If you follow Lily Herman on Twitter, you’ll see that in one tweet she confesses that she’s stuffing her face “with a burger, fries, and a milkshake” while in another tweet just an hour later, she promotes an article she wrote for Teen Vogue on a “massive” anti-Trump Native American demonstration. It’s this mix of familiar and self-deprecating banter with current, hard-hitting issues that gives Lily her charm and need-to-follow-on-Twitter status. We sat down with her to chat about her career thus far, and how she maintains balanced while staying so plugged-in and in-the-know.
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Tell us about yourself. What’s your story?
Well, my high-level story is that I am a recent grad living in New York City. I currently work as Managing Editor at WayUp. [Editor’s note: Lily left her position at WayUp shortly after this interview.] The long story that I’m more known for on the internet is that I’m a contributor to Teen Vogue, mostly doing work in politics and news.
I’m also freelancing, and on top of all of that, I’m always doing a million other side projects. One of those side projects is that I’m volunteering services to women who are running for office.
Is there a website or online presence for that?
There’s no website yet. It’s almost rogue/word-of-mouth right now through social media.
Fascinating. What was the reasoning behind that?
I’m always hesitant to “starting a new thing.” It’s not a separate organization per se. I can casually reach out to organizations like “She Should Run,” etc. and see how we can work together. It’s mostly working with candidates over email.
Did you always know that you wanted to write?
That’s hilarious in that, no I did not! The story starts in the tenth grade. I had an English teacher who actually told me that I was a terrible writer. And so I always felt very insecure about my writing. I’m not an academic writer. All of my professors would joke that, “This is a great paper but it’s not written in an academic style.”
My interests shifted a bunch during and after college. At one point, I wanted to be President, so when I got to college, I joined student government and loved politics. But I hated the practical parts of it, like actually having to do student government—there was so much bureaucracy. So realization that was an interesting moment for me.
I went to Wesleyan, which has a rich media scene, and we have a campus blog that’s been around for years. When I started writing and working on that, it was the beginning of my realization that, “Oh, I like writing!”
I didn’t go to school for journalism or anything — I double majored in government and sociology. As a kid, I thought writers were novelists who didn’t make much money. If my seventeen-year-old-self saw myself now, I think she would be so confused as to what happened. [laughs]
You’re clearly very active on Twitter and you’ve grown a large following! How do you balance staying plugged in with staying sane? Have any of your news consumption habits changed?
I love the term “work-life integration.” I don’t follow a plan to stay plugged-in or the opposite. I just do what feels right and intuitive. One nice thing about having a bigger Twitter following is that it forces me to take a step back and think about what I am tweeting.
With that said, I still tweet constantly. I gained my following pretty quickly after one of my tweets went viral. It made me step back and it helped me step away from it. Even now, I really try to take at least a day off from work. Like on Saturdays, I’ll spend some time away from the news. Twitter has been super helpful for If you look through my tweets, I didn’t tweet about politics after the election. But now I am very political on my Twitter. Now my leanings are just much more out there.
Aside from becoming more political on Twitter, did any of your news consumption habits change?
I think I just started following a lot of email newsletters, more stuff than I normally did. I’ve always thought of myself as well-read, and I’m also chasing after a wider diversity of voices. You also really have to double-check sources on stories. Even if I agree with a piece of news, I’ll take a closer look at the source.
Let’s talk about self-care! What does self-care mean to you?
Self-care to me is the act of taking care of yourself, but taking care of all the parts of yourself. Emotionally, physically, mentally.
But also, an element of self-care is what makes you feel better. A lot of people say “this is what you should be doing.” But in reality, self-care is whatever makes you personally feel rejuvenated, refreshed, or all of the above.
What are some self-care routines or practices you try to fit into your life?
I actually just wrote a piece about self-care for Teen Vogue. It turns out that Americans are more stressed now than ever.
To be honest, regarding self-care routines, I follow none of them. But what I hope to be doing is a balance of doing something physical and social. In reality, when I want to take a break I’ll veg out with some Netflix and chill. (I’m currently watching The O.C. on Hulu.)
Like everyone else, I like to eat good food and read. I try to read for 20-30 minutes each day. Right now I’m reading a biography of Golda Meir, who was the first female leader of the state of Israel.
One of my goals is to become more active and social. A friend of mine emailed me recently about joining the neighborhood kickball league, so I might do that. I’m trying to do things a little more out of my comfort zone. I’d like to move from more sedentary self-care to more active routines.
Do you have any specific products or brands that you’re loving right now?
I have like, twelve different, weird face masks. I have an entire shelf dedicated.
For snacking, I am a huge Sourpatch Kids person.
The other big thing — which is actually a re-entry into my life — I’ll just eat a bowl of cake batter without the eggs. [laughs]
Which women are inspiring you right now?
My mom. She’s a straight-up badass bitch. I’m originally from Northeast Florida. She recently stormed Senator Marco Rubio’s office. Her house was the staging area for neighborhood’s Hillary For America campaign. She’s an inspiration!
Favorite vacation spot?
Durango, Colorado. I grew up at the beach, so I love mountains and outdoorsy things. Durango is this adorable tiny town, three hours out from anywhere, and I’ve been there twice.
You can follow Lily on Twitter @lkherman.
Each week, we explore how busy, badass, and creative women take time out of their lives to relax and treat themselves to a girls’ night in. Check back next week for another interview with a #GNIwoman.
As told to Alisha Ramos, February 2017. Photography by Heather Sten.