Skip to Content

Rise of a ‘Geeky’ Poet: How Rhiannon McGavin Built a Path to Youth Poet Laureate of Los Angeles

10:53 AM PDT on September 28, 2018

[dropcap size=big]R[/dropcap]hiannon McGavin is a writer born and raised in Hollywood. She began making YouTube videos in 2010 at the age of 12 which lead to a steady climb of over 38,000 subscribers. By 2016 Rhiannon was named Youth Poet Laureate of Los Angeles and a winner of the Young Arts for Spoken Word Poetry.

She earned the title of Youth Poet Laureate for the city after placing 3rd in the previous two years. Rhiannon first applied at the age of 16 and admits her writing improved tremendously since her prior attempts.

“I was having a difficult time in high school so I decided every time someone was weird towards me, I would go home and do 10 pushups or I would apply for another writing thing,” she notes. “But even so, contests aren’t everything. The most important thing is that you’re proud of what you’re working on and writing about something you want to read.”

RELATED: Support Stories Like This & Become a Member of L.A. Taco Today!

If social media is someone’s primary creative output, that can be very harmful.

Rhiannon credits most of her success to accessible opportunities. “So much of my education was predicated on access to the point where I understood it doesn’t matter how much someone wants something. If no one opens that door for them then it is so much more difficult.”

Her advice for aspiring writers is to practice reading more than writing in a place where no one can see. “If social media is someone’s primary creative output, that can be very harmful,” Rhiannon says. “You need that intimate space without other people watching what you’re doing to make good art.”

You can find Rhiannon on any given day watering her garden, walking her puppy, calling up a friend for a good laugh, and of course reading and writing. “I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing something,” she says. “I was always like a really nerdy kid. Other kids would make fun of me at school for talking about Shakespeare and books.”

As a toddler Rhiannon recalls making picture books for her grandparents as gifts. She was later enrolled in a community theatre group for Shakespeare plays where she was exposed to poetry and wrote her first poem for a boy she had a crush on.

I’ve been making YouTube videos since I was 12, like before it was cool and profitable.

In 2012, Rhiannon started freshman year of high school. She tried theatre but continued writing poetry after Get Lit, a non-profit organization, visited the campus to teach a creative writing class once a week.

Rhiannon says, “At that point acting classes weren’t very fun for me.”

Rhiannon also grew up around filmmaking equipment and editing software that allowed her to explore her creativity at a young age. Over the next few years she began establishing herself as the Geeky Blonde on YouTube with videos ranging in topics such as Shakespeare, writing, cosmetics, books, and poetry.

“I’ve been making YouTube videos since I was 12, like before it was cool and profitable,” she says. “Growing up online and having so much of my adolescence documented has been interesting to process. Even if I’m deeply embarrassed now, I thought it was the coolest thing when I was 13, and I have to honor that to some extent.”

In the future, Rhiannon has plans to write another book. She is also pursuing her undergrad as an English major at UCLA which still allots dedicated time for poetry. “I’m trying to figure out how to make time for creative writing on my own without a deadline in mind,” she says. “I just love writing. I will do it for as long as I can in as many forms as possible.”

For more information visit Rhiannon McGavin’s Instagram. Below, an original poem:

RELATED: From a Stutter to the Tonight Show: How Rudy Francisco Became a Poetry Slam Champion

Already a user?Log in

Thanks for reading!

Register to continue

Become a Member

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from L.A. TACO

Spot Check: Colombian Desgranados In Echo Park, Mexican Wine Festival At Mírate, and Perverted Waffles in DTLA

Plus, a party highlighting pan-African cuisine, a new Taiwanese cookbook by an awarded local from the San Gabriel Valley, and a Little Saigon food festival that starts tonight! Welcome back to Spot Check!

September 22, 2023

This 24-Year-Old Latina Mortician Beautifies the Dead and Influences the Living

Growing up in Arleta with a first-generation family from El Salvador, Berrios admits that her family only embraced her career choice two years ago, after she started to win awards like “Young Funeral Director of the Year.” The 24-year-old works as the licenced funeral director and embalmer at Hollywood Forever cemetery. As a young person born in peak Generation Z, she's documented her deathcare journey on TikTok and has accrued more than 43K followers on the platform. 

September 21, 2023

Meet ‘Carnitas Rogelio,’ The Family-Run Stand With The Best Michoacán-Style Carnitas O.C. Has to Offer

Michoacán-raised Rogelio Gonzalez slices the cuerito (the pig skin) in a checkered pattern to ensure a light crunch in each bite and utilizes every part of the pig, from the feet to the liver and intestines, which he binds together in a braid. 

September 20, 2023

‘The Office’ Star Rainn Wilson Brought Jerk Chicken Tacos to the Picket Lines Outside of Paramount Studios

In three hours, D's Tipsy Tacos and her team passed out “roughly 100 plates” of tacos, burritos, rice, beans, nachos, and quesadillas to striking screenwriters and actors.

September 19, 2023

Five Common Plants to Avoid When Creating Your Green Spaces in L.A.

Almost every time I visit a property with landscaping issues, the problem starts with bad design: the wrong plants in the wrong place. Here's advice from a third-generation L.A. landscaper and noted taco expert.

September 19, 2023
See all posts