Hero status: Dr. Carla Hayden

Yesterday, Dr. Carla Hayden became the 14th librarian of Congress. W00t!

carla hayden, via white house
via White House video

So who is she?

After 13 white guys, Dr. Hayden is the first woman and the first African American to be the librarian of Congress. She’s the former prez of the American Library Association and has a Ph.D. in library science from U Chicago. As ALA prez in the early ’00s, she butted heads with noted dick John Ashcroft over the Patriot Act, because it gave the FBI access to people’s library records. She (and likeminded groups) eventually got that part of the Patriot Act thrown out. When Ms. Magazine named her their 2003 Woman of the Year, she told the mag this:

When libraries fight against the PATRIOT Act, or against [mandatory Internet filters], we’re fighting for the public. Most of the people who use public libraries don’t have the opportunity to buy books at a bookstore or on Amazon.com. What the library does is protect the rights of all people to fully and freely access information and to pursue knowledge, without fear of repercussion.

Hell to the yeah.

Dr. Hayden was also in charge of Baltimore libraries for over 20 years. The NYT notes, “In Baltimore, she overhauled what was widely considered a failing urban library system.” She pushed for technology like e-readers and internet access in Baltimore libraries because people lacked them at home. And when schools and churches closed in April 2015 due to protests and violence after police killed Freddie Gray, she kept the Baltimore libraries open so they’d be safe community spaces. She said in a White House video:

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Hero status: Bibi McGill

Bibi McGill, Beyonce guitarist, yoga instructor in Portland
Photos via Youtube

Um, did you know Beyonce’s (former) lead guitarist lives in Portland and teaches yoga?

ME NEITHER! (Until a few weeks ago, when I saw a postcard in my hippie therapist’s building.) Her name is Bibi McGill and she sounds AWESOME.

She’s a complete badass, rocking the Superbowl 2013 halftime show alongside Beyonce. Starting in 2006, she led Queen Bey’s all-female band, the Suga Mamas, and she’s a fierce musician who’s been playing the guitar since she was 12. (She also toured with Pink in 2001.) Some have called her today’s Jimi Hendrix, although she deserves to be a legend in her own right.

Bibi also happens to love kayaking, spending time in nature, making her own kale chips, and teaching yoga. As she says in one of her yoga videos:

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Hero status: Tavi Gevinson

My religion is basically Tavi Gevinson, so I forget that not everyone in the universe is as obsessed as I am. Hence this tasty explainer as to her awesomeness in a nutshell!

tavi gevinson
Photo: jauretsi

Tavi started her fashion blog, The Style Rookie, in 2008 at AGE ELEVEN (see her very first post here, short but sweet) and got famous a couple years later. She caught the attention of Forbes, TIME, The New Yorker, the NYT, and other big names before even graduating from high school. Her trademark is her writing: self-deprecating and funny while insightful, honest, and (yes) wise beyond her years. Oh yeah, and looking like a petite, stylish yet eccentric elf (she’s like 4’11” and hugely cool, dyeing her hair grey eons before anyone else).

In September 2011–age 15–she launched Rookie, a website that’s sort of the anti-Seventeen for teenage girls. Sure, there are makeup tutorials, playlists, and style advice, but they’re alongside honest essays by high schoolers about coming out, being trans, racism, and other Big Issues. Less Kardashian worship, more riot grrrl. HEART.

At age 16, she gave a TED talk. Age 17: costarred in Enough Said with Julia Louis-Dreyfus (after that, small roles in Parenthood and Scream Queens). Age 18: debuted on Broadway in This Is Our Youth (later, The Crucible and, coming up, The Cherry Orchard). She writes, acts, AND sings (!), with guest vocals on Seth Bogart of Hunx and His Punx fame’s most recent album. But it’s obvious she’s not some fame-hungry, undiscriminating opportunist; by age 14, she’d turned down a chance to be on Oprah.

I started to write “My favorite thing about Tavi is–” and realized there’s SO MUCH I love about her. She didn’t come from money; she’s the daughter of an English teacher and grew up in suburban Chicago. She’s hella smart with an encyclopedic knowledge of pop culture, literature, and fashion, bespeaking a natural curiosity. She’s immensely creative. Maybe most of all, she seems almost unwaveringly true to herself. She doesn’t seem to serve anything like wealth or fame, just creativity, self-expression, knowledge, and beauty. She’s an unofficial mascot for all of us weird girls without being snobby or Cooler-Than-Thou. Somehow she manages to be vulnerable and accessible despite being A Huge Deal. I MEAN!

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Style inspo: Gwen Stefani, “Simple Kind of Life”

At least a decade before it was cool, Gwen Stefani was rocking bubblegum pink hair in the 2000 music video for “Simple Kind of Life.” I grew up Sans MTV (always a favorite excuse for my maladjustment) and only recently watched the vid. And, um, it’s awesome! (Mostly. Why the fuck is that baby wearing so much eyeliner?!) Marie Antoinette vibez, ’90s alt-princess vibez, and killer hair, PLUS the perfect angsty heartbreak of the song itself. Something about the way she sings “You seem like/you’d be a good dad” is coy and flirty yet desperate and almost, gasp, TRAGIC. Just the feeling of grasping, of something slipping through your fingers: happiness? what you imagined adulthood and love would be? It makes me want to curl up in a ball and time-travel back to the ’90s. ALL THE FEELS!

(p.s. the image quality isn’t great because the video is so old. be thankful for high-def, kids.)

gwen stefani pink hairgwen stefani pink hair simple kind of life music video no doubt

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