MyTube: Teen Writer Hazel Cills Shares Her 5 Formative YouTube Clips


MyTube: Teen Writer Hazel Cills Shares Her 5 Formative YouTube Clips


This is the first installment of our new series, MyTube, which asks some of our favorite web dwellers to escort us through their own personal YouTube hall of fame. 

Asked what she’s working on rn, Hazel Cills responds: “on slowly, but steadily, trying to take over the Internet.” Girl’s well on her way. A staff writer for Rookie  and an in-demand freelancer (Paper, Oyster, Nylon, Rolling Stone, Vice), nineteen-year-old Cills is a digital native whose sharp words work like a garburator on the worst of old media. Her most recent article for Rookie, “Kids Won’t Listen: Why I’m sick of articles about teenage girls written by grown-up men,” pilloried the condescending male critic, an all-too-familiar figure to XXs working in press; it did so with the exact self-aware humor her targets lack, and garnered her heaps of tweets of praise.

Cills grew up in New Jersey and online. Her first memories of the net were playing Neopets and Doll Makers and frequenting She’s been tweeting since the age of fourteen and admits she’s, “probably addicted at this point.” Cills also Tumbls, Instagrams, and has her Face in the Book. She loves her feeds, though she considers herself more of a “deep web user”: she’ll often become consumed with a topic—say, ye-ye pop stars—and research it until the hyperlinks start looping back on themselves.

We’re giddy to have Hazel Cills, the poster child of new media, share five of her favorite streaming videos for our inaugural edition of our new weekly series, MyTube.

1. Huggy Bear on The Word
Though riot grrl has a seriously problematic history, it was a genre of music, writing, and a branch of feminist culture that really made me excited to be a girl. I live my life by the manifesto tenet, “we must take over the means of production in order to create our own meanings.” All I heard were girls kicking ass, which is why Huggy Bear’s infamous performance of their song “Her Jazz” on The Word is so fun. I had already loved punk, but Huggy Bear’s punk seemed to cool to be true: being as tough or more tough than boys, “breaking the porcelain right-wing freedoms,” and making serious noise. This was everything I wanted to be at age 15.

2. Alexander McQueen
When I was in 6th grade, I took a fashion illustration course for teens at Moore College of Art. At the time, I was wholefully obsessed with clothing. But my knowledge was still very limited; I really only perceived fashion as a beautiful product made in a store. I specifically remember sitting on the classroom floor and watching Alexander McQueen runway videos and it was in that moment that I realized fashion was way more than Tory Burch flats and Michael Kors monogrammed handbags. To see Shalom Harlow get spray-painted by two robot paint-guns might now seem basic to the average fashion editor, but at age 12, it totally changed my perspective of how super cool clothing could be.

3. Growing Up with John Waters
I basically (try) to live my life in regards to WWJWD (What Would John Waters Do?) One of the first big things I ever wrote for Rookie was a sit-down interview with him in his Baltimore home and I honestly don’t think I’m ever going to interview anyone greater. Everything he says is my gospel. He taught me it’s okay to revel in society’s definition of bad taste, no matter how weird or perverted the world may think it is. It’s so hard to pick a favorite interview with him, because I’ve seen so many, but this old interview on Channel 4 where he talks about his childhood and teen years is really good.

4. Art Thoughtz: Curators
I discovered “Hennessy Youngman’s” (aka Jayson Musson’s) Art Thoughtz when I was in high school, before I was ever studying art. I can’t remember how or where I found his videos, though he’s majorly popular now, but at the time it was the perfect supplement to me trying to educate myself about contemporary art before college. Now it’s impossible for me to learn about Bruce Nauman with a straight face. It’s hard to pick a favorite video but I love this one on curators, in which Youngman suggests to bring them a rose so there’s “little doubt about your intentions.” The ironic thing is that I took a course last year on art theory and Musson came to talk to our class about art.

5. The Thing Transformation Scene
I really love horror and sci-fi, especially books and movies with monsters or creatures in them. Whether it was Freddy Krueger dream sequences, Cenobites, or Isabelle Adjani screaming on a subway platform, ‘80s horror was very definitive for me. The lack of CGI and inventive monsters made me what I want from a scary movie, which isn’t as much the desire to be scared as it is the desire to see some weird shit. I always come back to this scene in John Carpenter’s 1982 version of The Thing, the film about a shape-shifting, parasitic alien who attacks the inhabitants of a research station in the middle of Antartica. This very gross scene, in which the station’s doctor attempts to revive an already infected colleague, is one of the weirdest parts of the movie.