K. Day Gomez is the San Antonio-based Editor in Chief, CEO, and Creative Director of the global magazine, PEPPER. She has worn many creative hats such as being a model, a photographer, a fashion designer, an actor, a visual artist, a writer, and now a publisher.
We connected with her to discuss her diverse background in visual arts and media and her journey to her current role with PEPPER.
MiSA : Please tell us about your background in art, design, fashion, modeling, and publishing.
KDG : For me, art is like breathing. I’ve been an artist since childhood and began working for myself freelancing straight after graduation in 2000. I’d take on odd jobs and projects from murals to tattoo design to logo design to portraiture for private clients—anything that came my way to support myself by utilizing my talents.
Design, specifically wearable design, came later (around 2004) when I began reworking clothing, designing jewelry and sewing costumes for different shoots I was involved in. I’ve come a long way since those humble beginnings, leaning more toward avant garde and couture clothing and accessories. Since I design very sporadically and typically for specific themed shoots, I hadn’t felt comfortable fully calling myself a designer in the past. I think I’m finally over that imposter syndrome. Though my schedule is demanding, I definitely design wearable art and lean heavily on sustainable elements in my designs.
I formerly held a modeling career for over 18 years that eventually led to a bit of acting. During that time I was published many, many times in the US and international magazines in various countries, though strangely, my work was barely acknowledged by San Antonio, where I lived the majority of my career. I never quite understood the unspoken rules or hierarchy within the local creative and publishing community. Now, at 41, I’ve been asked to model again a few times, so I’m slowly getting comfortable with the idea of taking on opportunities for my age group, or art photography in general again.
When it comes to journalism and publishing, I’ve been a photojournalist, art illustrator and content writer for various publications and blogs for over two decades. I’ve also been a creative consultant and visual / art director for commercial and entrepreneurial clients and musicians / recording artists. Over the course of these years, I had cultivated all of the skills I would need to create my own publication from the ground up, so it didn’t make sense to keep struggling as a freelancer any longer.
MiSA: When did you launch PEPPER Magazine, who is your target audience and what is the typical subject matter?
KDG: PEPPER was formulated and announced in March of 2022, and by June we published our first issue. It was glorious holding the print magazine in my hand and really seeing and feeling what I’d worked so hard on, knowing I’d ACTUALLY manifested an idea into reality.
Because we’re inclusive, our target audience is everyone. Literally. Inclusivity is not a “buzzword” for us. This is because it’s a magazine about everything. Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David were told, “it will never work” when they began the groundwork for Seinfeld, “a show about everything” (and we all know how that went!). In much the same way, I was given similar pushback that my model for PEPPER was “too broad” and it was suggested I needed to “narrow my scope”. Two consecutive Magazine of the Year Awards later, I’m finally over the nay-saying, and it seems most everyone really enjoys what we’re putting out.
To be more granular, our topics are the arts, business, fashion, culture, lifestyle & habitat, culinary, culture, travel, medical, psychology, children’s interests, literature, nonprofits & community efforts, responsible activism, and a little bit of history & pop culture. We have a humanitarian baseline and the majority of work I put into creating and running the magazine is still volunteer hours. We also practice what I have coined as “compassionate journalism”. It’s my attempt at a movement to promote positive change within the journalism industry and the way that people absorb and interact with media.
MiSA: You are a global magazine based in San Antonio which does cover some S.A. stories. What are the demographics of your average San Antonio reader versus your global readership?
KDG: This is a harder question for me to answer since I tend to keep my head down and focus on creating and curating. But based on the feedback I’ve received personally, we seem to have a thick following within the art and fashion community. The age and cultural demographics are extremely diverse within those communities. We seem to be increasingly popular with college students as well.
As for our broader US and global readers, the readership is much the same, but with many more authors, culinary professionals, business professionals and folks within the psych / mental health professions.
MiSA: What kind of impact do you hope PEPPER Magazine will have in San Antonio?
KDG: This loops back to changing the face of journalism, on whole. We aim to promote acceptance, inclusion, body positivity, forward-thinking and innovation, holding a safe space for serious conversations and highlighting marginalized communities, nonprofits and community efforts. These concepts have been well underway in the broader national and global sense for many years. Unfortunately, Texas seems late to acclimating to most any new frames of thought and movements. It’s my earnest hope that PEPPER is one vehicle that we can use to help change that.
San Antonio has a lot to offer—so much amazing art, music, culinary excellence and even innovation is coming from here. Simultaneously, we’re swimming against a strong current of outdated competition mindset, clique-based socio-professional regimes which further promote segregation, and overbearing religious and political stigmatization toward any sort of change. It’s a beautiful magical place with its own darker underbelly that most people don’t want to look at. But until we do that in-the-mirror soul searching, we’re going to continue to be left behind by the progressive world around us.
PEPPER is its namesake—we’re the spice. Yes, we’re kindness and purpose exemplified, but we’re also here to shake things up, make people think, uplift the “little guy” while challenging the idolization of “celebrity”. I’m hoping all the effort results in creating solid, measurable change.
MiSA: How can we find your magazine and support you?
Our main online directory is at https://msha.ke/peppermagazine . From there, you can access our official website and find the links to all of our print and digital issues from 1 forward. Because we are volume edition format, all of our issues remain accessible indefinitely.