For artist and editor MacKenzie Peck, community is one of the most important aspects of business. As the founder of Math Magazine, a sex-positive publication that describes itself as “radically inclusive porn,” Peck is a vocal advocate of the importance of community and the type of support and creativity it offers. A graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art, Peck began her career at the prestigious C. Grimaldis Gallery in Baltimore before starting Math Magazine in 2015. We sat down with Peck to find out about Math’s mission and how it’s helping to shape a more inclusive view of sexuality.
MacKenzie, what does community mean to you and how have you helped to shape the Math Mag community around that idea?
We try to take the risk out of connecting with others over your sexuality. We hope that through our brand we can help people overcome fear, stigma, and shame over exploring and expressing their sexuality. We like to encourage people and let them know that they are worthy of love, desire, great sex, and fantastic experiences! In our mission to support and empower everyone, no matter what they are into or where they are on their sexual journey, we build a lot of bridges between worlds. We do this through representing and celebrating the amazing range of bodies, desires, kinks, and fantasies out there.
How does Math Mag fit into the wider world of porn and sex-positive content?
The world of porn offers something for everyone to the point that it’s a joke called Rule 34. It goes something like, “If you can think it, there’s porn about it.” I believe there is plenty of inclusive, beautiful, and sex-positive porn for everyone, it can just be difficult to find. Even in this era of access to information and endless content, there are a lot of barriers to getting to amazing porn. From shame about our desires not fitting into common narratives to not having the vocabulary for what we want, there are too many things standing between us and the porn of our dreams.
I chose to make Brooklyn our headquarters because this place is on the international stage while also occupying a uniquely diverse and liberal little bubble. This allows me to connect with people from all over the world, while working with some of the most talented models, publishers, photographers and artists who understand the goals and values of Math Magazine.
What do you love about being an entrepreneur?
My sense of control has extended beyond just how I spend my time and now encompasses other things like what I decide to be stressed about and where I need to place my focus. As Math Magazine and The Afterglow have gained a reputation, people all over the world are defining it for themselves and becoming a part of its future. In many ways, this means I can relax a bit and choose where I place my attention. It’s very empowering to realize that I don’t need to be busy or stressed. That’s a choice I can make. I love handing off responsibilities to people who are passionate about the work we are doing and have insights of their own to share. My ideas of what success can be, have been shifting more toward balance and community. It’s something I’m finding to be more sustainable so that when I achieve my dreams, I’m not too burnt out to enjoy the gold at the end of the rainbow.
If you could talk to your past self at the very beginning of your entrepreneurial journey, what would you tell her?
Find a way to enjoy the beginning. There is so much learning and growth that happens in the earliest stages of starting a business and it can be all too easy to be so driven, hungry, and hyped up about putting this message out into the world that we miss out on the glory of learning and growing fast.
And know that you are worthy of success. You can have what you want. Stop getting in your way. (Actually that’s something I need to hear right now!)
What’s your philosophy on dealing with challenges?
If I don’t know what to do, I wait. If I need a push, I ask for accountability. And I always try to approach people with empathy and encouragement—no matter what they have to say to me!
What do you do to decompress?
I really enjoy weightlifting with my partner, Dan. Walking over to our local YMCA is a great opportunity for us to talk, vent, and connect. When we are in the weight room, we’re all business, and it’s amazing how overcoming my fears and focusing on something other than work can help my mood. I also like to play video games. I’m a die-hard “Tomb Raider” and “Uncharted” fan. And, of course, having sex is an excellent way to decompress. But after the best orgasms, I run to my laptop to write down ideas. I’m often inspired by “la petite mort”!
What inspires you?
Conversations with friends, partners, and peers really inspire me. Flipping through my Instagram and Twitter helps me stay engaged with debates, questions, ideas, and aesthetics. As a small company, we are able to stay agile and responsive to what’s on people’s minds and what’s up for debate in the public forum.