My name is Nicolás Rivero, but everyone calls me Nico – except for my abuela, who sometimes calls me Niki-piki. It would be weird if you called me that.
This summer, I’m interning at Mental Floss. It could not be a better fit for me. I spend my days goofing around on the Internet, reading about strange and obscure things like Bulgaria’s first-ever TV quiz show or the (surprisingly varied) methods of punishment used by Vlad the Impaler. This is probably what I would have been doing no matter where I worked this summer.
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. In kindergarten, I released my first short story titled “The Ovrsizd Mushroom,” published in crayon on notebook paper, complete with an illustration by the author. In the story, the protagonist discovers a mushroom the size of a house one day and enters to find a homicidal leprechaun who will stop at nothing – even murder – to protect his pot of gold. In a moment of questionable judgment, my teacher asked me to read the story on the morning announcements instead of sending me to a child psychologist.
After this dizzying bout of success, I was hooked. I joined my high school newspaper, and after two years penning hard-hitting editorials on the iniquity of school uniform policy, became the editor-in-chief. That inspired me to go to Northwestern to study journalism. On my summers home I wrote for Miami Today and the Miami New Times, and on quarters abroad I covered politics in Washington, D.C. and business in Buenos Aires. While on campus I write and edit for North By Northwestern, a student magazine.
All these experiences have helped me narrow down what I love within journalism: longform storytelling. Regardless of the topic, any story that allows me to get to know the people behind an issue or news event, their personalities and quirks and why they did what they did on a human level, is incredibly rewarding. I’ve had a ton of fun profiling the founder of a secretive multi-billion-dollar virtual reality startup, an extreme athlete with an unconventional plan to run across the sea and Bob of the food and music vlog Bob’s Rockin’ Tacos.
I hope I get to keep writing about quirky humans doing weird things for a magazine one day.