What’s Your Origin Story?

origin story

To celebrate our second anniversary of Literally, Darling, we decided to let you peek behind the curtain and hear how some of our writers came to join our merry band of darlings. So sit back and read about your favorite writers, delve into their back catalogues, and help us celebrate our #2DarlingYears!

Haley Herfurth

Joined: August 2013

Story: Wow, where to begin? I first came across LD because they favorited a tweet of mine featuring a video of elephants playing the piano (because duh, it’s elephants playing a piano!). I started following them on Twitter, and that was that. I was a recent college grad working a new job at her alma mater and desperately looking for another creative outlet. I submitted a guest piece about reading lists (which was seriously a dire subject in my life at that time) and Hope accepted it and I legitimately felt like a celebrity. After she accepted the story, she tagged on, “If you’re ever interested in becoming a staff writer, please let us know!” and I was like “BOY AM I.” So here I am, nearly two years later, working as a managing editor for this site that has grown so much in such a short span of time. I’ve made some of my best friends here at LD, and they’ve been here for me through some crazy life changes. To say I love Literally, Darling would be a vast understatement. Happy birthday, you crazy website.

First Article: How Reading Lists (Almost) Ruined My Life


Rachel Francis

Joined: January 2014

Story: I happened upon Literally, Darling in December 2013 and immediately fell head-over-heels in love with the site and the content. I mustered up the courage to pitch an article idea about dating an older man that Haley, the managing editor, intercepted. To my shock she wrote back saying she was interested! I wrote a very long and heinous first article that actually referenced the super-cringy couple, Doug Hutchison and Courtney Stodden, and sent the masterpiece off. After a little back and forth we cut out the shitty parts (my bad on the Doug and Courtney joke) and my article was scheduled. Haley asked me if I had any other interesting topics to write about and two more articles I wrote were ran as guest posts. It was at this point that I decided my lifelong dream of being a writer was being fulfilled and I wrote Haley an overzealous (read: creepy and LD-stalker type) email explaining that I was going to write two articles a month and send them to her along with a long list of topics and ideas. I told her she would run my articles and then in the future I could up it to four articles a month and went on and on for ages in the email. To my immediate horror and embarrassment she promptly wrote back and told me the calm the F down, I will not be hiring myself to LD and they were not bringing me on as a staff writer. I died of embarrassment and deleted her info from my computer so that when I was drinking away the pain that evening I couldn’t drunk email her begging her to let me be on the site and be my friend. A week or so later, much to my surprise, she emailed me and asked me to join the team and it has been a true love affair ever since.

First Article: My Boyfriend is 27 Years Older Than Me and It’s No Big Deal


Kelsey Wallour

Joined: December 2013

Story: The first time I heard about LD was when I read Hope’s “Loving Someone With Depression: How To Cope” that had been reposted on HuffPo. I loved it so much that I clicked the link back to the LD site and probably read, commented on, and shared at least half of the existing articles. I started interacting with LD on social media and immediately fell in love with the personality of the site. I was poking around on the site and stumbled upon the directions for how to submit a piece. I had always been told by teachers and professors that I was a good writer, and I was just enamored enough with the site that I decided to give it a shot. I carefully crafted my email on why I thought I would be a good fit and sent it off… only to have it rejected by one of the editors (that is no longer active on LD) because they supposedly didn’t have room for any more writers. But I was encouraged to submit a guest piece, which I sent off and Katie enthusiastically accepted with very few edits, which astounded me. I promptly sent in a second, baring my soul, and then a third ranting on a nutrition topic. After I sent in the third, Katie asked me to come on as a staff writer, and hooked me in with the comment that “your articles are fantastic, and you pump them out like it’s going out of style” (because, yes, I still have the email). I signed on as a full-time staff writer and have never regretted it. Being me, I never do anything halfway, and the ladies I write with take it all in stride. Writing for LD has literally been life-changing and I love the site, and my fellow authors, to the moon and back.

First Article: “Coming Out Of The Mental Illness Closet” (oh my god look how far I’ve come!)


Lindsey Collins

Joined: October 2013

Story: After I graduated I was listless and creatively stifled. I was depressed that I would never be hired and the allure of watching Netflix all day while I applied for jobs was waning. One day my friend Haley tells me she found this amazing website that I need to check out (which I promptly do). It was amazing and I was jealous I hadn’t found it first. She says she is going to pitch a story to LD, and will I read it? I read and respond that it’s awesome, because she is awesome. They accept her quickly and she becomes the managing editor. She encouraged me to pitch, we talked about a couple ideas, but I didn’t follow through. In the midst of my post-graduation existential crisis I wavered. I felt worthless because no one was shelling out the big bucks to pay me for my English degree. One morning in September, I get an emergency text from Haley saying that the site is down an article for the day. She asks if can I send her one by 11 a.m.? Sure, I’m unemployed, unfortunately awake, I miss writing, and will never turn down the chance to tell people my opinion on, well, pretty much anything. It goes up that day and then I started working on another. I submitted and it was accepted. The next month I got an email asking me if I would like to write for them weekly. I called my mom and cried. I still wasn’t getting paid, but someone wanted me. They wanted to validate my education and tell me it wasn’t all a mistake. Less than a year later I became an Entertainment Editor and it has been the most amazing journey. Happy two years, Darlings!

First Article: It’s All Literature with a Capital ‘L’ to Me.


Amy Byrne

Joined: August 2013

In August 2013, I found myself in a funny little situation: graduated, living away from home, and newly engaged to a nice young American man. As with most of us, I stumbled across LD via Facebook: my friend Lydia wrote for the site, and I loved it so much that I sat down and frantically wrote an email to the editors with the subject line, “British postgrad looking for cyber soapbox?” … Somehow I managed to incorporate the phrase “skew-whiff” into a semi-formal email and make it seem semi-OK. For whatever reason, the Sisters Racine said yes, and so began a beautiful thing (in my eyes, at least). Over the past two years, my articles for the site have reflected all the changes in my life to the point that looking back on my own author page is like flicking through a diary. I am now living not 50 miles from the founders in the USA, I edit the fashion and beauty section, and my name has changed from Longworth to Byrne. The past two years have thrown enormous challenges at me—moving abroad and adjusting to life as a married woman, for starters—but LD has been an invaluable constant throughout the upheaval. I will forever continue to champion this stellar community of writers; darlings, you are the best.

First Article: Love The Iron: Why I Even Lift, Brah


Eric Camarillo

Joined: June 2013

Story: I first heard about LD from my friend Austin, whose music savvy I’ve always envied and admired. I got hooked onto LD with its “Aural Fixation” series. Like many of the other writers here, I was sort of in between things: in between my degree programs, in between jobs, in between cities, in between lives. I’d just come out of a master’s program, was about to enter another one, and worked from home for an online company. I was still working on my novel (I’ve become that guy), but my other writing was sort of withering. I’ve never been a strong journalistic writer and since I hate writing about myself, personal essays were never my forte. However, Austin told me that the site he wrote for was looking for new writers who could write about a variety of topics. I wrote up a quick article then and there about the repeal of DOMA and it was published within the week. Katie and Hope, and now the section editors, have proven to be the coolest people to work for. They’re ever-encouraging and always hilarious. I’ve had to scale back the amount of articles I write per month, but I’m happy that I kept going. I can’t believe it’s been two years.

First Article: Love in the Time of DOMA


Michelle Delgado

Joined: October 2013

In October 2013, I was trying to make the most of a semester abroad in Scotland, get over a breakup, and essentially figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I had been blogging regularly since the summer, but I knew that I needed to start pitching bigger publications. My best friend sent me this perfect intervention for your twenties to break up a study marathon in Costa, and by the time I was fist-pumping in agreement I knew that LD was the perfect home for a story about sorority stereotypes I’d been working on. When Katie accepted the pitch, I immediately pitched her five more ideas, and then more, and then more, until she graciously pulled me into the staff (possibly to slow the flood of emails I’d been sending). It also helped that my sorority article scored 3,500 hits and around 300 likes during its first weekend. Since then, I’ve grown to consider the women of LD some of my best friends and most down to earth mentors. Whether we are tackling Millennials, fighting off hackers, or grumpily trolling Forbes (seriously, who won the Best Sites for Women contest?!), I know that LD has my back. Wherever my writing career takes me, I hope that I will always be kicking around the site with social media plans, recipes, and stories to share.

First Article: I Thought I Didn’t Like Sorority Girls…And Then I Became One


Erin Russell

Joined: May 2013

I noticed that my friend Melissa was posting these articles for a new blog on Facebook, and I was intrigued. I had just started a (short-lived) food blog and was trying to get back into the swing of things with writing. I noticed they were taking applications for new writers, but I chickened out. Then my friend Rafiq posted that he was excited to be a new writer for Literally, Darling, and I thought, “OH HELL NO.” (I have a problem with being competitive). So I applied and in my email noted that I was a former English teacher and would be happy to copy-edit their articles. I was accepted and I’ve been fixing em dashes ever since. Ironically, the people who got me to join don’t really write for LD anymore!

First Article: Shameless


Sara Iacovelli

Joined: March 2015

I have been following LD pretty much from the beginning, and (as this tweet from June 2013 shows) have been interested in writing for LD since just about the beginning, too. Honestly, I think every one of the open calls for writers is bookmarked in my browser. So, it took about 21 months to finally get around to sending in a sample and an application. Better late than never, right? Actually, I wouldn’t have made the deadline for this past round, either, had it not been for a delayed flight to New Orleans for spring break that gave me an extra hour or two at the airport to get my sh*t together and send my stuff along to the editors. Sometimes it’s seemingly bad luck that gets us where we need to be.

First Article: On Fleetwood Mac, Reunion Tours, and Things Our Parents Teach Us


Jodie Free

Joined: March 2015

Story: I believe that I got directed to LD from a tweet back in early 2014. I’ve always loved to read women’s magazines, but as I’ve got older I’ve become frustrated with the focus on a white, middle-class and urban lifestyle, so my click to the site was likely a tentative one. As far as I can remember, the first article I read was Amy’s “Transatlanticism: A Very Long (Distance) Engagement.” Amy and I actually lead parallel lives (!) so I was thrilled to read an article I truly identified with. But it was about more than this. At the time, I felt extremely lonely because my life was so unlike other people in their 20s: I was one of the young ones in graduate school, I was engaged but in a long-distance relationship, and most of all I was a London-born woman living in a small town in Mississippi. What I loved so much about LD was that it was a multiplicity of voices, and that each writer had the freedom to express their different opinions and experiences. I felt like I was connecting with other women and men just by reading about their lives (even though I was jealous of their talent). After a few guest posts for Perspectives and Food, I applied to join the team. Even though it’s only been a month, it’s exceeded my expectations. The LD team come from all kinds of places and vantage points, but everyone shares a sense of humor, kindness, and honesty. Happy birthday, LD! I’m so thankful I get to be part of this.

First Article: My Journey As A Reluctant Housewife


Kirstie Renae

Joined: June 2013

I joined LD when it was just a wee little babe of a site, but even then I knew Katie and Hope had a very special thing on their hands and I wanted to be a part of it in any way that I could. LD was the first and only site that I came across to truly represent the Millennial generation as aware, informed, fun, smart, unique, multi-faceted and defying of stereotypes. I was friends with Katie and Hope’s cousin Melissa and had worked with her previously on a pop music blog we had started with some friends. I had never pitched or written for anyone other than myself, so I was very wary to hit “send” on my email. However, I am so grateful to have faced my fears of putting myself out there, because much to my delight I was accepted as a part of the LD community. My almost two years (eek!!) here at LD has led me through some tough times and taught me so much about myself, my abilities and my generation. I have since become a part of the site’s editorial board and man the Entertainment section with my main gal, Lindsey. Through this tight-knit community of writers, I have found inspiration, friends and support for which I can not stress enough how grateful I am. I have grown as a writer and an editor and have seen the site grow into something far more spectacular than I could have comprehended two years ago. This is just the beginning of LD’s journey and I am honored to be a part of it since the start. Happy Birthday, Literally, Darling!

First Article: Has “Hopeless Romanticism” Made Women Just Plain Hopeless?


Bridey Heing

Joined: November 2013

I found LD right after I decided to give writing a shot. I had published a few pieces around the web, and pitched an essay I wrote about being a socialist, and was thrilled when it was accepted. Shortly thereafter, I wrote a piece about ‘Doctor Who’, and after submitting it Katie and Hope asked me to join the site. It came at the perfect time—I was just beginning to consider writing a serious career path, and LD gave me the space and freedom to explore so many topics. The community of young, female writers I found here was just what I needed to make me feel part of the writing world, and it helped launch my career. Plus, when I got the email asking me to be part of the site I was wrapping up an internship from Hell and after reading said email, I could not have been more excited. It was a turning point for me professionally, and one that I often think back on now.

First Article: On Unapologetic Liberalism


Nicole Green

Joined: March 2015

I first started reading LD in late 2014. I hadn’t been on Facebook in four years and 99% of my news and entertainment came from Yahoo. I had always been a “writer,” but hadn’t really written in years. One day I read a story by Erin, who also lived in Austin, and I decided to creepily message her on LinkedIn to get more information about the site. They opened up staff writer spots a few weeks later, and I anxiously applied. When I got the email, I was at work, and I very nearly had a heart attack. I texted everyone I knew and definitely teared up. I’m so excited and honored to be a part of this team, and I can’t wait to see what the future brings!

First article: Shoshanna Shapiro: Our Generation’s Heroine


Julia Skorcz

Joined: August 2014

The first time I saw the Literally, Darling website I couldn’t for the life of me remember the name of it. I was in a 30-person lecture my first semester of freshman year and a girl a few rows ahead of me had the site pulled up on her laptop. I remembered the look of the neat green and grey banner, but what in the world was the site called?? Fast forward to second semester and I joined a sorority where one of the first girls I met was the fabulous Michelle. As we savored Mediterranean food and discussed life as an English major, she mentioned that she wrote for a magazine by the name of Literally, Darling. Voila! She encouraged me to check out the site and about six months later I applied to join LD as a social media intern. After a few months of sharing articles written by other women, I mustered up the courage to share my own. A few emails to Katie and before I knew it I had my name under that same green and grey banner. Since then I’ve published a handful of solo articles in addition to our weekly TST collabs. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to join this incredible group of women and I look forward to many more years as as a regular LD contributor. Happy birthday, LD!

First article: Confessions of a Typewriter

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