It was our third day at SXSW and finally we were starting to feel like pros. We knew the secret elevators to take, approximately how long to space apart sessions, where to pick up yummy (and free) food, etc. We woke up extra early this morning to camp out in front of the Austin Convention Center ballroom where the fabulous Kerry Washington would be interviewed by the Editor-in-Chief of InStyle magazine, Ariel Foxman. Aside from her acting brilliance and adorable and peppy personality, Kerry is a major player in social media. She has been able to amass an incredibly large and loyal following of superfans that live and breath by her every digital move. Kerry took to the stage in an incredibly chic (and glittery) ensemble and wowed us with her thoughts and wisdom about the new rules of social stardom. Highlights from the interview include:
~ The beautiful thing about social media is that it makes the world feel smaller and it allows us to have social conversations about humanity in a new way.
~ With social media, everyone can be a celebrity, and a critic. It’s a great democratizer.
~ When addressing a question about reading and responding to nasty comments on social media, Kerry said that the truth about comments is comments aren’t about me; it’s about people revealing themselves. It’s about their issues, not mine.
~ Social media gives a voice to the previously voiceless and it’s why so much of our cultural structure is changing.
After geeking out to Ms. Olivia Pope, we ventured to the massive maze of booths that is the SXSW Interactive Trade Show. We learned about new machines to make sparkling water in your home to 3D printers capable of printing pizza (yes, we said pizza) to new technologies like Babbler that have the potential to change the PR industry. We also stood in a long line for special screen-printed shirts by a cool San Francisco-based company called Social Imprints.
Lunch was our next calling, followed by another round of standing in a long line for a ridiculously long time with what felt like every person attending SX to see the bad boy culinary storyteller himself, Anthony Bourdain, whose travel and culinary adventure show now has a home on CNN. We learned a lot from Anthony’s authentic, no-apology-necessary honesty about what it means to take risks, be true to creativity and inspire wonder in other people.
~ He spoke of how he doesn’t think of himself as a journalist, but rather an enthusiast and an essayist who has a point of view and wants people to feel and think a certain way through his work. His brand of vulnerability mixed with an “I don’t give a #@&*” attitude certainly made for some hilarious moments.
~ The biggest takeaway from his interview was that you should always look to do things differently and to take inspiration from things you love that are around you. Anthony spoke of how many of the editing decisions for his show are inspired by the films, books and even music videos he loves.
~ The other biggest “ah-ha” moment was his point about letting go of pleasing everyone and staying true to you. He said that he never thinks about who he is shooting for. “If you are only shooting a show to please the viewers and give them what they want that leads to madness. If every week our view catered to what people like, our show would only be about barbeque.”
~ His final words? “Certainty is almost always bad.”
Super-charged from all of the Anthony-isms, we took a stroll down to the Driskill Hotel where all of the SouthBites (the foodie component of the festival) activity was taking place. We noshed on some yummy treats and watched people erect a wall of food with doughnuts and tortilla chips spelling out the word INNOVATION. Today’s celebrity-sighting trifecta was completed when we spotted master chef Jose Andres walk into the food lounge. After making a beeline for him (frankly, we were not subtle), he agreed to pose for a picture – the expression on his face in the photo was priceless, a perfect mix of sheer terror and delight in being recognized.
By this point we were spent, and decided to wrap up today’s star-powered day with a delicious dinner under the stars. Bring it on, day four!
SXSW sweet dreams,
~ Lauren and Emily
P.S. Don’t forget to browse through our Day 1 and Day 2 recaps!