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ASU grad finds the intersection between art, photography and storytelling

Standing is Anitah Diggs: resident ASU Student Life photographer, videographer and ENVY Magazine’s Co-Editor-in-Chief

"What can I say? A girl loves clothes," said Anitah Diggs — fashion and storytelling always intersected for the new ASU graduate, who majored in journalism and minored in fashion. Photo courtesy of Anitah Diggs

May 09, 2024

Editor’s note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2024 graduates.

For Anitah Diggs, the desire to pursue professional storytelling began at a young age.

“I was a total yearbook nerd in high school. I did it from my sophomore year up until I graduated,” Diggs said. And, although she doesn’t want to “sound cheesy,” she “just really loved that atmosphere. I really liked it. I like taking photos, and obviously, I gravitated toward photography in yearbook (and) I’ve always loved writing since I was little, since I was a kid.” 

When asked what makes a good picture, Diggs — who is graduating this spring with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism with a minor in fashion from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication — had this to say. 

The choice to go study journalism at Arizona State University was almost a no-brainer. 

“It kind of seemed like: I love photography, I love writing; let me do that with journalism and try it,” said Diggs, who is graduating this spring with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism with a minor in fashion from ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

“There’s a lot of different avenues that you can take the profession. You can go full writing, you can go full photography, you could do a mix of both. There’s literally journalism for anything and everything you could think of, and I like that freedom.”

Staying close to home was important to the Mesa native, having lived here in Arizona her entire life.

“I didn’t want to leave home for college, and (more importantly) I didn’t want to go to GCU or U of A,” she said, referring to Grand Canyon University and the University of Arizona.

Entering college during the pandemic made for a tough start.

“I didn’t get super involved in college, period,” she said. “I started college during COVID (and) I didn’t join a lot of clubs; I didn’t really socialize on campus. I just never really got super involved with a lot of extracurriculars, or even going to sporting events, games and that type of thing — big events the university puts on for students.” 

That changed when she found ASU Student Life, where she became a resident photographer and videographer.

“I think this has been my longest job — it’s up there,” she said. “This job definitely made me experience college more and get out there.” 

Diggs lists last year’s Drag U Downtown show as one of her favorite events covered while working with ASU Student Life.

“It was so fun! Selfishly, I enjoyed it because I love drag, and I’ve just always admired that art form so much. One of the queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race was there at this show. I was having a fangirl moment because it was just so iconic to be in her presence,” Diggs recalled. 

Drag U Downtown was one of the “hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of events” Diggs helped covered, and working at Student Life helped her become aware of the sheer number of “different things that students can get involved with and engage with” at ASU. 

“I wish I could have this job forever,” Diggs said. “I love the work-life balance, the community within ASU Student Life, and like the staff — everyone here has been super helpful, warm and nice.” 

Coupled with her time at Student Life, Diggs also ventured into the publication industry when she co-founded ENVY Magazine in January 2023. 

“The idea started in January 2022, but the gear started going six months later,” she said. 

ENVY was born out of Diggs’ desire to champion the voices of writers, directors, designers, artists and other creators in the Valley. She saw the lack of a publication based on Phoenix arts and culture and believed that, through ENVY, she could meet that demand.

“ENVY was kind of the way for me to try out the kind of journalism I’d be interested in going into,” she said. “I’ve never done something like this before, so I don’t really hold it to like super big standards, but if it can just impact a small group of people and keep generating stories and mobilizing different things within the city — that’s all I could really hope for.” 

She hopes to see her passion project grow to become a self-sufficient and sustaining entity, becoming a household name within the Phoenix media space. 

“I want it to be something that can function without me, you know? I want it to be something bigger than myself. I would love it to be something that can become something Phoenix is known for … like it would be something Phoenix artists know about, like ‘Oh, yeah! It’s ENVY. I read an article from them last week,'” Diggs said. 

ENVY has grown exponentially since its inception early last year, with a team now of 10 members and, as Diggs puts it, “seeds” in New York and Los Angeles.

Asked if she defined herself as a journalist, Diggs replied, “Do I want to go full-journalism mode, or do I want to go full-photography mode? Because those things intersect in a really interesting way for me. … Within the last two years, I have started confidently referring to myself as an artist — almost every photographer is an artist.” 

So what’s next for her?

“I’m going to relax!” Diggs exclaimed. “I want you to put that: I’m going to relax. I’m going to have fun. I’m going to Lollapalooza in August— hope to see some of you there!” 


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