My Internet: Tahirah Hairston
The writer makes moodboards for everything.
Embedded is your essential guide to what’s good on the internet, written by Kate Lindsay and edited by Nick Catucci.
Most weeks, we quiz a “very online” person for their essential guide to what’s good on the internet.
Today we welcome Tahirah Hairston, a writer and former Teen Vogue fashion and beauty director who recently published two widely-shared stories in The Cut: a hard look at the fashion brand Pyer Moss that the journalist Evette Dionne called “a feat of culture journalism” and a “meet-cute” with Jonathan Majors in which he revealed how to make someone fall in love: “‘Send a text message with a song. My song of choice would be “Come Over,” by Aaliyah. Then only wear sweatpants. You then have to watch Love Jones–slash–Love & Basketball …’”
Tahirah, who plans to start a newsletter next month, makes Pinterest moodboards for her vacations, became a Letterboxd girl after she quit Twitter, and lets her grandma respond to mean comments on her Instagram. —Nick
[Jonathan Majors voice] “I don’t want to know if you like Embedded or not. I really care more that you took the time to subscribe.”
EMBEDDED: What’s a recent meme or other post that made you laugh?
TAHIRAH HAIRSTON: This TikTok of Bernie Sanders being annoyed with Tiktok dancers because same.
EMBEDDED: What shows up on your TikTok For You page?
TAHIRAH HAIRSTON: Lots of Succession, Abbott Elementary, astrology stuff, Jalen Hurts interviews, Beyonceeee, fashion show reviews, music teachers breaking down singing, and funny memes.
EMBEDDED: Has your Twitter experience changed since Elon Musk took over?
TAHIRAH HAIRSTON: It’s been two years since I quit Twitter. I wanted to take a Twitter break for 30 days, and if you don’t log back in after 30 days they delete your account, so I just went with it and my life has been better since. I always felt like Twitter made me have takes on everything (even things I didn’t care about) and it’s not as fun as it used to be. But, there are still very funny people on there.
EMBEDDED: Have you found any good alternatives to Twitter?
TAHIRAH HAIRSTON: I’m now a Letterboxd girl, which is so fun because I still get to complain about movies I hate and praise movies I love, but no one cares and it won’t ever go viral. It’s like my own little diary. Oh, and GoodReads too.
EMBEDDED: What do you use Instagram for?
TAHIRAH HAIRSTON: I mostly use Instagram to post funny TikToks, promote my work, discover new talent for work (photographers, models, stylists, makeup, hair) and post photos of myself when I’m feeling hot.
EMBEDDED: What types of videos do you watch on YouTube?
TAHIRAH HAIRSTON: I usually watch artists talks on YouTube (recommended by my friend Ciarra, who is an artist), old interviews and music videos, documentaries and, before the show came to Netflix, Girlfriends.
EMBEDDED: Have you had posts go viral? What is that experience like?
TAHIRAH HAIRSTON: A few years ago, I made this stupid comment about Solange Knowles and Kim Kardashian that went viral. I was so embarrassed because an hour later I didn’t even mean it, which is why I hate Twitter—everything is so unnecessarily permanent. I deleted it.
Most recently, I wrote a story for New York magazine about the fashion brand Pyer Moss that went viral, or at least it felt like it. I felt so overwhelmed because people were having conversations in my Instagram comments (both praising me and telling me that I suck). I had to delete Instagram off my phone because I felt so overwhelmed. There were some really funny tweets that I appreciated though.
EMBEDDED: Who’s the coolest person who follows you?
TAHIRAH HAIRSTON: Gabrielle Union and Mara Brock Akil follow me on Instagram, which is so cool to me because I grew up watching all of their shows and movies. My grandma follows me on Instagram and always responds to people who are mean in my comments which is so funny.
EMBEDDED: Who’s someone more people should follow?
TAHIRAH HAIRSTON: Ciarra K. Walters is my friend that I mentioned earlier, she’s an artist and she is just so knowledgeable about art history in general and always recommends shows to see, gives her reviews, shows her work and asks thought provoking questions using art.
Are you wearing that by Subrina Heyink—my favorite newsletter about personal style and quality shopping.
EMBEDDED: Which big celebrity has your favorite internet presence, and why?
TAHIRAH HAIRSTON: Pedro Pascal, he’s so goofy and hot.
EMBEDDED: Where do you tend to get your news?
TAHIRAH HAIRSTON: Mostly newsletters from New York magazine, Washington Post and New York Times.
(a weekly shopping newsletter from Laura Reilly), Alison Roman’s , my friend Jalil (an incredible dresser) just launched his newsletter called , and .
EMBEDDED: What are your favorite Substack or other independent newsletters?
EMBEDDED: Are you into any podcasts right now? How and when do you usually listen?
EMBEDDED: How has using LinkedIn benefitted you, if at all?
TAHIRAH HAIRSTON: I recently started using LinkedIn more for networking for jobs. I’ve gotten some really great gigs and connections from there.
EMBEDDED: Have you ever been heavily into Snapchat? Do you miss it?
TAHIRAH HAIRSTON: No, I was never a Snapchat user but all my younger cousins use it.
EMBEDDED: When was the last time you browsed Pinterest? What for?
TAHIRAH HAIRSTON: I love Pinterest. I make moodboards for everything on there: vacations, my home, fall and summer wardrobes, creative decks for work.
EMBEDDED: Do you have an opinion about Tumblr?
TAHIRAH HAIRSTON: Tumblr was when the internet was more good than bad.
EMBEDDED: Are you in any groups on Reddit, Discord, Slack, or Facebook?
TAHIRAH HAIRSTON: No.
EMBEDDED: Do you typically start searches on Google, Reddit, TikTok, or another source?
TAHIRAH HAIRSTON: I typically use Google, if I’m searching for a specific article or new stories. I’ll use TikTok if I’m searching for a funny joke or meme. Reddit, I use to search for deep dive opinions on shows and movies.
EMBEDDED: What most excites you about AI text and art generators? What most concerns you?
TAHIRAH HAIRSTON: I love ChatGPT for writing emails because that is truly the most mundane and time-consuming part of my job. So, I think it’s interesting for that, like a mini assistant. I love the idea of it helping to make work like that a bit easier.
Most concerns me: That it means we’ll be spending even more time online and not outside.
EMBEDDED: Do you have any predictions for cryptocurrency, the metaverse, and/or Web3?
TAHIRAH HAIRSTON: No, I truly don’t understand any of it and I also don’t care to know.
EMBEDDED: Are you currently playing any games on your computer or phone?
TAHIRAH HAIRSTON: I do Wordle, The New York Times Crossword, and Spelling Bee everyday on the NYT app.
EMBEDDED: What’s your most-used messaging app?
TAHIRAH HAIRSTON: iMessage
EMBEDDED: What’s your go-to emoji, and what does it mean to you?
TAHIRAH HAIRSTON: My favorite emoji is the crying one which I use when something is really funny.
EMBEDDED: Do you text people voice notes? If not, how do you feel about getting them?
TAHIRAH HAIRSTON: I send voice notes when I have gossip or a long story to tell. I like getting voice notes from my friends, but not people I don’t know well.
EMBEDDED: What’s a playlist, song, album, or style of music you’ve listened to a lot lately?
TAHIRAH HAIRSTON: Playlist: I love all the mixes/playlist from Born n Bread on Soundcloud.
Song/Album: I’ve been listening to Shoot For The Stars, Aim For The Moon by Pop Smoke + How Do I by Res
EMBEDDED: Do you pay for a music streaming service, and if so, which one? When was the last time you bought a music download or vinyl record, CD, or tape?
TAHIRAH HAIRSTON: I bought Beyonce’s “Cuff It” remix a few weeks ago. I subscribe to Spotify.
EMBEDDED: If you could only keep one streaming service for TV and/or movies, which would it be, and why?
TAHIRAH HAIRSTON: Wow, I’m going to pick one for movies and one for TV.
For TV, I’d keep HBO Max because it has so many of my comfort shows that I rewatch over and over again (Sopranos, Sex and the City, Living Single) and some of my favorite new shows.
For Movies, I'd use Amazon Prime because they have so many old movies that you can not only watch but rent, plus within the service you can subscribe to other movie platforms like Mubi. Also, I love that when you watch movies on Amazon Prime on the side of the screen there’s an option to see the actors and facts about the movie. A close second would be Criterion.
EMBEDDED: What’s your favorite non-social media app?
TAHIRAH HAIRSTON: Open is a great new mediation app that I’ve been using lately.
EMBEDDED: What’s the most basic internet thing that you love?
TAHIRAH HAIRSTON: Literally, that you learn about almost anything and go down a rabbit hole to find books, movies, essays on the topic. That’s my favorite thing to do. It’s really cool.
EMBEDDED: Is there any content you want but can’t seem to find anywhere online?
TAHIRAH HAIRSTON: Lots of old movies and stories and photoshoots from old magazine issues.
EMBEDDED: Do you regularly use eBay, Depop, or other shopping platforms? What’s a recent thing you’ve bought or sold?
TAHIRAH HAIRSTON: I use Vestaire, eBay, and The Real Real. I recently bought a pair of hot pink Balenciaga heels for this wedding I’m going to next month.
EMBEDDED: Have you recently read an article, book, or social media post about the internet that you’ve found particularly insightful?
TAHIRAH HAIRSTON: I love Adrienne Maree Brown’s We Will Not Cancel Us. It’s a really easy and short read that I go back to often.
EMBEDDED: What’s the last thing that brought you joy online?
TAHIRAH HAIRSTON: The Recess Therapy TikTok account.
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