Presented in large format (measuring 9.5″ x 13.5″ when folded), this individual fanzine is printed on high quality paper stock (100lb) worthy of being framed, yet affordable enough to be tacked on a wall, reminiscent of the pin-up. Bridging the gap between the tangibility of print and the allure of social media, BASTARD fanzinegives its subjects—each of whom have amassed large social followings due to their dedications and commitments—an opportunity to collaborate on establishing an exciting new platform from which they can tell their stories, promote their causes, and provide fans the opportunity to possess exceptional assemblages of reproduced works, while simultaneously raising money for charities.
The first word that comes to mind when describing 24-year-old actor and model Niko Pepaj is charismatic. The natural energy he brings to set is impossible to teach. A few years ago, we first met Niko in Los Angeles at a photo shoot featuring five male models, but he quickly stole the show. He not only exuded sex appeal, but also fully committed to the role in which we cast him. The Shkoder, Albania native didn’t let the facts that he was shorter and wasn’t as seasoned as some of the other models deter him from giving his all. Instead, these facts fueled his yearning to excel even more. This fire, desire, and adaptability is how Niko has been able to successfully—and seamlessly—transition from fashion model to Hollywood actor. Growing up, however, things weren’t as easy. Niko lived the majority of his life thus far behind a facade because he was an illegal immigrant in the United States. Now, he uses the extremely difficult experience and lifelong lessons learned therein to excel in careers that focus on portraying different characters. Most recently, he played a gay man on ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder, and regarding the preparation for what became a controversial heated sex scene, he says “I don’t think there is a way to prepare for a sex scene; you just have to go in and do what you gotta do.” In terms of the role, “It hasn’t been held against me,” Niko says, “but I have noticed since I did that role I have received a lot of scripts in which I would play the gay character.” We caught up with Niko while in L.A. to learn more about his struggle and how he stayed afloat. (continued)