Why Girl Crushes and Creativity Are Intertwined

There’s a really great article in this month’s W Magazine on girl crushes. It does seem that the phenomenon gets a big story every couple of years, like this one that I devoured in 2005, and wrote about myself. And yes, it’s another one of those articles I’m annoyed I didn’t write myself. (What else is new?) Still, I like this one especially, because it talks about how creativity and girl crushes are, in some weird way, intertwined. That we so often have girl crushes on those who are creating just the things that we wish we had created ourselves, or those who make us feel like we too can live our dreams. We don’t just want to be friends with them, we kind of want to be them.

Says writer (and my new gc?) Thessaly la Force:

“The ‘girl crush’ may sound ­silly, but sometimes it takes something ­unserious to get us talking about a serious subject: the ambitions of young creative women and the need for ­worthy role models. Among my own nominees for inaugural members of the Girl Crush Hall of Fame are Zadie Smith, with her daring, brilliance, and wild success; Joan ­Didion, with her cool, spare prose; Patti Smith, with her soul and wisdom; Sofia Coppola, with her chic grace and unmistakable taste; and Tina Fey, with her goofy smile and razor wit. Each of them has accomplished something the rest of us dream of doing. And because they’ve done it, we feel we can too.”

Yes, yes, yes to Zadie Smith and Didion and Tina Fey. I often find myself staring at the picture of Joan Didion on the back of The Year of Magical Thinking, dissecting the way she leans over the railing, eying her daughter and husband while wearing that cool flowy dress with the ocean backdrop, and will myself to be her in that moment. She’s just, so… cool.

See for yourself.

Writing wise, I feel similarly about Mindy Kaling, of course. And Jhumpa Lahiri. And Sloane Crosley. And Jenny Lawson (who I’ll be doing a panel with at Printer’s Row! OMG!)

Who would you add to the Girl Crush Hall of Fame? (Keep in mind, I think this is a very different question than the BFF one. I don’t think Joan Didion and I would be BFFs. I would be way too nerdy fan girl for her.)


Filed under The Search

21 responses to “Why Girl Crushes and Creativity Are Intertwined

  1. That photo makes my heart skip a beat thinking of The Year of Magical Thinking. Isn’t Didion amazing?

    Oh, girl crushes. I will add to the author list: Marilynne Robinson (Gilead, Home, and Housekeeping are her fiction works). She also happens to live in my city, so when I see her, it is all I can do to not beg her to finish another book. And the fabulous Grace Bonney from Design*Sponge, who is downright normal in spite of her success.


  2. Virginia

    Ooh!! Girl crushes. I totally have one on Tina Fey. And Mayim Bialik. And Phillipa Gregory. And Audrey Niffenegger.

    I’d blush while meeting any of these ladies!!

  3. Kristen A.

    Rachel Maddow, although I kind of want to be BFFs with her, too. She’s brilliant, goofy, and charming all at once, plus she knows a lot about cocktails.

  4. I’ll second Rachel Maddow. And maybe Christian Amanpour. Who else…definitely Tina Fey…I am forgetting some. I seem to have a million!

  5. Even though she’s a fictional character, I have a total crush on Joan from Mad Men!

  6. no wonder i love britney spears so much and avril

  7. Janet

    It’s Jhumpa Lahiri, not Jumpha, but I’m with you…

  8. Without a second thought, I’d add you first! I totally totally love you, and your style of writing.

    I love Nora Roberts, and a couple of others too! Mucho love.

  9. Joy the Baker hands down. She couldn’t be more fabulous, and she inspires me in a variety of ways. Also, professionally for me Shelley Bernstein head of technology at the Brooklyn Museum – almost everything they do blows my mind. I think it is true that you secretly want to be them.

  10. Great post Rachel! Jane Didion and Anne Patchett and Anne Lamott top my list. So inspiring!

  11. I have a girl crush on you, lady. No joke.

  12. None of my girl crushes are famous . . . at least, not to anyone but me. I have friends with biting wit that I admire, and friends who have the patience to help me add a WOW factor to my blog. I also have friends who throw caution to the wind and just GO FOR IT. and friends who are completely organized and responsible.

  13. DJ

    Sloane Crosley is on my list, too, along with Amy Poehler!

  14. I have a girl crush on Helen Mirren. She is just fantastic.
    Like “the white wave” above, I also have crushes on friends and acquaintances who I admire and would like to emulate in one way or another.
    Is the Jenny Lawson panel your only event at Printer’s Row? I think it’s already sold out 😦

  15. Faith

    I really enjoy your blog but I wish you could have taken a second to come up with a better phrase than “girl crush.” I know it’s used in the previous articles, but since this is a blog about friendship, I would hope you would respect your (current? future?) lesbian friends. The phrase “girl-crush” is a product of heteronormativity and assumes that any crush between two girls is anything but sexual. I’d love to hear a new phrase for this phenomenon that’s more appropriate to 2012, when we have women marrying their girl crushes.

  16. -

    oh my. lauren ambrose, drew barrymore, anais nin, anne lamott. total infatuations. why? is this like make a wish, girl crush style? please oh please!

  17. Res

    Okay – this is so weird, but I am new to your blog (just read MWF seeks BFF) and then happened to read “The Year of Magical Thinking” and BAM, there it is on your blog . . .
    So today, I would have to say that I would like to meet you! Apparently your taste in writers and the types of things you write are intriguing to me. You have inspired me to be more active in finding new friends – THANK YOU!

  18. Girl crush on Diana Gabaldon with her Outlander series, Tess Gerritsen with her Rizzoli & Isles series. I aspire to be able to write as well as they do someday.

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