This 15-Year-Old Editor-in-Chief Is Taking Back the Term 'Youth Culture'

Talking to Elise By Olsen, the prodigal force behind 'Recens Paper' magazine.

by Andrew Nunes
Oct 20 2015, 5:15pm

Photo by Alex Asensi courtesy of Recens Paper

In a world where 17-year-olds are accomplished net artists and 18-year-old designers are making the most innovative fashion lines, it might not be particularly surprising that Oslo-based Elise By Olsen, the creative force behind the upcoming and devotedly followed youth culture magazine, Recens Paper, clocks in at a fresh 15 years old. 

By Olsen's editorial ambitions began as an eight-year-old blogger, moving on to co-found the online blogging platform when she was 12. One year later, Elise began what is now one of the most alluring youth culture publications, cementing her status as a poster-girl for the creative opportunities enabled by the internet’s limitless resources: “This generation has access to an overload of knowledge, content, and experiences—like the prior generations never had,” By Olsen tells The Creators Project.

Photo by Alex Asensi courtesy of Recens Paper

Existing as a print-only publication, a seemingly unorthodox decision in an era of online media dominance, the third issue of Recens is launching in over three continents. Titled "Observe," the theme was chosen as a response to stereotypical views on youth behavior that pervade culture today: “Some might think [the youth] lack the skill of observing, that we are passively sitting in front of our computers or phones and we don’t give a fuck... But we see the internet as a great arena for visual, social, and emotional satisfaction,” says By Olsen.

Photo by Alex Asensi courtesy of Recens Paper

Recens Paper #3 is filled with both young, well-established creatives and those still on the come-up. Names you may already be familiar with include photographer Walter Pearce, designer Gosha Rubschinskiy, and singer Aurora Aksnes. Among the lesser known but equally potent is designer Wali Mohammed Barrech, DJ & Producer Kasra V, and photographer Jakob Landvik. Not all of them are as young as Elise—some of the featured innovators are in their late 20s—but the uniting trend among them is how they shape and have been shaped by youth culture.

Photo by Alex Asensi courtesy of Recens Paper

We asked Elise what she believed to be the catalyst for Recens’ success: “Recens reveals youth culture in a different way than other publications because they are expressing youth culture from an outside or grown-up point of view, while Recens is simply made from young people for other youngsters.”

Photo by Alex Asensi courtesy of Recens Paper

While the advantage of a youthfully-ingrained perspective is undeniably a factor, another crucial element is Elise’s work ethic; she goes to school for seven hours just like anyone else her age, but rather than hanging with friends afterward, she works on Recens out of an office space until early hours in the morning. Recens is neither a fun side project nor an extracurricular activity; it’s Elise By Olsen’s hard-worked brainchild.

Photo by Alex Asensi courtesy of Recens Paper

To peer into the latest issue of Recens Paper, pray that you live near a stockist.


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youth culture
Walter Pearce
Aurora Aksnes
Elise By Olsen
Gosha Rubschinskiy
Jakob Landvik
Kasra V
Recens Paper
Wali Mohammed Barrech