Hillary Clinton Tells Yara Shahidi and Gen Z to Be the Change

Hillary Clinton and Yara Shahidi - H Getty 2017
Getty Images

The former presidential candidate was interviewed by the 'Black-ish' actress at the Teen Vogue Summit.

Hillary Clinton addressed next gen activists Saturday morning at the Teen Vogue Summit in Playa Vista, where she was interviewed onstage by Black-ish actress Yara Shahidi. Her biggest message? "Vote. This is the most inclusive, diverse, thoughtful generation. If you vote, we're going to win."

Holding forth on everything from mentorship to her news diet, Clinton took questions from Shahidi and the audience, where the most burning concern was: "Is everything going to be OK? We just want you both to say everything is going to be OK."

The summit was the latest stop for the former presidential candidate, who has been touring with her book What Happened. She took a moment to address the sweeping tax plan passed overnight by the Senate: "This could not be a more blatant and insulting attack on working Americans," Clinton said, adding that the plan benefits billionaires but eliminates cuts given to teachers who buy their own school supplies for their students.

Shahidi asked Clinton if she regretted not taking on Trump when he stalked her onstage during the second presidential debate last year, a subject the former Secretary of State addresses in her book. "I knew he’d be desperate because the Access Hollywood tapes had just came out where he basically confesses to sexual assault," Clinton explained. "So I said, we have to be calm and I maintained by composure. But afterwards, I thought about that, and what would have happened if I spun around and said, 'You love to intimidate women, but back up you creep!' I think it would have been really satisfying. But I also think given the way women are covered...they would have said she can’t take it...or we don’t want an angry woman in the oval office."

Clinton urged young women in the audience to be part of the changing culture. "We have to make it not only safe for women, we have to make it possible for us to express a full range of human emotion…without being so negatively judged. Remember when he called me a nasty woman? All of that stuff he did didn’t end up hurting him that much because men are given a much broader range of emotions to demonstrate their authentic feelings."

"Be part of the changing culture so it’s not viewed as disqualifying if you’re standing up for yourself and speaking up for yourself," Clinton said.

Hosted by the magazine’s Editor-in-Chief Elaine Welteroth, the Teen Vogue Summit is bringing together business, tech and civic leaders including director Ava DuVernay, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Black Lives Matter leader DeRay Mckesson, author Luvvie Ajayi and more for two days of keynotes, workshops and mentoring experiences. The magazine secured Clinton as guest editor and cover star of a special edition hitting newsstands Dec. 5, an announcement that was made shortly after the title announced it would be shuttering its regular print edition, instead focusing on keepsake issues and consumer events like the summit.

Teen Vogue's "woke" coverage of political issues over the past two years has put the magazine in the national spotlight, drawing ire from some critics (Tucker Carlson among the most vocal). Clinton writes that she "jumped at the chance" to guest-edit an issue after Welteroth extended the invitation. In an editor's letter, published online ahead of the issue's release, Clinton praised the magazine as well as the resilience of teen girls who have become involved in politics in the past year. 

"I love seeing articles about the search for the perfect makeup remover next to essays about running for office (I have strong opinions on both topics, but we’ll get to that later)," Clinton writes. "Teen girls are a powerful force for good in the world, and it’s refreshing to see that reflected in these pages."

In the letter, Clinton also gave a preview about what readers can expect from the issue — from personal anecdotes about her "hero," daughter Chelsea, to dialogue about some of the country's more divisive issues. "I had a lot of fun answering questions from readers whose politics differ from my own," she adds. Clinton also wrote a letter to her teenage self.