5SR - April 5, 2024

Hitha on failing influencing, Girls State, and a retrospective look at SATC

A quick refresher - I’m Hitha Palepu, the founder of #5SmartReads. If you’d like to connect with me elsewhere, I’m most active on Instagram and write a weekly newsletter about smart, random things (check out the most recent issue).

It’s been a heavier-than-usual week. These reads were selected for their levity and their hope - I hope you enjoy them.

Skip the clickbait about why Angel Reese announced her WNBA intentions in Vogue, and take in Reese’s own words:

“I didn’t want anything to be basic [regarding her WNBA draft .”

“I want to be a rookie again and build myself back up; I want to be knocked down and learn and grow at the next level.”

I’ll be working with grown women. I’ll be working with women that have kids, women that have a family to feed. I’m going to have to work my butt off every single day and grind. And who wouldn’t want that? I don’t want anything in my life to be easy.”

I love this whole piece - Reese’s ambition and her multitudes, the fantastic styling and photography, and that this piece celebrated young Black brilliance in front and behind the camera and words.

I can’t wait to watch Reese continue to play and enter the next chapter of her career.

I participated in Colorado Girls State over 20 years ago, and I still credit it in helping shape me into the woman I am today.

Though I don’t remember having to memorize a song and dance number or decorating cupcakes. I do remember having to wear skirt suits the entire program, to my annoyance.

While I haven’t seen the Girls State documentary yet (I have it downloaded for my flight home on Sunday), I appreciate that this piece jumped right in and highlighted the double standard that the girls’ program holds, the state of elder girlhood/early womanhood, and the multitudes of these future leaders (something I explore in the first chapter of my book).

My friend Becca’s Roman Empire is if Harry Styles is aware of the book and film partially inspired by him (the forthcoming The Idea of You). And I am enjoying her investigation thoroughly.

I also appreciated Becca’s early review of the film, which I’d been wary about (having loved the book and having a very different fancast and adaptation wishes than what was produced).

This is an extremely niche and joyful read, in equal measure.

Asking a Gen Z About Sex and the City (Dinner Party by New York Magazine)

I am about to text (well, Snap) my Gen Z nieces all of these questions about Sex and the City, a show that influenced my late teens and early 20s like so many of us.

Rachel Handler’s Gen Z sister provides sharp and hilarious answers to Handler’s questions about the show’s plot, cultural relevance, and how some things have changed - and some not at all - about womanhood.

I thought this quote was really insightful (and a reminder that what goes around really comes around - for better or worse):

“I was kind of shocked by the outward misandry. It felt ahead of its time in that way. Now we’re in a place where man-hating humor like that, people are angry about it again. I was shocked it was happening as early as the ’90s and early 2000s, and then it was really acceptable for a while, and now it’s not anymore. That outward, straight-up humor about the different sexes — among my friends, we make jokes like that, but not as much in pop culture.”

I’ve had many days over the past 15 years when I’ve wanted to delete all of my content from the Internet (then my blog, now my Instagram) and completely live off the grid.

Especially recently, with the algorithm changes from Meta 👀

While I never took the full-time influencer plunge, I have faced (and continue to) the challenges that Alexandria recounts in her own time as a full-time influencer - the good and the bad - and how it’s led to her social media-adjacent role as an agency owner.

Rarely do we see this nuanced and hopeful perspective from someone who chose to leave a job that so many are clamoring for.

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