One of my favorite magazines is Teen Vogue. They merge fashion and beauty with social justice and advocacy without skipping a beat. As a sociology major here at Drexel and lover of all things fashion, when I found out they were hosting their first annual “Teen Vogue Summit” this December I knew I had to be in attendance. Unfortunately, the tickets were out of my price range ($350+) and it was being held in Los Angeles, but I had to figure out a way to go.
Shortly after, they announced an essay contest with a grand prize that would be awarded to 50 people and included a ticket to both days of the summit, airfare, and lodging. After writing essays about my passion for education, Black women being at the forefront of change like Representative Maxine Waters (Auntie Maxine), and my love for Cardi B, I was officially entered. About a month later, I got the email that I won and in utter shock, off I went to California.
After writing essays about my passion for education, Black women being at the forefront of change like Representative Maxine Waters (Auntie Maxine), and my love for Cardi B, I was officially entered.
Day 1 began at Toms HQ, where we were greeted with swag bags and assigned our wristbands based on our “Werk Session.” As part of the Werk session, we were given the opportunity to explore headquarters of popular companies in the Los Angeles area. The three companies on my track were Headspace, a meditation app; Coolhaus, an ice cream company; and Instagram. We heard from executives about their roles in the companies (and how they got there), advice for their 21-year-old selves, and words of wisdom for us in our job searches. The day ended sweetly with an ice cream demonstration at Coolhaus and a taste test of a new flavor not yet released.
Day 2 was held at 72andSunny and was comprised of keynote speakers, workshops, and panel discussions. The first keynote of the day was Hillary Clinton moderated by actress Yara Shahidi. They discussed everything from the 2016 election to how we as everyday citizens can effect change by voting. Some other keynotes included Representative Maxine Waters, filmmaker Ava DuVernay, and Black Lives Matter leader DeRay Mckesson. The highlight of the day for me was #PennysPenWorkshop hosted by singer and songwriter Jhené Aiko. She expressed how writing can be healing and we did an exercise called “When I write with pen.” We wrote in pen in journals for about 20 minutes nonstop, which was a calming experience and something I now incorporate into my daily routine. In addition to the panels and keynotes, there were many interactive stations. We were able to customize Juicy Couture jackets, play video games in the PlayStation lounge, and get professional headshots taken by Bumble Bizz.
Overall, it was two days of career building, activism, and inspiration. I walked away in awe of everyone I’d heard and their desire to use their platform for change, and I felt empowered to use my voice for change also. It was an amazing experience and I would encourage anybody interested in activism or career exploration to attend.