The badass 20-something lady writers who are getting me through my 20s
Your twenties is the decade that comes with a promise: that by the end, you’ll have some idea of who you are as a person and how you want the world to see you. Or, at the very least, you’ll have your Friday night take-out order perfected and know how to bumble through your taxes.
And as a person who is self-indulgent in her choice of reading material and prefers to collect the writing of similarly-aged people, I’ve compiled an introduction to a few of my favorite 20-something writers who use their mastery of the English language to make this decade seem somewhat glamorous in all of its sweat-inducing, anxiety-littered glory.
Besides having the most stalk-able Insta ever, Durga is one of the first contemporary writers to move me to tears with their work. Which, is no small feat, since I was always the stone-cold girl who thought she was born sans tear ducts. But the thing is, the content of her writing isn’t even necessarily melancholy. Maybe my eyes well up as a form of liquid envy? Because I know I’ll never be able to compose a sentence as elegant as the ones that fill her essays. But, seriously, every line is worthy of being embroidered and framed. Anyway, excessive fan-girling isn’t very attractive so see for yourself in one of my favorite stories of hers on living alone.
Amy Rose Spiegel
This gal originally won my heart in her recurring role as Rookie’s story editor and resident bestower of magical makeup and style advice with Oh! You Pretty Things. But as of late, I’ve been wildly waving my arms à la those marshaling wand-wielding people at the airport who help park planes because I have the constant need to alert the masses about her recent project Enormous Eye.
What is Enormous Eye, you ask? It’s an Amy Rose-curated blog that posts daily diary entries from creatives of various backgrounds and ages—although, I’ll admit most of ‘em are Brooklynites who allow me to vicariously live out my NYC dreams from the warm confines of the West Coast. But back to the diary entries. These puppies are like a feature-length film of a person’s day from the hour they wake up to the moment heads hit pillows. So if you’re a fellow curious soul who wants to peep diaries guilt-free, book it to this blog. Or go slow. I guess pacing yourself is fine too.
She’s a fellow young East African girl, but cultural pride isn’t why I put Heben on this list. One of BuzzFeed’s finest, she’s known for delving into everything from Drake to microaggresions in the workplace. Like “Degrassi,” Heben goes there. I love her piece on learning how to take a compliment because that’s a skill I think many of us could stand to get better at. Someone complimented my cheek bones last week and I wanted to run for the hills. So yes, I have that article bookmarked. Plus she currently co-hosts what has become my favorite podcast with fellow BuzzFeed pal, Tracy Clayton. Another Round is great for anyone who enjoys listening to booze-om buddies discuss current events and interview rad people while slightly intoxicated. So…that’s everyone, right?
Jazmine’s resume is make-the-TJ’s-white-cheddar-popcorn-crumbs-dribble-out-of-your-mouth-cuz-it’s-open-so-wide good. Before being dubbed associate digital editor at The New York Times Magazine, she served as a contributing editor/writer at The Hairpin and has appeared in the New Yorker, Gawker, and The New Republic. It’s also worth noting that her twitter makes for quality entertainment. But please, go pause whatever you’re simultaneously watching on Netflix and read about Jazmine’s love affair with her cleverly named plants.
Ashley C. Ford
A writer/editor/speaker extraordinaire, Ashley’s credits include speaking at SXSW, writing for sites like The Butter and TueNight, and being a featured opening writer on Lena Dunham’s Not The Kind of Girl book tour. At the moment, she’s co-editing the anthology Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture with Roxane Gay (!!). You can follow all of her amazing adventures in writing on her aesthetically pleasing, easy-to-navigate site. But first, all my O.L.A.H. (Old Ladies At Heart) go read Ashley’s essay on her quest to live like a 40-somethin’ lady as a 20-somethin’ lady. A mighty noble quest, indeed.
If you’re currently on that 20 s’um tip or would like to reminisce on it—or prepare for it, I suppose—consider reading the works of these talented ladies. Their age bracket is only a coincidence; their writing knows no bounds of age or otherwise. It simply serves as a reminder that there are plenty of young, Rihanna-Level badass writers to fawn over. “But,” as LeVar Burton circa Reading Rainbow would say, “you don’t have to take my word for it!”
[Image of Ashely Ford via her Twitter]