WHAT GEN Z SAID

THEY MAY NOT BE YOUR TYP­I­CAL TEENS—UN­LESS YOU KNOW MANY AC­TIVISTS, EN­TREPRENEURS, YOUTUBE STARS OR RECORD-SET­TING ATH­LETES UN­DER THE AGE OF 20—BUT TH­ESE YOUNG WOMEN RE­FLECT THE BEST OF A GEN­ER­A­TION UN­LIKE ANY THAT HAS COME BE­FORE IT: CON­NECTED, CRE­ATIVE A

Elle (Canada) - - Anniversary -

ON WHETHER THEY’RE ALL NAR­CIS­SISTS

HAN­NAH “Ev­ery­one thinks we’re im­ma­ture be­cause we take self­ies. A lot of peo­ple in my school are on their phones a lot, and peo­ple judge that.” SABRINA “We just have room for a lot of love—that love goes out to one an­other and also to our self­ies.” KASHA “We’re fo­cused on lov­ing one an­other and also our­selves. I don’t think that’s nar­cis­sis­tic.” TRIN­ITY “I think a lot of teenagers are used to ‘hav­ing’; some peo­ple don’t have those op­por­tu­ni­ties, but for those who do, it’s easy to feel en­ti­tled.”

ON THEIR GEN­ER­A­TION’S SO­CIAL SKILLS

RACHEL “I find my­self not know­ing what to talk to my friends about any­more. I’m al­most awk­ward around peo­ple my age.” KASHA “They want to gos­sip and talk about boys and In­sta­gram.” HAN­NAH “The most pop­u­lar clique in my school knows about all the lat­est memes.” TRIN­ITY “I think ev­ery­one here is just in­volved in so many more in­ter­est­ing things than what’s go­ing on on the In­ter­net.”

ON SO­CIAL ME­DIA

LINDA “Your so­cial me­dia is who you are. It’s oned­i­men­sional, but peo­ple judge you by what you post. It’s im­por­tant to main­tain your ‘im­age.’” SABRINA “Ev­ery­thing is kept un­der this lens, and it’s for­ever; even if it’s deleted, some­body has a screen shot of it. You have to watch ev­ery­thing you say.” LINDA “Other gen­er­a­tions could make mis­takes, but for us, it’s recorded and it’s out there, so we’ve be­come a lot more cau­tious and re­spon­si­ble for our ac­tions.”

ON MONEY

LINDA “It’s more com­mon now to have a job for two years than be at a com­pany for life. There’s no job se­cu­rity, so it’s im­por­tant we save and not go into debt.”

KASHA “I don’t even want a credit card! I’ll stick to my debit card.” SABRINA “I like sav­ing my money. I like be­ing fru­gal. But if I had an in­fi­nite amount of money, I’d buy an is­land.” HAN­NAH “My motto is ‘Save, spend, give.’” LINDA “One of our big strug­gles is go­ing to be bal­anc­ing our econ­omy with the en­vi­ron­ment. Our econ­omy is based on waste and ex­cess. We need to re­think how we run things.”

ON THE PRES­SURES THEY FEEL

LINDA “I’m an ath­lete, I run a busi­ness, I have school— so for me, it’s time man­age­ment. I hold my­self to a high stan­dard. Some­times you sac­ri­fice things.” SABRINA “I’m try­ing to get into univer­sity, and it’s stress­ful wait­ing on those ac­cep­tances. I made this de­ci­sion to join a pro­gram, and, if I get in, it will dic­tate what I’ll do for the rest of my life.” RACHEL “I’m in Grade 11, and al­ready our teach­ers are putting pres­sure on us to find a univer­sity and ap­ply for early schol­ar­ships. It’s scary, es­pe­cially when you’re not ex­actly sure what you want to do.” KASHA “My pres­sure comes from ‘How do I turn what I do now into a job and mon­e­tize it? And how can I give back?’ I don’t think a nine-to-five is for me.” SABRINA “I re­ally want that! I con­sider mak­ing YouTube videos a cre­ative out­let, and I want to keep it that way.” HAN­NAH “I want a nine-to-five so I can keep busy. I want to find some­thing where I can help peo­ple.” SABRINA “We have to do ev­ery­thing that the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tions did, like get a job and pay a mort­gage, but you have to do it in a way that helps peo­ple.”

ON ROLE MOD­ELS

SABRINA “From a busi­ness stand­point, I ad­mire the Kar­dashi­ans’ abil­ity to build a ca­reer out of... what­ever they have go­ing on. I won’t tear them down, but there are bet­ter role mod­els to find.”

RACHEL “With the in­cred­i­ble power and money that the Kar­dashi­ans have, they could be us­ing that power pos­i­tively. I think we live in a gen­er­a­tion that is be­com­ing much too con­cerned with the way we look in­stead of how our world will look for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.” KASHA “Emma Wat­son is prob­a­bly one of the most in­spir­ing celebri­ties. I love how she uses her plat­form through the United Na­tions to dis­cuss feminism; it’s so em­pow­er­ing to see.” SABRINA “I can’t stand celebri­ties who get into petty fights on so­cial me­dia— that’s what the DMs are for, peo­ple!”

ON LOVE

LINDA “I would de­fine love as an in­tense feel­ing of deep af­fec­tion.” SABRINA “It’s be­ing will­ing to wait to watch the new­est episode of Game of Thrones to­gether.” KASHA “Love is car­ing in ac­tion.”

ON FRIEND­SHIP

SABRINA “My friend group has evolved to in­clude peo­ple from the In­ter­net. I’ve never met them in real life.” HAN­NAH “I’ve met some re­ally cool peo­ple on my trav­els. I have a re­ally good friend in New Brunswick whom I’ve only seen twice in real life; you feel so con­nected, even though you’re talk­ing over the In­ter­net.” LINDA “We’ve all got at least one friend on Face­book who lives in an­other coun­try, and you get out of your small bub­ble of Toronto or Canada and you can see what’s re­ally go­ing on in the world.” SABRINA “It’s su­per-en­rich­ing be­cause th­ese aren’t just friend­ships of prox­im­ity. It’s peo­ple you’re will­ing to jug­gle time zones for.”

ON BODY IM­AGE

SABRINA “I used to rate my­self as a 0. I didn’t look like peo­ple who are con­sid­ered beau­ti­ful. I hated my nose, how I dressed—it made me feel ter­ri­ble. And then one day, I was like, ‘This is ex­haust­ing. I’m lazy. I’m beau­ti­ful!’ and I shot straight to a 10.” HAN­NAH “I’m grow­ing, so I guess I would rate my­self as a 6 or 7. I’m at that age where peo­ple start to get self-con­scious and re­ally look at their bod­ies. When I was 12, I didn’t—and then I turned 13, and bam!” LINDA “I have a pretty solid body im­age. I don’t re­ally look like peo­ple in mag­a­zines, and I don’t com­pare my­self to them be­cause I’m a dif­fer­ent per­son.” RACHEL “I was bul­lied for a long time, and it was re­ally tough to go through be­ing called ugly, too fat, too thin. Over time I had to em­brace my­self.” KASHA “I’m just com­ing out of a place where I was re­ally un­com­fort­able with my­self, and now I’m like, ‘So what? I’ve got a lit­tle bit of stom­ach fat. Ev­ery­body does.’” TRIN­ITY “I was re­ally self-con­scious for a long time. I have swim­mer shoul­ders, and find­ing clothes that fit my shoul­ders is hard. But as soon as I did my swim [across Lake On­tario], I was like, ‘Yes, my shoul­ders are big, but they’re also pow­er­ful and they al­low me to do great things.’”

ON STYLE

LINDA “Clothes are just clothes. I try to fo­cus on my ac­tions and what they say about me as a per­son.” HAN­NAH “I’m a fash­ion guru be­cause I think it can ex­press who you are, and I like play­ing dress-up.” KASHA “It’s hard to be so­cially con­scious, es­pe­cially with brands and a lack of trans­parency about where things are made or how much peo­ple are get­ting paid to make them.” TRIN­ITY “I don’t want to not be taken se­ri­ously be­cause of how I look. I think dress­ing nicely is dress­ing mod­estly, ma­turely and pro­fes­sion­ally.”

ON THE FU­TURE

LINDA “I see my­self go­ing to univer­sity and start­ing a ca­reer. I also think I want to start a fam­ily.” SABRINA “Hope­fully I’ll be on Bay Street or Wall Street, in­tro­duc­ing more eth­i­cal and sus­tain­able prac­tices to the busi­ness world.” KASHA “Twenty-five years from now, who knows? The world is chang­ing all the time. It’s hard to say which planet I’ll be work­ing from....” h

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