Sunday, 18 May 2014

Meeting Maya

When I received an email from Penguin Books inviting me to attend a 1950's soirée, I was excited. When I read that it was an event to celebrate the release of Maya Van Wagenen's book Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek, I was intrigued.

I'll be honest: I'd never heard of Maya before this. A quick Google search told me that she was named TIME magazine's most influential teenager, and she recently won a major film deal with Dreamworks - pretty damn impressive, especially considering that Maya is only 15 years-old. When I was that age, my biggest achievement was customising my MySpace profile. Needless to say, my parents are very proud.

When we arrived at Penguin's stunning offices, we were met with a number of adorable vintage stalls, featuring the likes of The Secret Tea Party, There is Only One Amy Laws and Red Bird Makes. After having a browse of the various goods and enjoying a few delicious canapés, the legendary Jo Elvin, editor of Glamour magazine, chaired a Q&A with Maya. Maya's story is a fascinating one; after feeling like a social outcast for most of her young life and being bullied by the "cool kids" at the age of 13, Maya turned to a book called Betty Cornell's Teen-age Popularity Guide, which was written in the 1950s. With the help of her extremely supportive family, Maya decided to take the book chapter by chapter and follow the advice over the course of a year. From wearing pearls every day right through to wearing a girdle, Maya tried it all and kept a diary of her journey.

Jo Elvin interviewing Maya. Doesn't she look adorable?

Maya kindly signed my copy of her book. My head is high as we speak!

Hearing Maya talk about hear experience was truly a delight. Not only is she incredibly eloquent, but she also spoke with such passion, sincerity and maturity. Since the event, I have read the book. I read it in just under a week, and it was charming from start to finish. I laughed, I shed a few tears, I smiled a lot and I even dug out my old pearl necklace. Maya is talented and compelling writer, and I highly recommend you pick up a copy of her book. You won't regret it!

Much love,

Swell Vintage