How To Find Inspiration For Creating Viral Content, Katherine Young Creator of the Girls’ Life Magazine Cover Meme, Episode 52

Katherine Young is a designer and social media marketing professional who is well-known for her viral Girls’ Life meme where she recreated the cover of its airbrushed model magazine cover with that of a relatable and natural teenager. Her meme has been viral for over four-years now and it’s left an impact on girls worldwide. During our chat, Katherine and I spoke about creativity along with the courage you need to create, the surprising “dark side” of going viral, and about the biggest hindrance in creativity for adults. Such a thoughtful and inspiring conversation from someone who attended college for graphic design and went to work for the Walt Disney Company (despite 27-plus rejection letters) where she learned from the best of the best and began running large social media accounts.

To date, Katherine has been doing design and social media marketing professionally for more than a decade. She has created internationally viral content that has been featured by The Huffington Post, TODAY, Minnesota Public Radio, and many more. She currently works in nonprofit, supporting libraries, and education. Truly a creative renaissance woman!

What’s Katherine up to now? How to Discuss Politics Online is the new book by Katherine Young that shows us how to spot marketing tactics in online political posts. This book shows exactly how we are targeted with these tactics that make us want to share divisive content. This extremely timely read cuts through the deception with easy to understand clarity and featuring real examples. The book covers online etiquette, marketing tactics, how to spot troll accounts, fake news, and so much more! The book debuted as a #1 New Release in Communications & Media Studies on Amazon. This book was inspired by Katherine’s professional marketing career and experience creating internationally-known viral content.

The designer who earlier poignantly called out the marketing about women’s bodies with her Girls’ Life meme is now taking aim at political propaganda. Katherine is now going after political memes marketed to us every day with her new book being our guide. Her marketing lens once again casts a new light on what these political posts are really promoting to us.


  • Story: What’s the story behind the Girls’ Life cover that went viral?
  • Courage: Let’s talk about having the courage to speak up?
  • Rejection: Katherine shares her wall of shame i.e. Disney rejection letters
  • Accidental or intentional: Katherine shares how she did not get ready to go viral
  • Trolls and consequences: Key lessons of going viral
  • Dreaming vs. doing: can you hire someone to help you go viral?
  • Impact: making a difference locally vs. at Disney
  • Significance: must you be a famous creative to feel important?
  • Political memes and fake news: learn about How to Discuss Politics Online
  • Fueling inspiration: should you create things out of frustration? Out of joy?
  • Vulnerability: what is minimization? A survival tactic? Not wanting to stand out
  • Insecurities: some people don’t feel qualified but that’s often so untrue
  • Joy: Katherine shares what she has created due to joy
  • Creative: the biggest hindrance of creativity for adults is…
  • Time: 7 pm to 2 am is enough time to do damage as per Gary Vaynerchuk (a prior podcast guest)
  • Wisdom: your creativity is not responsible for paying your rent
  • Value: There is value in your best piece of work and best piece of work
  • Fear: To create a masterpiece or not, it’s scary either way whether it’s a good piece or a “bad” piece
  • Next: what’s next for Katherine? We discuss what is a stable dream – working for a big brand like Disney or taking a bet on yourself?

Links to quench your curiosity:

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Melissa Llarena

Melissa helps movers and shakers up to those in the corner office rediscover what makes them unique so that they can land their dream job in a forward-thinking company where their ideas are listened to, valued, and supported.

She brings insights from having worked in 16-business units (including Human Resources) in NY, Paris, and London. Additionally, in her former corporate career, she worked on billion-dollar brands for P&G and on IBM for Ogilvy & Mather. Later, as the founder and CEO of Career Outcomes Matter, Melissa created a 3-step “sellable strengths” process which has been the centerpiece of her clients' results.

Melissa applies this method consistently to support mid-level professionals up to the c-suite to get into Fortune Global 500 organizations and agencies. She studied Psychology at NYU and earned her MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.

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