AUSTIN -- Empowering Connections was the theme of Bumble's two-day activation in East Austin during the first two days of South by Southwest.
Featuring a star-studded lineup of successful women, including Bumble's Whitney Wolfe Herd (CEO of the female-driven dating app), actress and activist Gina Rodriguez, and the Grammy-nominated rock band HAIM, the event drew a huge crowd of all genders to Fair Market in East Austin.
Consisting of sisters Danielle, Este and Alana Haim, HAIM closed out the event with a setlist of their most popular songs including "The Wire," "Little of Your Love" and even a cover of Shania Twain's "That Don't Impress Me Much."
In between the hits, bassist Este also took the time to snatch a fan's phone from the crowd to pull up their Bumble account.
"Jessica who went to Texas State University ... if you are here, I would say yes," she said as she swiped through his dating profile and later set the phone down away from his reach. "For the remainder of the show, I am in charge of your love life."
Before HAIM took the stage, Rodriguez sat down with Wolfe Herd for a panel entitled “Making the Most of Having the World at Our Fingertips,” where they spoke about their beginnings, seizing any situation, and touched on themes like equality in film, the workplace and online.
"I was aware of the female empowerment that built Bumble, but it wasn't until I was in the presence of Whitney and the incredible girl gang she created that I realized the magnitude of the positivity that they are radiating in this world,” said Gina Rodriguez. “I can't use Bumble to find a man, because I got one, but I could for sure use it for more empowered connections."
Day two of the event opened with a panel on love, trust and connection with psychotherapist and relationship consultant Esther Perel; artist, poet and author of “Heart Talk: Poetic Wisdom for a Better Life” Cleo Wade; and political commentator, activist and author of “The Opposite of Hate” Sally Kohn.
After which, the trio took questions from Bumble users looking for dating advice. One user was able to stump the panel -- and the crowd -- when he asked for advice because he felt bad for dumping his date because they were "seeking too much of his time." They panel decided he'd feel much better if he just apologized...
On day one, Wolfe Herd joined Broadway star and author Keke Palmer for a keynote called “#MeToo, #TimesUp, Now What?” discussing the growing focus on gender equality and current social movements.
“The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that hurt people hurt people and kindness is just as contagious. So if you can focus your efforts on engineering kindness, it will prevail,” said Wolfe Herd. “We are firm believers that we need to do our part to help make the internet a more accountable place. We need to eliminate hate speech. We need to do our part to really engineer kindness on our digital platforms.”
Day one ended with a keynote called "Making Music that Unites a Movement," a songwriters panel including Ali Tamposi, Jennifer Decilveo, and FLETCHER.
Pop singer-songwriter and artist Era Noble closed the evening with a performance of his newly released single "New Rules (Dua Lipa Cover)," and treated guests to a preview of two original, unreleased tracks, "Hunger" and "Stranger Than Fiction.”
Earlier, well-known business leaders like Rachel Zoe, Teen Vogue's Phillip Picardi, Bleubird style blog's James Kicinski-McCoy, activist and author Aija Mayrock, and sociologist and relationship expert Dr. Jess Carbino, also spoke on a number of different topics such as empowering yourself through style, inclusion in the workplace, healthy relationships and how to survive a friendship break-up.
Apart from hearing all these inspirational discussions, badge holders and Bumble users were also able to use a "Bio Bar" to optimize their Bumble profiles and participate in "5-Minute First Dates," and Bumble Bizz hosted an "Elevator Pitch" competition, with winners receiving a mentorship and $5,000 from Bumble to help start their business -- in addition to a Dell XPS 13.