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Meet Mish Barber-Way of White Lung, Penthouse and Mish Barber-Way

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mish Barber-Way.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I’m a freelance writer whose work has been published in Broadly, VICE, The Talkhouse, The Guardian, i-D, Dazed & Confused, Hustler, LA Times, V magazine, amongst many others. I am currently the Executive Editor at Penthouse magazine (Penthouse Global Media Inc.) In addition, I am the Music Editor for the Los Angeles quarterly, BrightLite magazine, a publication devoted to creating quality content for girls by girls.

I also front the band White Lung (Domino Records.) During our touring years, we have received praise from Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, NME and SPIN. Rolling Stone included our third album, Deep Fantasy, on their list of “40 Greatest Punk Albums of All Time”. We are currently working on our fifth record.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I have been writing since I learned how. My mother still has boxes of loose leaf paper with my pencil written stories. I always kept diaries. Growing up in Canada, I was a competitive figure skater. It was my life. Then, I discovered punk rock and wanted to learn the guitar. I had always been a performer, a bit of a showboat even as a kid. I’m the eldest of four siblings and the eldest of 11 grandchildren, so I was constantly forcing my family into doing these dumb little plays with me. I was very annoying.

After high school, I bummed around with my boyfriend. We had a band, but it was more his thing than mine. So, I started my own band, White Lung. I finished university while working two jobs and playing in my band. I started writing during school and interned at a Vancouver lifestyle magazine as well as an online publication out of New York called hearty. I learned the most there. The band toured like a gross punk for years, on and off, and my writing career grew in succession with the band.

I always had to bust my ass working waitress or bar jobs to feed myself. But then a tour would come up and I’d go back to my $3 a day diet. When I was about to quit music because I was so broke I couldn’t afford my apartment, our second record started getting attention. We signed with a booking agent, got a publicist and started to make some money. Things snowballed. I have worked hard my whole life. Self-discipline has been drilled into my head since I was a kid at the skating rink trying to land my double Axel.

White Lung, Penthouse, Mish Barber-Way – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I am very proud of my band and the music we have made. We have had a modest, fun career. Right now, I am working as the Executive Editor of Penthouse magazine. I have always loved men’s magazines, skin mags, and have been enamored with Penthouse since I first saw a copy. I think I have the same taste as men in their mid-fifties. I like the adult industry. Everyone is uninhibited.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
I haven’t ever thought about that. I am usually thinking about what I am going to do next and have to remind myself to stop and look back. It was pretty exciting when I got to represent YSL in the September issue of Vogue the page after Beyonce. I never thought that would happen. A small, vain victory. I also got to interview my favorite writer, thinker and hero Camille Paglia for the January issue of Penthouse. We have kept in touch and she is just as interesting and hilarious as I imagined. But moving forward, when I finish my first book, I’ll have something to be proud of.

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