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OPINION: What is a ‘Hot Girl Summer’?

And more importantly, how do you have one?

A person is seated at a desk surrounded by work while everyone else around them is having fun in the sun. Feeling overwhelmed with work and life can be challenging when trying to achieve a hot girl summer, but it’s making the most out of the little chances we get that’s most important.  // Illustration by Tallie Johnson

The term “Hot Girl Summer” was popularized in 2019 by the release of Megan Thee Stallion’s song by the same name. Across social media platforms, there doesn’t appear to be one clear-cut definition of what a hot girl summer is or who can even partake to begin with – and despite what the name might suggest, it’s not limited by gender. 

The summer of 2021 was when I first decided I was going to have a hot girl summer of my own. I had envisioned late nights bar-hopping with friends, spending the day floating on the lake and road trips — I craved the perfect hot girl summer. 

Unfortunately for me, reality set in around mid-June. I was working close to full-time as a server and bartender, my skin hadn’t even seen the sun in close to a year. I had yet to have a night bar-hopping in Seattle. 

One night, mid-shift, I remember looking at myself covered in stains from half-priced appetizers, hair messy from running food to tables and thinking, “This is definitely not my hot girl summer.”

With the reality of having school, work or not having the financial means to jet off to sandy beaches and lavish pool parties, we are left to face one question: Are we even capable of having a hot girl summer as Ms. Stallion intended? 

This past May, I found myself reciting the same mantra for the third year in a row: “This is going to be my summer!” But alas, it’s now early August and I have yet to step near any body of water, yet to go out to amazing pool parties and yet to have those wild crazy nights I see all over social media. 

Once again, I seemed to have failed to reach my goal of a hot girl summer, and for a while, I accepted this. Maybe I couldn’t have a summer that fulfilled my wildest dreams — I have work and school and I was finding that what I’d seen online might simply be too good to be true.

Left with this realization, I was bummed to say the least. Your twenties are supposed to be the best years of your life and compared to shows like “The Sex Lives of College Girls,” “The Bold Type,” or “Girls,” I felt like mine was wasting away every time I turned down the opportunity to have fun because I had to work the next day. 

Recently, while driving to work – still bartending but now at a different restaurant – I began to reminisce on the best summer I’ve had — summer 2021. I missed all of the times I went floating down the river with my friends, all of the times my coworkers and I would laugh and party after we closed the restaurant — all of the amazing moments of summer I had sprinkled in between the realities of life. 

Even looking back to last summer, I definitely had moments that fit into this image of a hot girl summer. I was finally able to go bar-hopping with my friends who had recently turned 21. I got to work at an incredible bar and meet a whole new group of people. I even went on an actual vacation for the first time as an adult. 

I guess since my summer wasn’t packed full of wild adventures every day or even every week, I had decided that my reality didn’t fit into what I had envisioned as a hot girl summer. 

In a way, I think I had my own version of hot girl summer without even realizing it, because there is no one singular way to have a hot girl summer. 

In the words of Ms. Stallion, “Being a Hot Girl is about being unapologetically YOU, having fun, being confident, living YOUR truth, being the life of the party, etc.” 

In that regard, anyone can have a hot girl summer. The actual activities that take place might vary from person to person, but I really think the most important aspect is having fun and being present for the moments that you do get. 

I guess it’s unrealistic to believe that the majority of our summer days will be filled with what we see on social media. Hindsight is always twenty-twenty, so it’s easy for me to appreciate the moments that have already passed. 

Maybe my summer won’t be constantly filled with days of jetting away on amazing vacations or going clubbing every weekend, but we’re only halfway done. The next time I do get the chance to have drinks with friends I’m going to appreciate the glimpses of hot girl summer I do get.

Tallie Johnson

Tallie Johnson (she/her) is the opinions and DIO editor for The Front this quarter. She is majoring in journalism with a public relations focus. Tallie enjoys covering arts and entertainment, bringing attention to nonprofits, and sharing her opinion on everything and anything. In her free time she spends time with friends, family, and her many animals.

You can contact her at

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