The Brightest Young Thing

Getting to Know Brightest Young Things’ Founder, Svetlana Legetic

If the guy in the Dos Equis commercial is The Most Interesting Man in the World, then Svetlana Legetic, founder and general web-publishing wizard for DC’s online magazine Brightest Young Things, might be in the running for The Most Interesting Woman. Born in Serbia (former Yugoslavia), Legetic went on to finish high school in England, returned to her homeland for Architecture school, and then moved on to spend time living in Chile. She eventually immigrated to the United States to finish her degree in Savannah, GA. Legetic has now been living in DC for some time and feels she has found a home for her metropolitan self in this metropolitan city.

When asked about DC, Legetic remarks fondly, “I just think it is perfectly livable and conquerable from a human perspective, while still offering all a major city would offer.” One thing that DC failed to offer, however, was any kind of media platform that covered all the cultural topics and local happenings that interested her.

Out of this vacuum, Brightest Young Things (aka BYT) was born. At first, BYT was “very much a part time job” for Legetic, consisting of a few friends she could recruit to write.

Of the site’s transformation from then to now she says, “I mean, it is literally like looking at a newborn and a semi-grown up kid…now it is a two major market self-sustained media property with 30 stories being produced every day, covering multiple areas of cultural interest, involving upwards of 50 contributors, with multiple flagship yearly events that sell close to 30,000 tickets between them…in fact, it is not a semi-grown up kid now, I think it is a semi-grown up BEAST.”

This growth was by no means an overnight success story, but looking back, Legetic is at peace with how BYT progressed. “It may have taken us a little longer than it should have to get places,” she reflects, “but doing it more organically than strategically made it feel more real.”

Through it all, the underlying motivation was the passion shared by Legetic and her team for the stories they were writing. To others who wish to make a life of blogging, she offers this obvious, if often forgotten, advice: “Make sure you want to truly, legitimately give [the blog] life. People always tell me they’re having a hard time posting regularly, finding things to write about etc – then you shouldn’t have a blog. There is NOTHING BUT things to write about, things to share, if anything there are TOO MANY things to post. So, whatever you pick your blog to be about – think beyond a week, a month – think about what you would share on it FOREVER (even though, obviously, nothing lasts forever) – that’s the only way to know you want to start the right blog/anything.” Then, as an equally important addendum, she adds, “And, you know, don’t stop.”

Stopping, in general, seems to be a source of anxiety for Legetic, but luckily, her work for BYT seems to only be gaining momentum. She hopes to see the magazine “expand to other markets, do better, bigger events on our production side of things, find other natural fits to bring into our little-but-expanding media umbrella.” And she certainly seems to be on the path towards this goal. Through BYT, Legetic has found herself immersed in innumerable other projects and interests. What’s her secret to staying on top of all of this? Exploiting her “golden time,” or the hours of the day when she feels she is the most productive. For her, that time falls between 6:30 and 10 AM. After 10 AM, she finds herself bombarded with emails, phone calls, new people, and other endless distractions…and “true legitimate productivity goes out of the window.”

Ironically, for all of her success in blogging, Legetic doesn’t consider herself a blogger. “I don’t think I could actually write or blog for anyone but myself,” she says, “the editing process would probably be too much for me. I am simply a person that likes to talk (and in extension) write about things I enjoy. BYT is perfect because it allows me to be myself fully in the context of writing since I built it entirely around what I am interested in writing about. I always say: there are probably people who could do my job better than me but there aren’t any people who could do my job the way I do it.” This is true, for what she lacks in journalistic education she more than makes up for in sheer zeal. Her recent contributions to the site have included an ode to alcoholic slushies, an interview with Danish songstress Agnes Obel, and various mouthwatering reviews of DC restaurants.

Also ironic: before embarking on this project in the world of digital media, Legetic didn’t even have wifi or a laptop. Her knowledge of the online world was only recently gleaned on the path to BYT’s creation. She found that her background in architecture was surprisingly beneficial, leading her to “thrive on figuring out how to make the rules bend/work for you… I think in a weird way, everything I studied and did before BYT was practice for it, but it was MY practice, and everyone has to find their own route.”

I present my candidate for The Most Interesting Woman in the World: Svetlana Legetic. She’s that girl you see in DC screaming “BYT” to the tune of Michael Jackson’s PYT. She’s the Serbian native, with a multi-cultural upbringing. But above all, she’s the writer without any education in digital media who finds herself running a successful DC web magazine by the virtue of her desire to see her dream manifest. Beyond problem-solving and finding your golden time, Legetic leaves us with this last kernel of simple advice: “WANT TO BE INVOLVED in everything you’re involved in, it helps in getting things done.”