Model Behavior / Caroline Ervin / Stuff Mom Never Told You
Posted on 19 June 2015
Former journalism nerd, perpetual word nerd, massive proponent of ladies.
WHAT ARE TWO ITEMS TO DO ON YOUR BUCKET LIST?
Travel the world and write a book.
WHAT'S THE BEST COMPLIMENT YOU'VE EVER RECEIVED?
In my personal life, the best compliment was probably from my dad, telling me how proud he is that I’m not afraid to take charge and do what needs to get done to accomplish my goals. Professionally, being told I’m the best editor someone’s ever worked with is enough to set me up on a cloud for at least, like, five whole minutes.
WHERE WERE YOU WHEN YOU GOT YOUR FIRST PERIOD? WHO DID YOU TELL FIRST?
In the bathroom right off the kitchen – while my parents were both eating breakfast mere feet away. Technically, they both heard it at the same time when I screamed “MOM!” from said bathroom. Dad just kept eating his cereal.
WHAT'S THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU'VE EVER GOTTEN?
Repeat as often as possible: Not my monkey, not my circus. It’s helpful for my inner control freak.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?
I’m not inclined to let anything stand in the way of happiness and fulfillment. I’m not talking short-term hedonism; I mean long-term life satisfaction. I transferred to a new college and then quit a job with nothing lined up – all in the pursuit of living my best life.
TEACH US HOW TO DO SOMETHING.
To get the perfect melty marshmallows for s’mores, set them on fire for a bit.
WHEN DID YOU FIRST REALIZE YOU IDENTIFY AS A FEMINIST?
I’ve always known I identify with feminism. But I’d say it wasn’t until college that I used the actual word – not out of fear or reluctance but because I don’t think I had the language. No one taught me about feminists or feminism when I was growing up, but, of course, everything about it makes sense to me!
WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY TO YOUNG GIRLS WHO ARE RELUCTANT TO IDENTIFY AS A FEMINIST?
It’s OK. Take your time and learn not only about feminism, but about how the world works. Learn about your peers who are different from yourself and develop that empathy muscle. Intersectional feminism’s a beautiful thing, and you’ll appreciate it so much more once you’ve done some reading and living and empathizing. And, like me when I was younger, you probably already are one!
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE WORD HYSTERICAL?
I just see floating uteruses. On strings, like balloons, making us all crazy. My serious answer is that understanding the origins and connotations of the word ‘hysterical’ help us understand the way society has viewed – and oftentimes still views – women, our health, our emotions and our abilities. Use of the word allows people to dismiss us. But mostly the shiny, floating uterus thing.
CHOOSE THREE WOMEN FROM HISTORY WHO HAVE HAD A POSITIVE IMPACT IN ADVANCING WOMEN'S RIGHTS WHOM YOU WITH YOU COULD INTERVIEW. WHY THEM?
Gloria Steinem: Cristen and I heard a lot from her when we attended the Makers conference in 2014, but I want more! Everything that comes out of her mouth is so mindblowing but so simple and straightforward. Her presence itself is validating. She so strongly believes in supporting other women. I just want us to kick off our shoes and have an hours-long conversation in a meadow somewhere.
Ida B. Wells-Barnett: She was an amazing African-American journalist and suffragist who earned fame/notoriety when she refused to give up her train seat to a white man. And she knew the power of the press. In 1913, the National American Woman Suffrage Association told black women they couldn’t march at the front of their parade in D.C., and Wells was having none of it. She left the parade site, then stepped right into the front of the march as it passed. The press coverage was huge. I visited her museum in Mississippi last year, and it’s a fascinating place to stop if you’re passing through Holly Springs. I’d love to get her take on intersectional feminism today.
Cecelia Payne: She was the first person to earn a PhD from Harvard’s astronomy department, and her thesis rocked the astrophysics world in the 1920s. She demonstrated that the Sun’s makeup was very different from that of Earth’s, basically blowing everybody’s minds at the time. But she suffered from imposter syndrome! Even though her work laid the foundation for our understanding of stars’ composition! She was a genius, and she paved the way for other women in STEM, but she was still made to feel less-than. I’d want to hear her take on the state of women in STEM today, but I’m also so curious about what it was like in her field at that time. Plus, who wouldn’t want to hear her explain her own thesis?