In 2018, I boarded a plane to Los Angeles for my first ever Teen Vogue Summit. Not only did I visit Facebook LA and Levi’s Haus de Strauss, but I was able to network with like-minded creatives and Condé Nast staff. Fast forward to 2019, and I was back in Hollywood for my second summit. This year, due to COVID, the conference was held virtually. With a theme of “creating together from the ground up,” I was excited to listen to some powerhouse voices such as Tracee Ellis Ross and Selena Gomez.
First up on the main stage was Actor, CEO, and Executive Producer, Tracee Ellis Ross! She chatted with Teen Vogue’s Editor-in-Chief, Lindsay Peoples Wagner about how she’s been, what motivates her, her style, who she looks up to, and so much more. Lindsay also pivoted the conversation to talk about one of Tracee’s many side hustles, her hair care brand PATTERN. Tracee explained that the company started through her personal hair journey, how it took years for her to love her hair and believe that she was authentically beautiful. It took 10 years for her to define her vision and try to get the beauty industry to recognize it. My biggest takeaway, and something she preaches to other entrepreneurs, is to
Be specific about your idea and know the market you’re going in. Do your research!
Next, Samhita Mukhopadhyay, Teen Vogue’s Executive Editor, moderated a panel with Digital Creator, Megha Rethin, and Digital Content Creator, Tyla-Lauren Gilmore. They touched on how social media has changed over the year, advice they would give to someone wanting to be a digital creator, and more. Tyla suggested using the power you have to stay true to yourself and just do you! Megha left us with this awesome quote:
Don’t force yourself to be something you wouldn’t be.
In a segment sponsored by The CW, Teen Vogue’s Culture + Entertainment Director Dani Kwateng chatted with All American‘s lead man Daniel Ezra and Show Writer Nkechi Okoro Carroll. All American is based on a black high school football player from South LA who’s recruited to play at a Beverly Hills school. It’s inspired by the life of pro football player Spencer Paysinger. They chatted about the show, season 3, and how it will incorporate the BLM movement. The theme of the show, and the theme of the interview, is that we can all live in one shared world, instead of two separate ones.
Last, but certainly not least, Singer, Actor, an Producer Selena Gomez took the stage! She opened up about times when she wanted to give up but would always push forward because she believed in herself.
“The theme of everything I do is good quality. I want to make sure the stuff that I have, whether it’s all the business stuff to my work acting and singing, it’s important for me to be authentic and to connect to something. Otherwise, it seems a bit pointless to me. It requires a lot of hard work. But the payoff is amazing.”
Selena also touched on mental health, a topic she’s all too familiar with and has always spoken up about. She recommends, especially right now during the pandemic and the colder season, to find someone to talk to. “I think it’s less scary when you talk about it. So that’s some sense of freedom that I gained once I did,” she said.
I was curious to see how Teen Vogue would take their 2-day in person summit and change it to a virtual experience. There were a few hiccups, ie glitching, but other than that, I think the event was a complete hit! There was a chat section where viewers could talk with one another or ask questions, a virtual photo booth with customized backgrounds, and exclusive promotions/offers for attendees. I never thought I would be in the same “virtual” room as Tracee Ellis Ross, let alone Selena Gomez, so thank you Teen Vogue Summit for allowing me to escape the harsh realities of 2020 and listen to some bad add women talk about their successes and failures.