Sammy Nickalls
May 31, 2015 10:29 am

New York City, books, authors, fandoms, happiness. What’s not to love about BookCon? The answer: absolutely nothing. And it just so happens that BookCon was the next stop on the “A Tale Of Two Besties” tour! Yesterday, we headed over to the Javits Center in New York City for some fabulous conversation about young women in new media and what inspires them as online writers.

The sesh kicked off with a panel discussion led by HelloGiggles contributor and comedy writer Akilah Hughes. Who were the other lovely ladies in the panel, you may ask? Oh, just Rookie founder Tavi Gevinson, Rookie contributor Jamia Wilson, HG contributor Ruby Karp, and, of course, our very own co-founder and queen, Sophia Rivka Rossi. ALL OF THE YES.

The awesome ladies spoke for a short 45 minutes, but during that time, they covered a crazy amount of great topics, such as the issue of being a young woman in media and not being taken seriously (Tavi explaining that there was a lot of “skepticism and doubt” surrounding her position at Rookie at such a young age).

Our own Sophia also discussed how she started getting involved with fellow co-founder Molly McAleer to start the HelloGiggles we all know and love today (thanks for doing that, guys). For Sophia, the main moment when she realized that HG was becoming big was when someone commented on one of her articles saying that it’s “not HelloGiggles.” “I was like, ‘I AM HelloGiggles!’ . . . and then I realized, this is bigger than me,” Sophia explained.

The ladies also talked about their goals for storytelling and creating a safe space for women online, because, after all, commenters can be mean. Haters gonna hate, right? Negativity exists online, because as Akilah explained, “I’m a woman on the Internet. Let’s be real.” That led the ladies into a new discussion: how to handle cruel comments online. “Negativity? Who cares!” Tavi said. “There’s not enough time to care.” And as Ruby explained, “Honestly, if you’re writing about what you believe in, it doesn’t matter what they say.”

Akilah also addressed Jamia, asking what specific challenges she’s faced as a woman of color in the writing world. It can certainly be difficult, explained Jamia, but it’s essential. “If you can’t see it, you can’t be it,” Jamia said. “I’ve always felt that black girls are magic. . . who wouldn’t want more of us!” Agreed to the max.

Then, the discussion turned to self-care. The ladies agreed that limiting technology is a must. Sophia sets aside a day each week when she totally unplugs; Tavi makes sure not to check her phone right when she wakes up, because she doesn’t want it to define her. “I’m introverted, and I know I need a lot of time to feel basically sane,” Tavi said.

The panel then opened up to the members of the audience, who stood up and asked their own questions, about books and writing galore. And then. . . AUTOGRAPHS! Yay! Tavi and Sophia sat together and signed books, and it was a glorious occasion.

Sooooo, who votes that these five start their own show? We do!

Missed the festivities? If you live on the West Coast (or just are willing to hop on a plane), it’s not too late: The next stop on the A Tale of Two Besties book tour is Los Angeles on June 2nd. Click here for more info.

(Images via Carly Lane.)

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