The best moments in 435 Magazine’s 15-year history

This issue marks our debut as Kansas City magazine. But as the oldest magazine in the metro area, we have a long history of capturing the city’s imagination through our storytelling and photography. In honor of our fifteenth anniversary and our evolution to Kansas City magazine, here’s a look back at fifteen of our favorite projects from 435 Magazine.

1. Kate Spade’s cover (January 2007)

Kate Spade Cover

In 2007, 435 South Magazine became locally owned after splitting off from Gannett (read the whole story in our publisher’s note on page 18). The cover of the inaugural issue under local ownership featured Kansas City-born fashion designer Kate Spade. Spade grew up in Brookside and attended Notre Dame de Sion and St. Teresa’s Academy.

Spade started her own fashion house in 1993 and became a staple of Sex and the City-era NYC. Her simple nylon handbag became ubiquitous and then iconic. Spade ultimately sold the brand to luxury department store Neiman Marcus.

Spade lost her battle with depression in June 2018. Her funeral was held at the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish Redemptorist Church on Broadway in Midtown. Her grave bears her birth name, Katherine Noel Brosnahan, and is at Calvary Cemetery on Troost.

2. Most Eligible Bachelors (February 2010)

For four seasons, 435 South scouted Johnson County’s most eligible bachelors and hosted a massive event with an auction to benefit Marillac, a home for troubled teens. One notable heartthrob was Butler, Missouri, native Aaron Buerge, who was on season two of ABC’s rose-doused reality show The Bachelor. Spoiler alert: Buerge’s “forever” didn’t work out on the show, which is why he took another chance at love with 435’s help.

The event was one of the most exciting things going on in JoCo for four years. In the end, it generated a little too much enthusiasm for its own good — the final year involved one bachelor in the middle of a messy breakup, which led to threats of lawsuits, and another man being ejected from the event after he became enraged about his wife’s reaction to a shirtless bachelor.

3. Innovative Thinkers (November 2011)

The Innovative Thinkers series might’ve made you scratch your head, open your eyes a bit wider and exclaim, “I didn’t know that was happening in Johnson County.” For instance, a local digital marketing engine works with two thousand distribution companies nationwide. Also, an empire out of Leawood runs a network of forty thousand ATMs in Europe. The people and companies chosen for our years-long Innovative Thinkers series showed our readers that when it comes to innovation, Johnson County is full of surprises.

4. Teens with a Dream (May 2010)

Black Oxygen
Photo by Adam Arnali

Our wildly popular Teens with a Dream feature highlighted motivated, proactive kids with gloriously bright futures. The May 2010 cover featured rockstar brothers Nick and David Lyle. After nine years of albums, worldwide tours and an Arrowhead show with their alternative-rock band Black Oxygen, the Lyle brothers released their first signed album, The Times Of Our Lives (Collection), with Curtain Call Records/The Orchard/Sony Music Entertainment in 2019.

5. Launching the Big Slick (June 2010)

Big Slick KC

Today, the Big Slick is one of Kansas City’s largest and most notable fundraisers. Events include a celebrity softball game at Kauffman, a bowling tournament and comedy show at the Sprint Center. But a decade ago, the event was exclusively a poker tournament at Harrah’s North Kansas City. 435 did its part to get the event growing with an exclusive writeup of and cover shoutout to native Kansas Citians and Big Slick godfathers Paul Rudd, Jason Sudeikis and Rob Riggle. It’s great to see how the event has grown and all the good that’s come from it.

6. Rushed Away (January 2017)

When the first women’s Greek-letter sorority started in 1870, it’s doubtful that they thought the recruitment process would reach the magnitude that it’s at today. 435 did an in-depth story on the secret life of sororities. In it, former members spilled the tea on harsh realities of the recruitment process, like girls being cut for pictures on their Instagram feeds and parents hiring professional hair and makeup artists for their daughters’ recruitment.

7. Choreographed Racism (February 2019)

Choreographed Racism

This issue featured a story about Camille Sturdivant, a black student at Blue Valley Northwest High School who filed a lawsuit alleging extensive racial discrimination while on the school’s dance team.

Among the unsettling details were an exchange in which a dance team coach told Sturdivant her skin tone clashed with the team uniforms; text messages where the coaches claimed Sturdivant only made her college dance team “bc she’s [expletive] black”; and the recounting of a post-season banquet that excluded Sturdivant and another black teammate but included the team’s fired coach.

After 435’s report, Sturdivant’s story was featured in USA Today, the Chicago Tribune, ABC News and CBS News, among other national outlets.

The former dance coach released a statement saying she is “anxiously looking forward to” defending herself in the racial discrimination lawsuit filed by Sturdivant and that her claims are “not the whole story.”

Sturdivant is in her second year on Mizzou’s Golden Girls dance team. The lawsuit is still pending.

8. Kansas City’s Most Inspiring Women (November 2013)

KC Most Inspiring Women

As a woman-owned business, we enjoy using our platform to highlight inspirational women making a difference in our community. Our Most Inspiring Women feature in November 2013 highlighted ten influential women in Kansas City along with four women who inspired each of our top ten. Our list included Olympic gold medalist Candy Merrill, the woman actively responsible for Overland Park’s popular Prairiefire retail and entertainment space, and charitable figure Debbie Wilkerson, longtime president and CEO of the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation.

9. Unreal Housewives of Kansas City (April 2009)

In a fictitious video series, five Kansas City housewives juggle family, social calendars and interpersonal drama. The parody series was meant to poke fun at the Bravo network show documenting the lives of affluent housewives in cities like New York and Beverly Hills. We sat down with the Unreal Housewives of Kansas City for a comedic Q&A, where they dished about runway walking practice, Jackie O, diamond-encrusted toothbrush holders and the art of luxuriously living loud in Kansas City.

10. Big changes (2012)

In 2012, 435 made a lot of big changes, dropping South from the name, extending its focus to the rest of the metro area, selling on newsstands, selling subscriptions and officially joining the City and Regional Magazine Association, a group for the magazine industry’s best titles.

11. Cute Pets Break the Internet (March 2014)

Cutest Pets in KC

The magazine’s annual Cutest Pets Contest drew hundreds of entries in 2014, causing our website to crash. The contest proved once again that pet owners from across the metro embrace the idea of snapping candid or not-so-candid photos of their beloved critters. The technical difficulty was well worth it — we’ve loved every pooch, Persian cat, guinea pig and hedgehog that’s come our way. The year’s winner was an eight-month-old English bulldog, Bubba Charles.

12. Best-selling Brunch (May 2016)

Best Brunch in KC

The most important meal of the weekend was a huge hit with our readers, breaking the record for number of issues sold on the newsstand. And we’re not surprised: The cover photo, a hollandaise sauce-drenched caprese benedict from Tavern in the Village, is enough to make even late risers set their reservations for Sunday morning.

13. How Kansas City Are You? (July 2014)


When we joined the City and Regional Magazine Association in 2012, we were able to borrow great ideas from other cities. But it wasn’t until our “How Kansas City Are You” feature that we saw other city magazines pursuing our ideas. In our July 2014 issue, legendary Kansas City illustrator Charlie Podrebarac and 435’s then-editorial director Ted Iliff made an interactive bucket list where readers could tally points for everything they’d done in the city, from attending a Missouri Mavericks game and eating a Z-Man to visiting Thomas Hart Benton’s home and touring Fritz’s Sausage Company.

14. Top Doctors (January 2013)

A best doctors issue is a staple of the city magazine world. In 2013, we were able to partner with a research firm that produces the gold standard of these lists to conduct an objective survey of the best doctors in Kansas City. The Top Doctors issue is always among our most-read — look for a fresh installment next month.

15. Eric Stonestreet on the cover (June 2010 & October 2013)

Eric Stonestreet Cover

Kansas City is proud to call Eric Stonestreet one of its own, and we’re happy to have featured him on our cover in June 2010 and again in October 2013. The KCK native’s breakout role as Cam on ABC’s Modern Family has earned him two Emmys and three Golden Globe nominations, but he leads the type of down-to-earth life you almost expect from the insanely loveable actor. In our exclusive interview, Stonestreet says that “going home [to Kansas City] is a nice change of pace” and that he “loves the people. They’re earnest.” He’s a Chiefs superfan, too, and pays visits to Arrowhead every season.

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