Movement class of 2015: Tess Garcia, most likely to succeed

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When you’re coming of age in Detroit, Movement is in many ways your rite of passage. It’s maybe your first experience alone in the big city, exposed to the temptations of underage drinking, drugging and breaking curfew. It’s a chance to express your weird individuality through fashion. And for kids like Tess Garcia, it can be your first big break in music journalism. The 17-year-old junior at Bloomfield Hills High School just wrapped up her first weekend at the festival, after scoring a photographer’s press pass to shoot for New York-based photo and events site, guestofaguest.com.

We met Garcia on the second day of the festival, while charging our phones, under the media tent. We caught up with her today via email and she told us about landing her dream gig, her budding media career and about how techno music is shaping her generation.

Metro Times: How did you get to cover Movement?
Tess Garcia: The website I write for is called Guest of a Guest. It's New York City-based, but it's looking to gain a larger presence worldwide. I've been their Detroit correspondent since March of this year. The general goal of GofaG is to change the concept of what "fame" is and what its implications are— they publish photos of people at events around the world. They also focus on promoting the arts and culture in the cities they cover. When I contacted my editors, Yumi and Stephanie, proposing the idea of covering Movement, they couldn't have been more for it. It's such a reputable event, and its benefits to the city are obvious, even to those on the outside. I think of myself as a writer more than a photographer, but I've enjoyed the chance Movement gave me to test the waters in an area of journalism that was pretty foreign to me. My dad loves photography. He lent me his camera for the weekend. He gave me a crash-course in DSLR photography the night before.

MT: Impressive. Was this your first experience in journalism?
Garcia: I'd never covered a festival before Movement, but I've had some experience with PR in other industries. In the fall of 2014, I locked down an internship with the social media team at a New York modeling agency called Fusion. For September and February's New York fashion weeks, I assisted their public relations team with social media. It was a lot of running from show to show to catch our models backstage. Those two weeks definitely taught me the importance of putting my entire soul into my work, because you just never know where that might take you. 

MT: Do you think you’ll pursue a career in journalism?
Garcia: I'm not sure what I want to be when I grow up. I'm really just trying to test the waters in whatever I'm interested at any given moment. Right now, that means public relations and journalism, but who knows what it'll mean tomorrow. I'm really lucky when it comes to my parents' support. I've had a wild couple of years, and I owe all of it to them. They've placed all of their trust and faith into me, and into my work ethic, and I know that takes a lot of guts. A lot of letting go, too. They've taken chances on me, not only with all this New York business, but with all of the opportunities I take. When I told them I'd secured a job at Movement, they were a bit apprehensive about logistics, but they knew it would be a crime not to let me go.

MT: Techno has played such a huge role in Detroit’s culture for so many years. What does the genre mean for you?
Garcia: I really think techno resonates with my generation because it's evolving into something that's never been seen before, something that we can claim as ours. I think of it a lot like Woodstock. That music was tailored to that generation; it was a way for them to cope with the situation America was in in the 60s. Festivals like Movement are creating a new generation of hippies in the U.S. Like Woodstock, they're giving young people a place that is their own.

MT: And what does Movement mean for Detroit?
Garcia: I can't even begin to scratch the surface on what Movement has done for Detroit. It's brought tourism, sure, and a whole lot of money, but it's brought a sense of spirit back to the city. It feels alive in a way that I'd only experienced in New York. It's an amazing reason for the media to say nice things about Detroit, too. And it's about time that happened. We deserve that.

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