Interview with: Editorial Director Mikkel Hyldebrandt
by Joe Siegel
Geographic coverage area: Metro Atlanta
Year founded: 2017 (previously, Peach published under the name David Magazine)
Staff size and breakdown: Editor, managing partner, graphic designer, advertising director, and two sales representatives as well as about 10 writers who are regular contributors
Physical dimensions: 6” x 9”, 56-102 pages
Web site: peachatl.com
PPQ: What feature or features of Peach Atlanta have been the most popular with readers?
Editorial Director Mikkel Hyldebrandt: We have excellent response with our different columns – we have some wonderful opinion pieces and column writers – but one of the most popular pages is our Peach of the Week, which is a profile of an attractive guy living in Atlanta.
PPQ: Who came up with the name and what is the inspiration for it?
Hyldebrandt: If you visit Atlanta, the name Peach is right there! Numerous streets are called something with peach, and the symbol is everywhere because we are indeed the Peach State. And for a gay publication, there is a double meaning to the peach as well.
PPQ: What challenge has Peach Atlanta had to overcome since its inception?
Hyldebrandt: Creating our footing in this competitive market and carving out our niche in it. I think we have done a great job at creating a platform for the LGBTQ community where we can be the best guide to gay Atlanta while being a great support and a positive influence as well.
PPQ: What challenge or challenges is Peach Atlanta facing now?
Hyldebrandt: As a print publication, we constantly have to battle the wrongful notion that print is dying – it is not! And putting editorial or an advertisement in the magazine is an effective way to target your audience or telling a story in a way that people will listen and see you.
PPQ: How has the publication changed since it was first launched?
Hyldebrandt: We have cemented the fact that we do and write everything with a positive mindset. We have found unique and effective ways to immerse ourselves even better in the community, and we have expanded our network, so we are a valid and trustworthy voice in and for the community.
PPQ: What one change would you like to make?
Hyldebrandt: I would to make Peach “all-inclusive” and capture all the subgroups within our vibrant community.
PPQ: What has been the biggest news story or stories Peach Atlanta has covered?
Hyldebrandt: When we got the exclusive Cher interview for Pride in 2017, we really couldn’t believe it. We knew we had a scoop, and we knew that this would propel the magazine onto a new level. We paired the interview with a competition to win Cher concert tickets.
PPQ: On the Kinsey Scale of 0-6 [exclusively straight to totally gay], how gay is your publication?
Hyldebrandt: Take a look at our covers, and you’ll agree that we’re a 5-6 on the scale. Atlanta’s LGBTQ community has a lot going on, so we cover that exclusively.
PPQ: Do you see yourselves as “activist journalists”? If so, in what way?
Hyldebrandt: We are, but since we are not news media, we approach activism from a softer standpoint, if that makes sense. We try to be very sensitive to movements and sentiments in the community, and we try to cover all aspects. When it comes to our columnists and opinion pieces, they have free reign, and we’ve had some pretty provocative writings there.
PPQ: What’s the most surprising feedback you’ve received from a reader?
Hyldebrandt: It’s more inspiring feedback than anything, actually. It’s just lovely to hear when people actually read and respond to what you put out in the world. One guy said he was always excited to read our advice column “What Happened Was…” because he was amazed at what people got themselves into.
PPQ: What advice would you give to anyone who may want to launch their own LGBTQ publication?
Hyldebrandt: Immerse yourself in the community and seek out every nook and cranny. We have so many facets, and they all need to be recognized and explored. The worst thing you can do is to make one mold and stick to it – that’s not who we are!