Weezie Hype Girl: Avery Carpenter Forrey

Tell us a bit about yourself!
 
To really start at the beginning, I was born on the night before Halloween: Mischief Night. I live for elaborate costumes and strong cocktails, which has made social distancing interesting for my quarantine crew (my husband and sister). I grew up in Greenwich, CT and now live in NYC—though I’ve recently been hunkering down back in CT.
 
I went to Vanderbilt (Lindsey was my roommate!) and studied English and Communication Studies. Since graduating, I’ve worked in media—first as an Associate Producer on Katie Couric’s talk show, and then as a founding team member, writer, and editor at theSkimm. Since last summer, I’ve been consulting while I finish up my MFA degree in Fiction at NYU. Both Weezie and theSkimm are my clients; I feel so lucky to work for brands with incredible female founders and products I use every day! 
 
My day-to-day varies but most mornings, I write fiction for my NYU thesis. In the afternoons, I’ll shift to consulting work. I usually manage to fit a bath in there too, paired with my Weezie short robe. 
 
So many of us at Weezie rely on theSkimm for our daily news before starting our day. You worked as one of their very first writers, most recently as a Managing Editor, and played a critical role in bringing How to Skimm Your Life to our bookshelves! Can you tell us a bit about your time at theSkimm? What were the early days like? 
 
Exhilarating and exhausting. We were a small team of about eight people for the first year I worked there, meaning everyone wore a lot of hats. I started as a Daily Skimm writer and loved seeing our work shape conversations among my friends. One of my favorite parts about theSkimm is that from the get-go, the founders didn’t conceive of the brand as simply a media or news company—it’s also a tech company, constantly innovating on new ways to fit into the routines of millennial women. After writing for the newsletter, I helped launch theSkimm’s app and most recently, became a Managing Editor and lead creative on the company’s first book, How to Skimm Your Life

 
You are currently working on your first novel - how exciting! What has the process been like? Where and when do you write, and what fuels your creativity?
 
Process” is really the best word for it! Writing a novel is unlike anything I’ve ever done professionally. I’m used to checking items off a to-do list, and finding a sense of purpose in completion. The novel’s been on my to-do list for years and I’ve learned to be more forgiving that it’s not a paint-by-numbers creative undertaking. I can’t just fill in a template. I have to create a world. On good writing days, that feels like an exciting privilege; on not-so-good writing days, it feels like I’m shouting in an empty room. 

I write in the mornings, and reading fuels my creativity. I have a stack of books that inspire me on my desk (“Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert and “Bird by Bird” by Anne Lamott are two of my favorites for a spark of creativity) and a note that says “KEEP GOING.” It’s a reminder to continue chipping away and searching for the spine of the story. 
 
 
Part of what sets theSkimm apart is its unique voice, and how big stories are distilled down in a way that is relatable and understandable - particularly important in today’s climate.  What advice do you have for those of us who are overwhelmed by the 24/7 news cycle? 
 
Two words: walk away. theSkimm put parameters around my news consumption, in the sense that I’d always read for a set few hours every day to pitch stories for the newsletter lineup. Now, I still try to keep guardrails around my news intake (though I’ve been on Twitter way too much recently). On an ideal news diet day, I wake up and read theSkimm and then set aside thirty minutes in the late afternoon to catch up on news. I love the app Pocket for saving articles I come across that I want to bookmark for later! 
 
When not writing, you and your friend Heather share your reading recommendations on your Instagram account, @aha_books.  Tell us more about the account (we love your emoji ranking system!) With the current climate, we’re finding ourselves spending even more time in our robes with a good read! Can you share your can’t-miss books of the moment?!

Lighter read: “Daisy Jones & The Six” by Taylor Jenkins Reid. If you haven’t read this one yet, believe the hype and get a copy now! Written as an oral history, Daisy Jones follows a fictional band with Fleetwood Mac vibes [five wine glasses, one nerd emoji] 

Suspense: “You Will Know Me” by Megan Abbott. A gymnastics team of Simon Biles-esque prodigies, a mysterious death, and a family at the center of it all...this one is a balancing act of taut prose and suspense. Spoiler: Abbott sticks the landing. [four wine glasses, two nerd emojis] 

Other serious fiction: “The Immortalists” by Chloe Benjamin. Four young siblings go to a fortune teller who tells them when they’re going to die. You’ll get lost in the characters and questions about destiny [four wine glasses, two nerd emojis] 

Historical fiction: “Rules of Civility” by Amor Towles. I know that “A Gentleman in Moscow” is a Weezie HQ fave but I also adore this Amor Towles book. Think Gossip Girl but in the late 1930s. [five wine glasses, two nerd emojis] 

Non-fiction: “Uncanny Valley” by Anna Weiner. A firsthand account of Silicon Valley gone wrong 

3 Books on tape: “Heartburn” by Nora Ephron (narrated by Meryl Streep! Enough said), “Bossypants” by Tina Fey, “Born a Crime” by Trevor Noah (both narrated by the authors) All: [five wine glass emojis, one nerd emoji] 


 
How do you make sure you are enjoying your stay on the daily? 

A bath with lavender salts and a good book! 

 

QuickFire: 

Favorite coffee table book: How to Skimm Your Life (shameless plug) and a gorgeous David Hockney book I was recently gifted. 

Favorite hostess must haves: Games! Code Names is my favorite right now 

Favorite apps/productivity apps: Pocket, Forest 

Favorite place you’ve traveled: India. I did the Golden Triangle with my family a year ago and it was unforgettable 

Last show you binge-watched: Love Is Blind 

Newsletters you subscribe to and look forward to reading: 

  1. The Skimm :) 

  2. Girls Night In 

  3. Media Morning Daily 

 

Pick one of each, from each question. 

Your towel time is: pick one of each.  

If you follow Weezie on Instagram, you might have seen Avery's takeover on our story! She left some great tips on maintaining news consumption and her favorite quarantine reads. If you missed it, not to worry! We saved it on our COVID-19 Resources highlight, you can take the direct link here