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DECEMBER 19, 2017 //     

Show up and stand up: What Teen Vogue’s Summit taught us about the socially aware and empowered youth

By: Rosie de Queljoe and Casey Brogan

Teen Vogue held their first-ever Summit this month, drawing more than 500 young people over a two-day period to educate, empower and inspire through panels and keynotes with top civic, entertainment and tech leaders. The theme was centered around female empowerment and standing up for what is right, which mirrored the public stance Teen Vogue took when it published the "Donald Trump is Gaslighting America" op-ed that shocked America with how intellectual it had become.

The summit kicked-off with keynote speaker Hillary Clinton, who was interviewed by 17-year-old Yara Shahidi, an actress best-known for her leading role on the sitcom, “black-ish.” Their conversation included fully charged topics like gun control, women in the workplace, gender discrimination and the power of midterm elections. Hillary implored the attendees to affect inclusive policy change by encouraging those who turn 18 in 2018 to vote and speak out during midterms.

During the course of the event, it became very apparent that Millennial and Gen-Z girls (those born between 1998 and 2016) are a socially aware and “woke” group. Eighty-one percent of Millennials expect their favorite companies to make public declarations of their corporate citizenship. And more Gen Z’ers than anyone else (68 percent), feel the US is headed in the wrong direction, while 32 percent feel the country is heading the right direction. This was certainly apparent as these young women showed up to discuss heavy women’s rights topics during a time of complicated change...on a Saturday nonetheless. 

In addition to tapping into consumers’ social and civic priorities, the conference also highlighted how important relatable and authentic content is to attracting and retaining the attention of this demographic. Some examples highlighted during the conference included:

  • "Insecure" director Melina Matsoukas and cast member Yvonne Orji touched on how celebrating diversity and “realness” has increased popularity of the show because viewers see faces on the screen that match the real faces people see in the mirror.
  • During a "13 Reasons Why" workshop with ItsOnUs.org, cast members and sexual assault survivors discussed how the rape culture in Hollywood mirrors that in American high schools. Now, students on campuses across the U.S. feel they will be supported when they come forward with their own experiences.

As Teen Vogue builds on this inaugural event in future years, it will only further increase relevance and credibility with its chic, yet socially-conscious readership. It will also provide brand marketers with an opportunity to participate in important conversations and gain new insight on the next generations of consumers.

Rosie de Queljoe is an account executive and Casey Brogan is an assistant account executive in Allison+Partners’ LA office.

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