper.
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Photographed by Miha Matei.
Darling started as an online magazine, right?
"Yeah. After we had the foundation set, we then sent out an email to everyone we knew that basically said, ‘Here’s our idea. We’d love to have contributors contribute to our online magazine that we’d eventually like to turn into a print magazine.' We got over 70 inquiries in the first week of people just wanting to write. We ran the website for nine months — posting about one story a day."

Staring at Stars hat; Topshop shirt; Cory skirt; Topshop socks; Miz Mooz oxfords; Kate Spade ring.
7 of 19
Photographed by Miha Matei.
Was there a turning point for you where the magazine really took off?
"Yes, when we started a Kickstarter campaign. We had enough of an online following at that point to fund the Kickstarter, and we ended up getting featured on Kickstarter’s homepage. I’m not sure how that came about! [Laughs.] We met our goal within the first week or two of that being up. And, that's when we launched the print magazine. And, then, by our third issue we got picked up by Anthropologie, and that just really put us at a whole different level. That’s when it turned into a real business."
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Photographed by Miha Matei.
So, that takes us to now. Where is Darling today?
"We’re about to print issue nine in two weeks, and we’re working on issue 10. We’ve expanded into over 70 boutiques in the U.S. We’re in Whole Foods and Nordstrom’s home stores and all of the Anthropologie locations in the U.S. and in Canada. So, we’re just expanding and trying to build it out into a multifaceted brand."
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Photographed by Miha Matei.
Thank you for inspiring us to clean all unnecessary junk off our nightstand.
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Photographed by Miha Matei.
Don't underestimate the power of half a dozen fresh, white hydrangeas.
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Photographed by Miha Matei.
Is there anyone in your dream of dreams that you'd die to feature in Darling?
“Um, yes. Lupita Nyong'o. We want her so bad. We also really admire older, classy women — we’ve been after Diane Keaton a bit, too.”

Gap t-shirt; Robert Rodriguez jeans; Elizabeth and James shoes; Giving Keys necklace.
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Photographed by Miha Matei.
Where do you go when in need of inspiration?
“My favorite place to go is Huntington Gardens in Pasadena. I love going there, and I love the Getty Museum, too. For me, I need a combination of art and nature to be inspired, just because my job is so visual. I’m the editor-in-chief, but I’m also the creative director, so all of the visuals in the magazine are kind of from my head or things that I’ve seen. Being from Oregon, I often feel like I just need to connect with nature.”
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13 of 19
Photographed by Miha Matei.
We plan on making our own little key necklace immediately.
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Photographed by Miha Matei.
What are your go-to shopping spots?
"My favorite stores…let’s see. I love Zara — I’d say it’s my number one and the most realistic store for me. And, then I love rag & bone. My other favorite is Wasteland, actually."

Do you like Wasteland’s vintage section or new section?
"The new section! I love being able to get designer stuff for reasonable prices and have it still be in really good shape. I think that’s a really good hand-me-down system. Sometimes, I do H&M."
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Photographed by Miha Matei.
Where do you shop for vintage?
"Sometimes I’ll go to Goodwill if I’m with someone who really knows fabrics. And, I still love going to Shareen Vintage because it’s great for dresses and it's right down the street from our office."
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Photographed by Miha Matei.
If someone's looking to contribute to Darling, what do you look for in a writing sample?
“I feel like people write best when they write from their place of passion, whether it’s something they've been through or have expertise in.”
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Photographed by Miha Matei.
Loving the quaint British-countryside vibes happening with this cabinet.
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Photographed by Miha Matei.
You were a model before creating Darling, right?
"While I was developing Darling, I was with Wilhelmina L.A. for five years. I did mostly professional commercial modeling. I did that on the side — it was really flexible, so I was able to do that while building my dream job on the side."

Is it strange being on the other side of the camera when you’re on shoots now?
"It’s been great. I understand models, and I know what it’s like to be on set as a model. So, just being able to know how to work with them and accommodate them, and, at the same time, being able to encourage them and make them feel beautiful is really important to me."
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Photographed by Miha Matei.
How did your years modeling impact or inspire the work you do now?
"While I don’t want to bash the modeling industry at all, I feel like that experience was a little bit of fuel for my fire. I realized how narrow it was and all of the Photoshopping that would go on. I feel like that really was an education for me in a lot of ways. I saw what that world is actually like and how I would want to do it differently. So, now, I cast models of all different sizes and all different ethnicities.

"In the fall issue coming up in a couple weeks, we’re actually having a whole spread that says, ‘None of the women have been Photoshopped in this magazine.’ We’ll adjust the colors of a photo or lighten it if it’s too dark, but as far as touching the woman, like her body or her skin, we don’t touch her. For us, we want to make the statement that women are beautiful just as they are and they don’t need adjustment."
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