Describe Yourself in 20 Seconds

You can do so many things in twenty seconds. You can tie both of your shoe laces, you can cut open an avocado, you can sprinkle cilantro on said avocado — you can chop the cilantro so that when you’re ready to sprinkle, you can do it in 20 seconds. You can buy a pair of sunglasses in the middle of a Wifi-optimized desert provided the eyewear merchant uses Square. You can renounce your relationship with your mother — I don’t want you to do that but I’m just saying that you can — and in a particularly good exercise to get to know new people in a social setting, you can request that all the bodies among you describe themselves in 20 seconds.

Of course, you must lead by example and first describe yourself.

So, suppose you know nothing about me, right? This site doesn’t exist, you haven’t yet learned about my propensity for using the word propensity or the contents of my snack drawer. I don’t have a name, or siblings, a job, or interests that you are privy to. I’m just standing in front of you, likely wearing ripped high rise jeans and something white and cotton. There are probably bracelets on my wrist and depending on the time of day, while you won’t find makeup above nose level, you might find red lipstick permeating my smile. And here’s what I’m going to tell you: I’m 25 years old, I’ve been married for two years and I still sleep with the blanket (blankey) that I was wrapped in when I left the hospital as an infant.

I actually timed how long it took me to say that — 6 seconds. That means I have 12 to spare but I don’t care to use those seconds because I said everything that I believe you need to know to be reeled into my paltry inner-circle. And here’s the thing: while you’ll be able to draw a silhouette of who you think I am given the fact that now you know I am married, I am in my twenties and I love my blankey, more important than what I actually said is why I said it and perhaps too what I didn’t say.

So figure this.

I’m from New York, I really like clothes and good books but I didn’t tell you those things. They don’t seem integral to who I am — just what I’ve become.

What you do know is that I got married when I was 23. This should mean that I am either devastatingly stupid or spectacularly self-assured. I’m now 25 and still married and depending on whether you detected the notes of enthusiasm in my voice, you know that I am happy to be married. So let’s assume I’m at least somewhat self-assured — aware of who I am. Now, of all the things I could say, I wanted to tell you that I still sleep with a blankey. Is this because I want you to know that I have hugely problematic attachment issues? Because I want you to think I had a delightful childhood and as a result refuse to let go of a talisman that represents it? Is it a nod to my inner-juvenility or exactly the opposite: a resolution that one day I will be a mother who can wrap her child in this blanket?

Well, that settles it. Now you know everything about me. Return the favor, mark your stop watch and answer me this: who are you (in 20 seconds or less)?

Original Image shot by Jonas Bresnan for L’Officiel Netherlands

  • Funny, witty, smart, love to cook, eternal romantic, just moved to France from Chicago and love to eat.
    How’d I do?

  • st louis transplant living in new york city
    massive extended family with small close knit friend group
    sometimes “basic”
    i laugh often
    i eat everything, and until i’m stuffed
    i believe there is a difference between being kind and being nice
    loud on the web, quiet in person
    not a judger, do you

    🙂 happy weekend ladies

  • The Fitting Shoe

    I am an 8 months and 2 weeks blogger,so happy bloggin to me, I live in colorful Barcelona, I eat cakes and donuts like I have a gun pointed to my head, I watched too many times Love Actually (dork), I read too many times Le rouge et le noir, I hate spiders and I have a cat called Cat , and I have a compulsive obsession with flawless tailored jackets….20 seconds of tmi 🙂

  • dustUP

    “your lies are telling as much as your truths”
    or something fairly similar…… Harvey Keitel in Bad Lieutenant

    Maybe your love for that blanket has no meaning further than just love? Maybe you are married to it but forgot about the ceremony cos you were so little and didn’t know that protocol requires witnesses (and mutual consent, but fine, inanimate object have no will) ? This puts your time down to 2 seconds : I’m 25 and married.

  • Leandra Medine

    6 + 12 = 18

    • dustUP

      hahaha! brilliant!!!!

    • maudvillers

      haha I was startled while reading the article and then was like “Well I’m probably tired”. Definitely time to go back to school

    • ha-ha-ha Love you Leandra!

  • MippysMom

    Musician, happliy married, childfree (one cat), transplanted Michigander (from PA), foodie, and DV survivor.

  • elderly Slovenian lady moose on the loose in the North:
    been ruralizing, munching, moosing, playing, hiding, seeking and other dangerous stuff here and, gosh, do I love it.

  • I’m 24, living in Seattle and I work in gaming and entertainment at a company called Ladykiller. My background includes working at music labels, music promotion, and fashion. I play guitar, sing and love my new leather jacket! (12 seconds)

  • Hapinesswherever

    This is the 1st post I’ve read on your blog- and I’m glad I did, it’s really funny 🙂 Who would have thought you could fit so much in to 20 secs? 😛

  • Jarabeth Rush

    I’m a 28 year old Texan/Houstonian. I’ve never been married and don’t have any kids…maybe someday. I’ve danced since I was 2 and a half. I’m fascinated by creativity and try to incorporate it into my life everyday.

  • Hi I’m Katie. I’m 29 and live and work in Charlotte with my three cats who only have 10 legs total. I only very recently started using an ipod and iPhone and I believe they are ruining my life except that I met my current real life real love boyfriend on Tinder. Let’s get falafel.

  • I’m Megan. My age is irrelevant, mainly because I recently reached a depressing milestone, and I don’t want to cry in front of strangers. I love to cook. I hate to shave. Music is my jam.
    6 seconds to spare. Boom!

  • I’m FREAKING crazy!… is the 20 sec up?!

  • Penname Crisis

    I’m thirty, have a toddler, and will be having another baby in December. I still can’t decide what to do with my life but feel like I might ought to hurry up and do it. I love my parents and brother but hardly ever talk to them because I have to call them, and I hate calling people. I keep meaning to start maintaining friendships with people. Just any day now I’ll start hanging out with all those people I really like but haven’t spoken to in years because I’m still putting off calling them. I hardly ever watch tv these days, though I did nothing else while in college. I like reading food blogs and occasionally bake things as a result of reading them. Then I feel guilty about dirtying dishes. I just read a book called “The Bean Trees” and enjoyed it, though I do not think it should be hailed as lasting literature.

  • Im an unexpected twin, I love bacon and my mum. I miss Dartmoor and Devon cream teas.I love people, life and acts of kindness.

  • I’m from a city of 40k in Massachusetts, but it has a small town feel and everyone knows everyone. I’ve known I’d someday be a writer for a very long time. My life has played out like an Anne Hathaway movie, where one day I waxed my eyebrows and all of my dreams fell into place. I really really like tiny animals and well styled people and rooms. I am 22, have graduated from university, am working in my field (marketing) and write – the title of which was inspired by a line in a Bruce Springsteen song

    – I speak pretty quickly.

    Warm Regards,

  • I feel most like myself in cut off shorts & an oversized white tank with bangles & messy hair. I belong in the summer, or in a country song. I’m a writer, 27, single & really happy. I have a fluffy white persian named Lucifer and my dream is to basically be Carrie Bradshaw.

    Love your site 🙂

  • I’m living in SF, constantly reinventing my style as well as others. I love and give lots of it to my friends, family, and my main squeeze. I partied last night. It was great. Avocados, breakfast, potstickers, and coffee are my favorite things to nom. The news that Hello Kitty is not a kitty really disturbs and saddens me. OH! And I have a blog was that 20 seconds?

  • Andres Poiche
  • Jeanean

    I love my husband (of nearly 24 years), my 3 children (all of whom are in college), my 2 cats (hairy babies), reading, polymer clay, crochet, chain maille, and living in a place where the sun shines almost every day (and where the trees change color in Autumn).
    I’m still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up and I don’t believe in retirement, but I do believe in downshifting ambition to achieve and just trying to enjoy the journey.

  • Don’t Forget To Move

    I just turned 27 and am from California, living in Australia and have just spent the majority of the past three years in Latin America. I’m happiest on a warm beach, drinking cold beer and eating delicious food. I’m headed to Asia next year for all three 🙂

  • Alison Kinkade

    Lover of love. Adventurer. Highly impulsive with an odd hint of indecisiveness. Every morning I crave coffee and a scone. If it’s ‘smores flavored I will eat it.

  • Lamngoc

    Hi, I’m a 22 year old girl who just have recently experience the real beauty and harshness of the world. I love eating and can cook decently, looking and shopping for beautiful clothes, and a bit of a loner. I likes to make jokes, sometimes they seem to be sophisticate, other times they just sound dumb. Ah yes, hobby. Hobbies are climbing, digging and biking. (Neatly fits 20sec!)

  • Luciana Safdie

    I’ve always found the whole “describing yourself” thing fascinating mainly because of what you don’t say, in a way -and I think this about Facebook or Instagram profiles as well- you are telling people how you wish you were, or how you want to be perceived.

    As for my own 20 second description: I’m 22, an over-enthusiastic recently graduated economist, dreamer with no idea what to do with her life and have a Netflix binge disorder

  • atelierjen

    56 years young, despite all the wine. Artist and designer with lovely husband and mad dog. Or is that the other way round? Lazy but impatient, hate being even slightly cold. Moved from a flat in central London to a tiny village in south west France. Icons are Tilda Swinton and Dolly Parton.

  • Sara Hood

    I’m 29, married 7 years. My only children are my 2 fur babies. I love to read, write, travel, and make devastatingly sarcastic remarks. I have labeled myself an extroverted introvert – just hang around awhile to discover what that means.

  • starryhye

    I’m a 34yr old wife and mom. I have loved clothes and fashion for as long as I can remember. I have crazy, wild curly hair that I am known for. I love to eat, drink, laugh and spend time with my friends. Warm weather and sunshine make me happy.

  • Leandra Medine


  • Lauren Ann Long

    I’m 21, senior in college, from a town that some people think is a country (Gastonia) which it may be a country?, I suck a geography..I use 94% of all paychecks for clothing, I consume any food put in front of me annnnnd I enjoy taking pictures of cats.

  • A21

    I am a woman, feminist, scholar, neo-Marxist, sister, daughter, friend, recovering Catholic, illegitimate child. I can be fiercely loyal and scarily destructive. Always intensely desirous. I am a lover of clean lines and vivid colors, a student of human behavior, an appreciator of sincerity and unabashed self-disclosure. And I try not to be a dick about it all.

  • anna lisa

    Musician, happliy married, childfree how to take care of your skin (one cat), transplanted Michigander (from PA), foodie, and DV survivor.

  • I`m Jia. 19 years old. I like to think that I`m a hat collector even if I only have around 20. I don`t have a favorite color and I`m OBSESSED with dogs, as in my mother calls me the dog queen.

    ROUGH & TOUGH☯ // I`m on Bloglovin! // IG: @jiaachacruz:disqus

  • CarlotaLMorais

    My name is Carlota, Im 19, just broke up with a long term boyfriend, I hate law school,have a big sense of humor and I dont know what I’m doing with my life, summer is over and ths september has to start VERY WELL!

  • Guest

    Hmm .. this sounds like a baby announcement. If so, YAY for that!

  • Emily

    I am 24, and my fear of missing out on life drives me to do
    great things but sometimes exhausts me.

  • Alexandra Bowman

    I love Summer weather/activities, but am obsessed with Fall fashion. I can’t whistle. I’m slightly hypochondriacal. I recently had my book published. I eat all the time. Can’t leave the house without my headphones. I was Egyptian royalty in a past life.

  • su barbosa

    Hi, I’m Susana, 22 years old, a young graphic designer from Portugal, that love fashion and NY since ever.
    I really have attachements issues, and feel all with all heart. I think i’m to dreamy and to heart broken for my age, but well, i can’t help that.. 😛 I love travel and got lost.
    And as I am a failed abortion, I have the asymmetrical eyes since birth, and I like that. xD
    So, pleasure to meet all of you

  • Isn’t it funny, that we can summarize our lives in 20 seconds?!
    Here is mine~ Grew up in a traditional household. Hated the concept of “cultural traditions”. Got cut up in anti-Soviet protests. Lived through Armenia’s war. Married at 22. Had a baby boy. Immigrated to US. Studied law. Had another boy, he’s got autism. Started a lifestyle blog. Love writing. Always loved writing. Attempt to paint life in beautiful colors.

  • like preview

    I am a 31-year-old mum of two and i felt really old to know that you are only 25. I married at the age of 25, 6 years ago… I like to laugh a lot, particulary with those non-sense things that most of the people think are stupid. I design dresses. I dont know how to handle with this married woman – mum – designer thing yet. Maybe never will, but it’s ok if everything stays always like this.

  • kduck

    I had a Professional Development professor that made everyone in the class stand up and introduce/sell themselves in 30 seconds. I wanted to die. I watched Wolf of Wall Street shortly after and the ‘sell me this pen’ scene at the end must have triggered this memory because I instantly felt extreme anxiety and pitied that poor movie extra. Did I just equate myself to a pen?

    But you’re right, it’s not about the facts we dish out, but the type of information we choose to share in such a short amount of time which is insightful. Everyone starts with age. Is it so important? How do we choose between work, family, interests, personality traits, etc? I feel like I’ll never be fully satisfied with any answer I give :/

  • Hey Leandra! I’m a midwest fashion designer with a secret passion for fashion journalism. I love oreos, mini oreos and have a never ending supply on my studio desk. I love my hubby, two girlies and anything Emma Thompson. Fingers crossed we cross paths during fashion week while I’m there for work <3