Teen Vogue Summit 2022 Blog: Changemakers and creatives come together to redefine beauty standards and expression

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Lariat reporter Kameron Brooke attends the Teen Vogue Summit on Friday in Los Angeles. Photo courtesy of Kameron Brooke.

By Kameron Brooke | Journalist

Teen Vogue hosted a summit and block party on Friday in Los Angeles, where a series of inspirational conversations featured this generation’s favorite creators and changemakers.

Baylor Lariat reporter Kameron Brooke attended the Teen Vogue Summit in Los Angeles on Friday.  Photo courtesy of Kameron Brooke.
Baylor Lariat reporter Kameron Brooke attended the Teen Vogue Summit in Los Angeles on Friday. Photo courtesy of Kameron Brooke.

From sunrise to sunset, influencers and experts hosted panel discussions and keynote conversations on issues related to the worlds of entertainment, fashion, beauty, social justice, and more.

The day started with my interview with Emily Uribe, who worked on social media for Teen Vogue. She asked me about when I first felt represented in the media and what fashion trends I wanted to go back to, and they took a video of my makeup. She complimented my outfit and the experience was such a great way to start my morning.

I sat in my second-row seat with an incredibly clear view of all the speakers and watched Teen Vogue Editor-in-Chief Versha Sharma begin the summit with a conversation with Lily Singh. Singh talked about the type of content she strives to create and how she overcomes creative blocks.

“When I create content, I think about how I can change someone’s life and change the culture,” Singh said. “I’m thinking about content inheritance. I don’t want to do the stupid stuff anymore. If spaces don’t exist, make them. Care about the outcome.

Singh went on to talk about the importance of staying true to what you are passionate about.

“I felt so much about what I loved doing that I was ready to fight and disrupt my life, disrupt my parents’ lives,” Singh said.

Singh took a selfie with us and we said goodbye to applause. After her, the summit heard from a panel of beauty trailblazers with artists and designers including Alok, Molly Burke, Quannah Chasinghorse and Olamide Olowe.

These are some of my favorite creations, especially Alok, and it was incredibly inspiring to hear them. The panel talked about the beauty industry today and how they personally define beauty.

“I was taught that beauty is about perfecting the artist’s self-disappearance, about cutting the things we are born to be seen with,” Alok said. “Our individuality and self-emulation is beauty. Beauty is about becoming yourself. There is no standard of beauty.

Hearing Alok explain how beauty is a construct and how we see ourselves as what we become greatly resonates. I tended to struggle with being loud and proud, so hearing these creatives tell me how important it is to celebrate what makes you different was wonderful.

Digital star Molly Burke has spoken about the beauty of her experience of being blind and how she focused on what she couldn’t and shouldn’t do due to her disability.

“I didn’t know I was going to lose my sight, but when I did it felt like I was mourning the person I was and all the plans I had,” Burke said. “I’m short. I can’t be a model. I’m blind. I can’t be an actress. People like me don’t exist in Hollywood.

Burke paused, looked at the audience, and said, “All that exists is my own will, and I’m going to make things happen on my own.”

After being asked about how they navigate the negativity that comes with the standards of the beauty world, Alok said they prioritize their joy over everything else.

“I started prioritizing making others happy over shaming others,” Alok said. “I started choosing to be here instead of existing by default. Knowing your existence makes the earth better is important.

After the panel, they opened up for questions, and I stood up to ask them how they navigated not feeling good enough and comparison feelings, as well as how they continued to celebrate each other.

Fashion and Beauty Editor-in-Chief Karissa Mitchell responded and said, “Nothing is cool anymore. I need everyone to know that. The person you’re trying to impress is probably trying to impress someone else. You are good enough.”

Outside of the panels and keynote speakers, there were make-up and skincare giveaways as well as a LEGO-themed kiosk, which was part of the LEGO Design Challenge where Generation Next designers created LEGO-inspired clothing and attendees were able to grab LEGOs from the kiosk and create their own designs. There were six winners, all design students, who were able to showcase their designs at the summit and interact with the audience.

One design that particularly stood out to me was a dress with an image of the Chicago skyline wrapped around it, made entirely out of LEGO. This garment was designed by Matthew Williams, a fashion and costume student.

“I was inspired by my city,” Williams said. “I’m very inspired by the world around me, and I like to create with that.”

Between panels and keynote conversations, Baby Tate gave a performance and reminded us to say our affirmations: “I’m healthy, I’m rich, I’m rich.” She got the whole crowd dancing, including myself, and her metallic gold boots were absolutely to die for.

After the creative break, two more panels talked about politics: the recent elections and the importance of diversity in television and media.

The panel was made up of Freeform stars who spoke about when they first felt represented in media and the kind of future they hope to see for diversity in television.

The policy panel was led by abortion rights activist Olivia Julianna and Voters of Tomorrow executive director Santiago Mayer. Both speakers stressed the importance for Generation Z to exercise their right to vote.

“Gen Z canceled all voters over 60,” Mayer said. “We are making big changes.”

“People who try to tear us down and make rude comments about us aren’t comfortable in their bodies, and when you’re comfortable in yours, it drives them crazy,” Julianna said.

After these two signs I decided to walk around and explore the top. I ended up meeting actor and philanthropist Marcus Scribner, who plays the title character on one of my favorite shows: “Black-ish.” He shook my hand and complimented me, and my whole week was done.

As I returned to my seat, the sun was setting, but the energy was still rising. Rapper and entrepreneur Saweetie talked to us about “chasing the bag” and not engaging in negativity, focusing on yourself, and becoming the best version of yourself — even if it gets lonely at times.

Emmy-winning actress Keke Palmer was the summit’s final keynote speaker. Teen Vogue editor Versha Sharma hyped up the conversation, and they talked about Palmer’s favorite projects, as well as what she’s looking forward to in the future.

Palmer is one of my favorite artists. Her radiant energy always brings something special to every event. She told us how she aspires to do something that “includes singing, dancing and acting because I feel like I was trained in a very musical style of acting.” It was so relatable, because I grew up singing, dancing, and acting too.

Palmer left the audience with a piece of advice: “Do you like what you do? Do you wanna do it? You believe in it ? If so, then bet on yourself. You have to. Let’s take advantage of the reality that we’re all on Earth and have no idea what’s going on, and create in there.


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