Top SXSW Interactive Events for Every Interest

While loyal Austinites mumble and groan at the sheer amount of tourists South by Southwest attracts, the hundreds of insightful speakers and intriguing events (filled with free sh*t) the festival hosts are well worth the South Congress traffic clog. However, the festival is not a one-size-fits all type of gig.

Story by Rochelle Friedewald

Some want to listen to their favorite beauty blogger talk branding while others would rather try out VR. Whether your interests are the latest TV shows or the latest in AI, take a look at ORANGE Magazine’s top picks for every type of festival-goer.


For the Media Obsessed

Our Session Pick: Christiane Amanpour: Conversations on Sex and Love Around the World

Been binging CNN International segments since you could remember? Superstar foreign correspondent and pioneering woman of color Christiane Amanpour is gracing the conference to share the on-the-job stories that inspired her new series, “Sex & Love Around the World.” Compelling cross-cultural conversations aside, the CNN chief correspondent is talking Trump in the modern media landscape, #metoo movement and free press around the world.

Another Session Pick: United-ish and Black-ish, W. Kamau and Kenya Barris

The landscape of modern entertainment is changing, and sociopolitical comedian W. Kamau Bell of CNN’s “United Shades of America” and Kenya Barris of “Black-ish” both know it. The producers will talk race, comedy and storytelling in the Trump era and the ways their respective series unpack stereotypes.

W. Kamau Bell shooting “United Shades of America” season one. Photo courtesy of

W. Kamau Bell shooting “United Shades of America” season one. Photo courtesy of


For the Humanitarian

Our Session Pick: Free Radical: Chelsea Manning with Vogue’s Sally Singer

Unsung hero is an understatement: with everything Chelsea Manning has done for the everyday American, it is only right that she garners a spot in the festival’s social impact must-sees. Come chat with trans activist on everything from her new daily life, radical politics and the consequences of free-reigning state power.

Photo courtesy of the New Yorker.

Photo courtesy of the New Yorker.

Our Event Pick: Activism in Public Spaces Meet Up

Granted, the words “SXSW party” usually entail a lounge filled with free promotional swag bags and free-flowing alcohol but the more socially conscious attendees would likely appreciate a different type of social event. Come share your latest social mission with other writers, filmmakers and content creators at the festival’s most woke meet up.


For the Tech Nerd

Our Session Pick: Cryptocurrency: A New Future of Money

There is always that one person who threw a small fortune into bitcoin investments and you may wonder what the hype is all about. Cryptocurrencies, the new “it” thing of the financial world, are sooner becoming a reality than those carrying around a pesky debit card would like to think. Connect with the bright minds of the MIT media research lab as they discuss how the way you spend invest, save, borrow and lend money is poised to change.

Our Event Pick: Dell Experience

It wouldn’t truly be an Austin tech festival without a predictable shoutout to homegrown friends at Dell Technologies. But honestly, amidst the hubbub of start up crawls and tech demos, the Dell Experience is always the event of the tech scene. Come witness the latest in virtual reality, artificial intelligence, gaming and disruptive tech at the infamous exhibition.

South by Southwest 2016. Photo courtesy of Dell Blog.

South by Southwest 2016. Photo courtesy of Dell Blog.


For the Instagrammable Style Queen

Our Session Pick: Faith and Fashion: Why Representation Matters

Unlike the monoethnic runways of the past, fashion is quickly evolving to include style-savvy women of every background. Underrepresented communities are a quickly emerging force to be reckoned with, and speakers Melanie Elturk of Haute Hijab and UK blogger Mariah Idrissi is here to give a global audience a taste of a new, culturally diverse creative space.

Mariah Idrissi. Photo courtesy of Arab News.

Mariah Idrissi. Photo courtesy of Arab News.

Our Event Pick: Create Cultivate’s Women to Watch

Any internet fashionista knows a gang of girl bosses is essential in launching a creative business #brand. LA-based Create Cultivate is exactly that, an online platform for like-minded creative women ready to take on the business world, one meet up or conference at a time. The collective’s annual pop up, Women to Watch, will feature some powerhouse female entrepreneurs and is headlined by your favorite modern telenovela gal, Gina Rodriguez.

Don’t have a pass? Livestream all panels here.