What do you do after you've written for ELLEgirl, Teen Vogue, Teen People, and Glamour? If you're Anne Ichikawa and Melissa Walker, you start your own online publication. I Heart Daily features news on style, beauty, entertainment, and all-around cool stuff. It's meant for teenagers, but you'll like it if you're merely young at heart.
Ichikawa and Walker recently shared their thoughts on why youth culture fascinates them, how Pete Wentz is influencing style, and how to help teenage girls develop a healthy self-image. Read on!
You've both written for teenagers for years. What is it about them that grabs you?
MELISSA: They're so open and honest. Teenagers are going through really high highs and really low lows, and there's something universal about those emotions and the raw excitement of discovering new things to love. They care about what they're reading about—and they're not afraid to tell you when the loooooove something or when they think something sucks. I appreciate that.
ANNE: Teens are still forming their opinions about things, their taste and what they like. Because of that they’re more excited and open to discover what’s out there, whether that’s a new band or a new kind of lip gloss. I mean, my mom has used the same Maybelline eyeliner for the past 20 years in the same exact shade! They have a sense of passion that us jaded adults lose after a while. Haha.
For their thoughts on beauty trends,
Do you think it's easier to be a teenager now than it was, say, 10 years ago? Or harder?
MELISSA: I think it's harder in some ways and easier than others. Seriously, the experience of that age is so universal that I think it all evens out and ends up just being a tough-and-amazing time no matter WHEN you go through it.
ANNE: I agree with Melissa — being a teenager is pretty universal throughout the ages. Sure, now there’s Facebook and MySpace, but you know, at some point TV sets and cordless phones also were new and crazy.
How have teenagers' attitudes toward their appearance changed since you were that age?
MELISSA: I think they have more access to celebrity style and beauty, plus quick-and-easy ways to get the exact products they see celebs using, so there might be a bit more experimentation. But the truth is that teenagers are always trying to find their personal style, and now they can just try on more identities, which is fun.
ANNE: I think it’s a little more accepted and cool to be different now. Being quirky and an individual is a good thing now—that’s partly due to the media. Who ever thought wearing huge nerd glasses (American Apparel style) and guys wearing black eyeliner (Pete Wentz) would ever become mainstream and hip?
For those of us with teenage nieces and sisters, what's the best advice we can give with regard to building their self-image?
MELISSA: Nurture individuality and encourage their passions. There's so much possibility to explore at that age, and the "eh, that's not realistic" line is one of the lamest ones older people pull. Encourage them to dream big—then their identities are defined by how much they rock the world, not how much they weigh.
ANNE: To be comfortable in your own skin. I know, I know…easier said than done, but it’s true! It’s so important to encourage young women to be curious, kind, intelligent and, most of all, to follow their passions. Focus on building a strong sense of self, and the confidence will follow.
For more from Melissa and Anne, check out I Heart Daily.