The Better Bombshell

The Better Bombshell is a brand new book of answers. Important answers. Imperative answers, even, in a culture where more than half the population – women – still seek a representative image of strength, beauty, and power. An image of truth. This book pairs the progressive minds of passionate writers and artists to answer this question: Who is the better bombshell?

The Better Bombshell is as innovative in its approach as it is bold in its goal. It draws from a creative and intellectual community to fill a glaring void in modern media: the lack of positive, multidimensional female role models. Who do today’s young women admire? Who do today’s men covet? What earns our envy and our celebration, our lust and our love? In a world where women are more important than ever before, the media continues to shower us with images of modern women that don’t reflect our new truths.

We’ve asked some of the best creative, intellectual, and artistic minds of our era to do what they do best: Challenge us. Push us. Change us. This book is a unique community-based nonprofit literary and art project founded on a collaboration of words and images that do more together than either could alone. It shines light into the dark. It fills the void.

The book — released February 14, 2013 — showcases the results of collaborations between artists and writers. The talents involved are varied and potent. Our writers are journalists, novelists, beatnik poets, and dreamers; our artists are painters, sculptors, cartoonists, and photographers. Our list of contributors is diverse: men and women, young and old, local or international, gay or straight or in-between. They’re united by one common desire: delivering an honest dialogue about modern women. They celebrate, despair, investigate, and question. There is laughter and tears and shouting and kisses and a little bit of blood. The Better Bombshell is a lot of things – but it’s not Cosmopolitan.

This – this book, this structure, this vision – has not been done before. On February 14, 2013, the art was revealed in a Seattle art gallery during a wildly successful launch weekend.  Now we’re taking the book on tour to universities, bookstores, women’s prisons, and back-room bars. We’ll take it as far as we can go, and proceeds from book sales will be donated to the Washington Education Access Fund.

In the meantime, we’re facilitating the discussion about modern female role models on our blog. We’ve had guest writers discuss gender and class and the bombshell of a breast cancer diagnosis. We’ve had artists contribute what they say is some of their best work to date. Today, the blog is receiving thousands of hits. The world had taken note.

The Better Bombshell asks a simple question, and it took some of the best writers and artists of our era to answer it. Now, The Better Bombshell redefines the female role model. She’s a lot of things — but she’s not simple at all.


The Better Bombshell was conceived in a coffee shop in Seattle, Washington by two women: Charlotte Austin (writer and editor) and Siolo Thompson (painter and curator. These women were already accomplished artists. Each knew, with bold thinking and hard work, they could create more. They reached into the communities they know well, recruiting more willing artists, pairing the written and the visual in moments of inspiration and faith. They designed a website as a platform for communication with the greater world, they read and saw and edited, they mastered countless details. While many hands and minds have helped, it is their crazy dream. If you have congratulations or gripes, keep this in mind: behind this book are two women, working very hard. We are a grassroots project in every sense of the word.