Svetlana Legetic, founder, editor-in-chief and head fun impresario of Brightest Young Things, isn’t a party animal. In fact, she reveals she can be somewhat of a homebody. Despite that her site has become the veritable Bible of all things cool to do in DC, Legetic, 31, prefers to keep it simple. “I watch a lot of Netflix,” she told us over a glass of wine at Veranda . And if anyone deserves a bit of quiet time now and again, it’s her. Her typical day? “I wake up between 5 and 6:30 in the morning because we start publishing around 7:15, 7:30.” And after that, it’s non-stop: aside from writing like a maniac for four hours, Legetic also sends out “probably over 500” emails a day and squeezes in meetings with everyone from sleek PR agencies to artists and musicians to, well, us. This woman is in demand and after spending some time with her, it’s easy to see why.
SCOUT: So how’s life now that you’re full-time at BYT? [Until three years ago, Legetic was a full-time architect, building BYT up only in her spare time.]
SVETLANA: I’d like to say that made my life a little more leisurely, but it hasn’t. Mondays are my busiest days. Theoretically, Friday should be my easiest day because I try not to do any meetings. It’s kind of like my sanity day before the weekend starts.
SCOUT: The timing of BYT’s transition from random blog to legitimate business entity coincides with the change of administration, what a lot of people have been saying may have been a catalyst for a sort of cultural renaissance in DC. Do you see a connection?
SVETLANA: Possibly, although I feel genuinely a lot of stuff was already there, people just weren’t writing about it as much. For example, a lot of people we wrote about five years ago are still around. It’s awesome to see a musician go from performing at a small venue like the Velvet Lounge back then to now headlining shows at 9:30. But I think definitely DC has improved as a place to be over the last five years, too.
SCOUT: In what ways?
SVETLANA: It was a very fertile ground. When we did the comedy festival all these comedians came init was crazyand they all said DC was a great place because everyone gets the joke. Everyone gets every reference. People are very smart and educated. People here take their work very seriously, but then they also take their going out very seriously, so for instance if you look at the explosion of craft cocktails. In some other cities, sure they’re popular, but here you can super nerd out. It’s been a nice evolution.
SCOUT: What’s been the smartest, most nerding out thing BYT’s ever done?
SVETLANA: More recently we’ve stepped up our out-of-the-box game, so we’ve flown to MIT and had lunch with Noam Chomsky, we’ve ambushed Salman Rushdie. That was based on the National Book Festival...
SCOUT: Wait… how do you go about making a lunch date with Noam Chomsky?
SVETLANA: It was amazing. With something like that, we’ll get in touch with his secretary and she’ll OK it. Then we’ll buy an AirTran ticket and have his sandwich order and we bring it to him.
SCOUT: So what’s next for BYT? Any news on the events front?
SVETLANA: The number one thing we’re super-excited aboutI’d say we’re about 97 percent sure it’s happeningis we’re doing an event at the Embassy of Spain’s abandoned residence on 16th Street and Fuller on September 16. They’re fans of the site, so we’re going to do a big kind of “enchanted mansion” theme. The Embassy sent me this email and I was like, “Am I being Punk’d?” I see this building every day and I’ve always wanted to go in. The original Spanish tile is still there, antique fountains, these beautiful ballrooms....
SCOUT: We’ll mark our calendars for the fall. In the meantime, any tips for surviving the rest of the DC summer?
SVETLANA: Um, I have not worn a bra all summer. That’s a huge thing. Other than that, don’t walk. That’s miserable. Bike, cab or Metro instead. And consume anything frozen. The cocktails at St. Ex are great. And I was thinking maybe I’ll stop eating warm foods…
SCOUT: Really? That’s a thing?
SVETLANA: No, I’m just brainstorming. That would be hard for me. I like soup a lot.
SCOUT: Is that your Serbian roots coming out? You lived there until you were 20, right?
SVETLANA: Yes and being Serbian usually influences everything that I do. People make fun of me because I like beets so much. But where I grew up allows me to be very nonplussed and a little more thick-skinned than someone else might be. My friends also say I’m a little more formal in the way I look. I’m 6’1”, which is very Serbian of me, so I almost never wear pants. I bike in dresses.
And from what she tells us, she bikes a lot getting to all the events, meetings and everything else BYT's got going on. Which is, um...a lot. Feel free to keep up with her over at Brightest Young Things.