Creatively Speaking With: Donna Behen

Her real name is Madonna (for the love of God, don’t ask her about it), her first rock concert was the Go-Go’s, and her background is in magazines. Here’s a look inside this Gen Xer’s creative life.
Stephen Sondheim

Who? Donna Behen, Associate Editorial Director

Donna’s creative hero: Stephen Sondheim

Why? Not only was he a brilliant composer and lyricist, he was also known for being extremely kind, thoughtful and supportive.

What the title of Donna’s memoir would be: “Yes, It’s My Real Name.” [Her full name is Madonna.]

How she approaches a creative block: Physically stepping away from my computer for a bit and taking a walk, or even just staring out the window and bird-watching for five minutes often helps get me "unstuck" when I’m feeling blocked.

Her favorite piece of creative work she’s done at Manifest: After 10 years, it’s hard to pick just one piece of work, but as someone with a magazine background, I’m particularly proud of PKD Life, the magazine we created for the PKD Foundation. This cover story, in particular, was one of my favorites. When I found Catherine’s Instagram account, I knew immediately that her and her sister’s story was perfect for PKD Life.

Donna’s favorite word: Residual. I love the meaning — what remains after most of something is gone — but I also love the way it sounds.

Her least favorite word: Awesome

Her first rock concert: The Go-Go’s at Madison Square Garden

Her idea of happiness: It’s corny, but true: Being able to fully appreciate all that you have, rather than dwell on what you don’t have, and giving to others.