Arts Desk

New Local Magazine The Intentional Disagrees That Twentysomethings are Doomed

There's much to be said about the life of a twentysomething these days. Just ask Girls creator Lena Dunham or author Sheila Heti. Or, evidently, Kate Jenkins, the 26-year-old Columbia Heights resident behind D.C.'s new quarterly magazine, The Intentional.

After returning to the U.S. from Spain, where she earned her Master's degree in microfinance, Jenkins found herself living in the city and unemployed. With microfinance experts not exactly in high demand, she started waiting tables—and pondering her generation's role in the world. In April 2012, Jenkins came up with the idea for a magazine, and jumped right into the project. "I felt like no one would give me the chance to do what I wanted to do and to demonstrate what I was capable of, so I just kind of made it happen," Jenkins says.

The magazine is meant to function as "a platform where we can talk about the twentysomething experience and the frustrations that go along with it," as well as the opportunities, says Jenkins. The magazine responds in part to media reports that made young college graduates seem like lost causesThe Intentional aims to show that millennials are capable of more than tweeting and Instagramming—and that they, too, believe in print media.

Working with two other editors, an art director, and a designer, Jenkins has created a product that's influenced by GOOD magazine, but she says The Intentional is a little grittier and slightly less "wide-eyed." Inside, you'll find personal essays about the link between food and memory, ruminations on snobbery, and lots of art, including a photo essay of works by Baltimore-based street artist Gaia. There's even a smidgen of Washington policy talk inside essays about international development and technology. For a new venture, the magazine has already developed a small following, earned partly through its months-long online buildup and a pair of recent events, including last week's launch party at Mad Momos, with Philippa Hughes' art-party organization Pink Line Project.

Some sections stand out more than others (is another rumination on female friendship in Brooklyn really necessary?), but The Intentional contains a couple of thought-provoking pieces, notably Dave Walker's essay on a small-town general store in the hills of North Carolina. As for future plans, Jenkins is already hard at work on issue No. 2, which will debut sometime this summer.

Curious readers can subscribe or buy individual issues online at

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  • Thirtysomething

    Navel gazing and self absorption. For a second there I thought you were talking about baby boomers.

  • kob

    I think it's inspiring that someone created their magazine, and in a sense, created their own job. Something particularly important today, especially since corporate America has stopped hiring.

    And I guess there is something to be said focusing on a niche audience, twentysomething.

    I'm in my 50s, and the idea of reading a publication that's specific to my generation has no appeal. They can be just as self-absorbed and indulgent as anything: "Now that you're done oppressing twentysomethings with high taxes and offshoring jobs, it's time to think about living your golden years on the tropical island you always dreamed of owning."

    But there is much room for a publication that can create a place for new voices, talented writers and ideas and if that's the focus of this publication, then I think it will do quite well.

    Unlike my pre-Web, pre-blogging generation, this generation has many outlets for getting their voices heard, but still much is lost in the swamp.

    There is dearth of intelligent editors and publications willing to work with writers. Too many of the twentysomethings efforts today are focused on the material, the cheap, the social and the crap. A publication that is focused on a good writing ... what is wrong with that?

  • Rad22

    I'm sure the editors and contributors are trying to do a good thing for humanity, but, sorry to be critical, its "blah" for me. And an opening party at a "hip" new Columbia Heights bar and the Philippa Hughes/Pinkline Project hype machine? Sounds so novel :)

  • JDT

    I so welcome The Intentional and Kate Jenkins' editorial vision. Millennials get a bad rap in my opinion. I've come across so many creative, driven, smart people in their twenties (and thirties, frankly) who want to contribute, but find it difficult because traditional paths are no longer economically viable. Exploring these issues via a literary magazine is not only cathartic, it's necessary. With the exception of kob, I'm disappointed by the comments here. It's so easy to leave a comment that's insulting and vague. It's so...surfacy and cheap and easy. Have you even read the first issue?