Online media outlet POPSUGAR hosted its first in-person convention, a two-day festival by the name of Play/Ground, from June 9-10th at Pier 94 in New York City.
The interactive event marks POPSUGAR’s first opportunity to bring its focus areas of women’s lifestyle, entertainment, beauty, and fashion to the general public in the large-scale form of fitness and wellness activities, shopping bazaars, dance and musical performances, art installations, food and drink tastings, and panels featuring celebrities and business moguls across industries.
Upon arrival at the pier, attendees were welcomed by banners of pinks and blues announcing the event. From general admission ticket holders to VIPs, people by the hundreds consulted digital schedule kiosks located throughout the venue as well as a downloadable Play/Ground app, to locate vendors, events, and celebrity personalities of interest. The activity line-up for Day 1 of POPSUGAR Play/Ground began with a workout circuit led by fitness expert Kayla Itsines, where attendees exercised on yoga mats to energized beats.
Dozens of women’s retailers including Lorna Jane, Lulus.com, and Raising Wild had active and athlesiurewear for sale, many of them selling pro-feminism graphic t-shirts and accessories. Attendees received coupons at boutiques throughout the convention center for 15%-20 off purchases in-store and online. Event sponsors including eyelove, television station FreeForm, Nordstrom’s and Victoria’s Secret, which hosted photo booths and backdrops, makeovers, and giveaways.
Being an in-person first for POPSUGAR, Play/Ground was also an opportunity for both well trusted and up and coming beauty brands led by or made for women to showcase new products. As recognizable names in beauty such as CoverGirl and Huda Beauty did complimentary glamming, newer companies like Pinkie Swear and even POPSUGAR’s own makeup brand debuted popular products such as highlighters, liquid lip colors, and foundations. While shopping, POPSUGAR festival goers also had opportunities to taste test samples from Bou, Daiya Proteins, Ritas, and David’s Tea, in addition to cafes and bars located throughout the venue.
The highlight of Saturday’s setlist was undoubtedly “Smart Girls Win,” a 1-on-1 live discussion with actress and producer Mindy Kaling, known from her roles on television shows The Office and The Mindy Project. Kaling spoke on how she got her start in the entertainment industry, citing her intelligence as opposed to her looks as the reason of her success.
“You can’t make money off of that unless you literally become a model,” said Kaling in reference to how she sees young girls too often being told to champion and safeguard their looks as opposed to their intellect. “I always got praised not because I was pretty, but because I was smart,” she continued. She noted it was her drive and determination that helped her become a successful woman of color in Hollywood–something still lacking within the entertainment industry.
These comments were met with cheers and claps of affirmation, as attendees crowded the standing-room-only POPSUGAR mainstage. Kaling’s well-received points set the tone for Saturday’s discussion panels, contributing to the already bright, positive, and glittery atmosphere throughout the convention center. To compliment forms of self-care such as fitness and fashion, panels hosted throughout the day at Play/Ground’s two stages focused on additional inspirational topics such as landing your dream job, social advocacy, redefining the understanding of happiness, and embracing ambition. Designer Rebecca Minkoff, actress Kate Hudson, and author Megan Abbott were also among the star-studded lineup of speakers for the day.
A unique highlight to POPSUGAR Play/Ground was true to word playground, complete with multi-colored plastic slides and a ball pit, which attendees had the option of sliding down and jumping into for their perfect social media moment. Celebrities and guests alike were sure to get their photo taken as they enjoyed jumping into the ball pit with friends. The fun-filled- day closed out with a one-hour performance by popular “2 On” singer, Tinashe.
Day 2 of POPSUGAR Play/Ground weekend includes panels with comedian Tiffany Haddish, Huda Beauty’s Huda and Mona Kattan, and Huffington Post founder Ariana Huffington.
Attendees can go to http://www.popsugarplayground.com to view the full weekend event schedule.