A Look Back at The Wildest’s 2022 Cover Stars
If you graced our cover last year, you deserve some more time in the spotlight.
Your pet wants you to read our newsletter. (Then give them a treat.)
We’re not even 10 days into 2023, which means it’s OK to look in the rearview mirror a bit longer. Plus, not to brag too much, but we had a great 2022, and we want to talk about it some more. Last year, The Wildest took our success with our Wild Ones column and leveled up as we began to feature monthly cover stars, too. We featured pet parents from all walks of life — artists, musicians, actors, writers, environmentalists, designers, and more. They shared the stories of their lives as pet parents who, just like the rest of us, have to balance raising their “kids” with everything else.
As we take on this second week of 2023 and gear up to feature more influential pet parents this year, let’s revisit the cover stars of 2022. Hey, we know we’re biased, but we think they’re worth spending a little more time with — and you’ll see why.
January: Taylour Paige
Zola (2021) star Taylour Paige was our first-ever cover star. She told The Wildest about her Pit Bulls, Aretha and Juice, mother and son, respectively, and the sometimes “uncomfortable” challenges that come with parenting a rescue dog.
“I think, as an actor and as an artist, we can be pretty self-indulgent and focused on ourselves. But even through the ups and downs, I’ve always wanted to contribute to something outside of my career. Having dogs, rescue dogs, is not always convenient or easy or comfortable — you have to get used to being uncomfortable. But it’s so worth it. The love is immeasurable. They teach you so much about love and presence and patience and unconditionality.”
February: Kat Dennings
Kat Dennings, who you might recognize from her recent projects Dollface (2019-2022) and WandaVision (2021), told The Wildest about her doppelgänger cat, Millie, and embracing the cat-lady life.
“On Dollface, there’s a character called ‘Cat Lady,’ who is a human woman with a cat head. It was supposed to be the magical realism version of a cat lady, but she’s kind of like the fairy godmother of the show. We’re supposed to be quote-unquote scared of becoming a cat lady, but really what does that even mean? Being a strong independent person who loves cats? That sounds awesome.”
March: Ashley Nicole Black
Writer Ashley Nicole Black, who rescued her pup, Gordi, from The Sato Project while in Puerto Rico on a work trip, told us about her dream to buy a house and fill it with dogs. One question: Can we move in?
“You know your dream for when you’re stupid rich, like so rich you can waste money? Mine is that I buy a huge house and staff it and just have dogs live there. So they’re not in a shelter; they’re living in a house. Elderly dogs, dogs who need medication, and there’s a full-time staff just to take care of them. And I can go visit whenever I feel like it. And just lay on the floor and get covered in dogs.”
April: Stephanie Shepherd
Future Earth founder Stephanie Shepherd and her dog, Binx, are on a mission to help combat climate change. As any environmentally conscious pet parent will tell you, solving a problem that big is no easy task. But Binx’s own separate mission is to make sure his mom’s mental health is in tip-top shape while she takes on the world’s problems.
“I really, really know that the universe put him into my life at that exact moment for a reason because 2020 was, without a doubt, the most difficult year of my life. He has truly been like my emotional support animal. If he senses my anxiety or picks up on a specific tone in my voice, he’ll come over to me and bury his head in my hand and he’ll paw at me. He just has the most playful, happy personality. He brings so much warmth and joy into our home. I cannot imagine life without Binx.”
May: Hannah Shaw
Hannah Shaw, a.k.a. “the Kitten Lady,” could certainly serve as inspiration for Kat Dennings’s life as a self-proclaimed cat lady. She told The Wildest about the importance of fostering vulnerable kittens, and how, except for the occasional “foster fail,” “goodbye is the goal.”
“A lot of people are afraid to foster because they have these preconceived ideas of what it takes to do it. My belief is anybody can foster, but not everybody can foster the same [animals]. Suddenly [at the start of the pandemic] there was this huge need for animals to get out of shelters and simultaneously everybody was at home. People were also sad and scared and isolated — and nothing curbs that like a tiny kitten.”
June: Shea Couleé
In June, we said, “Shantay you stay” to RuPaul’s Drag Race veteran Shea Couleé and her dog, Baby. The Pomeranian is an essential part of Couleé’s chosen family, something the queer community celebrates all year — but especially during Pride month.
“I love waking up every morning and seeing her at the front of the bed. When she notices me wake up, she gets so excited and will crawl on my chest and give me little kisses. I can’t imagine not having that every single morning! I feel like especially for queer people and people in the LGBTQ community that may not subscribe to the nuclear family structure — she is like my child. I now have this vessel to pour all this love and affection into, and she gives it right back.”
July: Seth Bogart
The multidisciplinary artist shared what life is like with his “punk princess,” Stix, a Terrier mix who is a crucial part of his “nontraditional sexy ass bomb life.”
“I sometimes record music at home. And she’s pretty demanding, needing to sit in my lap. So when I record, especially when I track vocals, she’ll start, like, Frenching me while I’m recording. So she loves my music… she’s smart. I’ll start laughing and have to stop. I even captured her barking on a lot of recordings, like when the mailman would come.”
August: Paulina Alexis
Paulina Alexis, star of FX’s Reservation Dogs, told The Wildest about her life growing up on a Sioux Nation Reserve in Alberta, Canada, where she was constantly surrounded by animals. These days, she’s mom to a Pit Bull mix named Rose and Rose’s daughter, Lila. She’s also got a bit of a horse-girl side hustle going on; she’s taken up riding.
“[My dad] always says, ‘Paulina, you’re gonna break your spine!’ But I’m gonna ride. And I want to bring horses back to my reserve, because I’m the only rider from my reserve. I feel like a lot of our youth would excel in the sport of Indian relay. I think that it will give them a sense of responsibility, a sense of purpose. The more you learn about your horse, the more you learn about yourself.”
September: Hillary Taymour
The fashion designer spoke to The Wildest while she was hard at work preparing her latest collection for her fashion label, Collina Strada. Her Pomeranian, Powie, who’s maybe her favorite accessory, goes everywhere Taymour goes, even backstage at a show.
“Because we’ve been working with the same models for so long, he feels like it’s his friend day [when we’re on set] and he walks around like, ‘Oh, you made it! Thanks for coming!’ He doesn’t act like a [typical] tiny dog. He’s got this confidence, like he just knows what he has. He’s cool. He’s also a Scorpio — his birthday is 11/1/11 — so he’s a very special boy.”
Tokimonsta, a.k.a. Jennifer Lee, is a rare breed of pet parent: She’s both a dog and a cat person. In fact, she says she wishes she could run PR for cats, who, as we all know, get a bit of a bad rap. She even features her kitty in some of her music — the ultimate stamp of approval.
“I have so many videos of [my cat] being disruptive. He’ll just, you know, come into my studio, maybe, like, walk on a piano or knock things over or start breaking things. I actually wrote a song dedicated to him. It’s not out yet. The whole song is about my cat. It’s called, ‘Furrever.’ The song has him purring — more as a foley sound.”
October: Indy Srinath
Through her show on National Geographic, our second October cover star, Indy Srinath, aims to teach the world that you don’t need to live in the woods to forage fresh produce. She also has a dog named Okra (not to be confused with the vegetable). From Okra (both canine and vegetable), Srinath learns what true resilience means.
“I feel like I’ve had the biggest journey with okra (the vegetable!) and I was thinking about what a huge journey I was going on with this little dog, too. Okra is also such a resilient plant in the way that it was brought by Black folks from West Africa and cultivated here. And I feel like Okra the dog is really resilient, too. He has these little seeds inside of him; I feel like he has all this potential, just like okra the vegetable. I just also think it’s a cute name for him.”
November: Yves Mathieu East
Model and musician Yves Mathiew East has a special place in his heart for the Pit Bulls he fosters and rescues — and aims to stamp out the stigma surrounding these gentle creatures.
“There is this misconception people have that Pit Bulls are [mean or aggressive], but every day that I’m with them, they show me that the opposite is true. I guess in life, I’ve always been drawn to those who have been left behind, forgotten, misunderstood. I relate to them on a very deep, personal level. No matter how different you are, everyone deserves a chance.”
December: Lisa Says “Gah!”
Lisa Bühler had one of the most successful fashion brands in 2020; while many labels suffered because of the pandemic, Lisa Says Gah!’s bright and delightfully funky clothes and accessories were some of the hottest-selling items on the internet. She says her cat, George, taught her something about remaining optimistic during a time of intense change.
“I moved in the summer of ’14. I started working on [Lisa Says Gah!] in the fall that year. I got all the business-license stuff, bought the website, and it launched at the end of January 2015. I didn’t have a job when I moved to San Francisco. Looking back, getting George made it very official that I was starting a new life here. In a lot of ways, I think George made it our home, our family.”
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