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Saturday Links: Crushin’ on Chiara Edition

Plus plenty of year-end reading, even more BEYONCÉ, and groundbreaking developments in snaxx.


In almost every way, Chiara de Blasio is a totally normal 19-year-old college student, the exception being that her father, Bill, recently got elected as the next mayor of New York City. She’s politically minded, outspoken, and has been known to rock a flower crown (!!!), but Chiara played a bit less of a role in her father’s campaign than her exceptionally badass mom Chirlane and her brother Dante.

In a video released on Christmas Eve, Chiara explains why maintaining her personal privacy was so important during the mayoral race: She suffers from clinical depression and has struggled with using drinking and smoking marijuana as self-medication. “When I went away to college, I didn’t really do the mental and emotional work to prepare myself,” she says, and she urges anyone in a similar spot to get the help they need through therapy, sobriety, and/or whatever it takes. “Now I’m doing well in school and actually getting to explore things that aren’t just partying.” Her dad takes office in a few days, and Chiara’s life has already been changed forever—she’s a public figure now. But it’s so inspiring to watch her handle her business, get healthy, and use the platform she’s been given to encourage others to do the same.


Jean Grae has long been one of the best, most charismatic rappers in New York City, but slightly lesser known is her awesome work as a comedian. Over the last year, she’s been working on Life With Jeannie, a sitcom she wrote, produced, directed, and composed and supervised the music for (!), and this week, the first episode finally dropped. It focuses on the holidays as well as the lies we sometimes tell ex-boyfriends to keep them far, far away from us and is so hilarious, sweet, and naturally acted. Someone fund this show! We need morreee Jeeeeeaaaannnn!

The Prancing Elites, our heroes of the week. Photo via Instagram.

The Prancing Elites, our heroes of the week. Photo via Instagram.

The Prancing Elites are a dance/cheer/pep crew from Alabama that does a very specific style of dance called “J-setting” that influenced the choreography in Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies” video. The group, whose members are gay men, formed because they were not allowed to join the women’s J-setting crew in their not-so-progressive community oin Mobile, Alabama. This is the dumbest thing ever not only because it’s socially regressive and basic, but because they are INCREDIBLE dancers. This week, the Prancing Elits were invited to perform in the Semmes, AL, Christmas parade, and the video at that link shows them giving their all. Unfortunately, people were freaked out by their awesomeness: In the name of outraged “morality,” the city council is disallowing the Elites in future parades. The fact that the group took this outrage with grace and courage makes me want to donate even more to their Kickstarter, which has only a few more days to raise money so they can buy shoes and costumes (handmade by their team leader!), and travel, hopefully into the loving arms of people around the world who will APPRECIATE their skills.

Casey Jane Ellison, the intrepid Carrie of the amazing VFiles series “What the F*shion?” and “Status Report,” is back with a new episode of the latter to give us 2013 in review, and it’s the funniest “best of 2013″ I’ve seen so far this year. I’m hoping to cop that same hair tie, too, Casey, holla in 2014.


Because there’s no such thing as too much Beyoncé and we should probably have a weekly Beyoncé spot: Taylon Davis, a 12-year-old who has a terminal and inoperable brain tumor, had her greatest dream come true this week when she got to dance with Beyoncé through the AMAZING Make-A-Wish Foundation. If anyone deserves to dance with Bey, it’s Taylon.

More dancing, Beyoncé, and amazing 12-year-old girls (best combo): Charlize Glass kills it to “Yoncé” in this video. 90% of the world population can never hope to have the moves she does.

Emma S.

Fry the hell out of a marshmallow with a hair dryer for well-styled smores. By Morgan Walker.

Fry the hell out of a marshmallow with a hair dryer for well-styled s’mores. By Morgan Walker.

The holidays are a time for cooking and also for being bored with your family and also for maybe hiding in the bathroom. Luckily for all of us, NPR just ran a story on making s’mores with a hair dryer.

HELLO BEAUTIFULS. Via the New Yorker.

HELLO BEAUTIFULS. Via the New Yorker.

In other food news: If you’re like me, the chocolate chip cookie is a staple of your diet. I truly cannot imagine life without it, and had heretofore always thought of the cookies as something that existed out of time, like fire and water. But no! According to The New Yorker, the chocolate chip cookie was invented in 1939! Read the whole article for many juicy tidbits about this incredibly vital moment in history.

Amy Rose

Linda Taylor in 1977 during a recess in her trial. Photo via Getty.

Linda Taylor in 1977 during a recess in her trial. Photo via Getty.

I was immensely into this Slate piece about Linda Taylor, the woman who Ronald Reagan repeatedly pointed to as a prime example of welfare fraud when he ran for president in 1976. He didn’t really have the most important facts about her story, though, and chose instead to focus on the most politically lurid (and largely incorrect) parts of her history: As reporter Josh Levin writes, “A murder in Chicago is mundane. A sumptuously attired woman stealing from John Q. Taxpayer is a menace.” But this article, which details Taylor’s wild and horrifying life of crime, will reveal that falsifying some governmental paperwork is probably the most boring part of her story. It’s a fascinating macro-expansion of one tiny moment in American history, and I loved reading it.

Anna F.

Pickpocket Apollo Roberts caught in the act by photographer Martin Schoeller.

Pickpocket Apollo Roberts caught in the act by photographer Martin Schoeller.

The New Yorker rounded up their most popular stories of the year, and while I haven’t read most of them (saving ’em for the train ride home), Ariel Levy’s “Trial by Twitter” made me rethink the way I read the news, and the incredible detail of “A Pickpocket’s Tale” made it feel almost like fiction, in the best way.

The cover for Eleanor and Park, one of BuzzFeed's top picks.

The cover of “Eleanor and Park,” one of BuzzFeed’s top picks.

While I consider myself a huge fan of young adult literature, I’ve read only a handful of BuzzFeed’s 21 best books of 2013. I’m hoping to make a bigger dent in the list before all the inevitable film adaptations come out.

EMMA'S NEW BOOK! Out May 29!!!

EMMA’S NEW BOOK, out May 29, 2014!!!

Add even more stuff to your reading list for the new year with Flavorwire’s 15 most anticipated titles of 2014, featuring forthcoming titles by Rookie contributors Emma Straub and Roxane Gay! ♦


  • flapperhatgirl December 28th, 2013 12:48 PM

    The story about Taylon Davis made me tear up – the look on her face when she met queen b was so moving.

  • -alexandra- December 28th, 2013 1:56 PM

    Everyone MUST read Eleanor and Park as well as Rainbow Rowell’s other book, Fangirl. they are very important.

  • Margo December 28th, 2013 2:39 PM

    You can make s’mores with a hair dryer?! What is this sorcery?! ;D


  • decemberflower December 28th, 2013 4:18 PM

    I immediately thought Chiara de Blasio looked like a Rookie when I saw her on the cover of New York

  • sparklingbutterfly December 28th, 2013 6:45 PM

    I love Chiara de blasio! She is so inspiring because stereotypically, when I think of a mayor’s daughter, I think of a young woman in an easter dress, string of pearls, and a 4.0 average. Chiara has facial piercings, funky outfits, and is open about her personal struggles in school. She is breaking the mold of what it means to “look political” and be taken seriously. She is even breaking the mold of what it means to act political. She shows we can all have strength and courage in our openness about our imperfections and use them to create change.

  • vintagebarbie December 28th, 2013 8:02 PM

    smores with a hairdryer? I know what I want to do!

  • irismonster December 29th, 2013 2:04 AM

    I cried watching beyonce and taylon. she’s just so great and i somehow feel absolutely no jealousy because taylon totally deserved that it’s just so happy and perfect ugh <3

    • ArmyOfRabbits December 30th, 2013 3:32 PM

      Same here! Music in general is powerful for a human’s soul. I wish Taylon the best.

      It was also nice to hear Chiara de Blasio’s story. I’m not a drinker or a smoker, but I do get depressed at times, and it’s nice to know I’m not alone.

  • selinau December 29th, 2013 2:05 PM

    hei i was wondering (cause i saw them cookies) why wouldn’t you guys do a best/fave/easiest recipes post here on rookie? or have u done that already? just an idea! :)

  • Emma S. December 29th, 2013 9:09 PM

    Anna, you love machine! xxoxoxox

  • Rushmore December 30th, 2013 6:09 PM

    If you only read a couple of the New Yorker articles you should definitely read The Master by Marc Fisher. It’s about this english teacher Robert Berman who was like the evil version of Robin Williams from Dead Poets Society.