1. Alex Naidus
I might cry all over again looking at these. There are not many people that you can, without exaggeration, say are an inspiration to everyone around them. It's pretty much Oprah and Rega Jha. Usually when someone is precocious and star-bound and smart, there's no way they're also goofy and open and relentlessly positive. But: Rega.
If you didn't know her, you might feel jealous of her successes or bitter about her ascent, but if you spend even five minutes with her, and come to understand her radiance and joy and thoughtfulness, you'll root for her forever. And not, like, "cool, congratulations to you." More like "GET IT REGA, PLEASE TAKE OVER THE WORLD, YOU DESERVE IT."
I will absolutely relish watching Rega fucking soar, no matter what she does (and she can do it all.) I feel truly honored to call her my friend.
2. Mackenzie Kruvant
3. Joanna Borns
4. Erin Chack
5. Adam Davis
6. Julia Pugachevsky
7. Dan Oshinsky
I was reading this LinkedIn series (hang on, HANG ON, THAT'S NOT THE JOKE) a few weeks ago from business leaders describing all the things they'd do if they could go back and be 22 one more time. And pretty much everything in there — Travel more! Be ambitious! Do crazy shit! Work with awesome people! — is stuff that Rega Jha has been doing for a long time, and she didn't even have to build a blog time machine to go back to age 22 to do it.
If we could all be a little more like Rega when we grow up, that would be okay by me.
8. Arielle Calderon
9. Tanya Chen
10. Ashley Perez
11. Marie Telling
Rega is one of the smartest and loveliest people I've met in a long time. I'll really miss hearing her laugh and her puns in the office. But I cannot wait to see her rule the world, which is bound to happen.
12. Sarah Karlan
13. Krystie Yandoli
Rega was one of the first people I ever met at BuzzFeed when I came in to interview for the fellowship in December, and her bright and genuine smile instantly made me feel more comfortable and at ease. Since I started working at BuzzFeed, Rega has been nothing but kind, generous with her time and thoughts, and encouraging of all my ideas. She made it clear she wanted me to succeed and has helped me every step of the way. I'll miss her so, so much because she's been a huge part of my BuzzFeed experience, but I'm beyond excited to watch the incredible work she'll do in India. <3 <3 <3
14. Justin Carissimo
15. Tasneem Nashrulla
16. Conz Preti
17. Keely Flaherty
When I first met Rega, I was super intimidated by her pun skills, and I set out on a mission to become her pun equal. It never happened. But I will forever admire her ability to pull off bright shades of lipstick.
18. Natalie Morin
So in case this isn’t clear enough for the people who know and love Rega, I won’t miss her that much when she’s gone. I’ll definitely smile and do a head-shake when I see her snaps in the morning and I’ll remember our time together during and after the fellowship fondly, but I will in no way shed any tears on her behalf or worry too much. Why? Because since we’re going to get hitched anyway in the near future, I figure that a couple of years on different continents won’t be such a big deal in the grand scheme of things.
Last winter, my dad and I were on a hike and he asked me what my top qualities in my ideal partner were. Of course, this is one of those lists that probably will change in small ways every day, but there are some important points that I think will endure. And guess what? The funny thing is, Rega fits all of those categories--she even made me aware of other qualities that I now value and didn’t think of before.
1. Thoughtful. Though she is probably most charming when she DGAFs and makes fun of you in her snarky kind of way, at her core she is very kind, and most importantly, is kind to everyone she meets. Seriously--this girl can make friends with a piece of tree bark. This comes from having a very open and giving personality, as well as the ability to really listen to people. And an insane laugh that you can hear from Los Angeles. She asks questions and really shows a genuine interest in getting to know those around her. Even if you don’t talk for a while, when you eventually do talk again, you pick up right where you left off.
2. Adventurous. I love that Rega is open for any new experience and will try almost everything. Someone who will pack up everything and take the opportunity to work in India, for instance? That’s a special and exciting person right there. She is fueled by challenges instead of being afraid of them.
3. Strong. Okay, I obviously don’t mean physically, because let’s be honest--Rega doesn’t really "gym" or get swoll or anything. The closest she probably gets to working out is walking to brunch or watching cricket on TV. I mean mentally strong. Rega is one of the brightest and most adaptable people I know. She also has a toughness within her that allows her to stand up for herself and for what she believes in, which is one of the qualities I most admire about her.
4. Super Hot. I mean, girl can rock a shift dress and has va-va-voom hair.
5. Knows The Lyrics To Ignition (Remix). Laugh all you want, but this is a very important quality. If she hadn’t known the words, that would have been a major deal-breaker for me early on. Luckily enough, Rega has an entire Spotify playlist devoted to R. Kelly’s magnum opus.
I’m going to stop there because if I don’t I won’t have anything to talk about in my vows, but Rega is a diamond in the rough (not because Aladdin is brown like Rega but because I really feel that way) and I will miss her a little bit. I am very lucky to have met her and I can’t wait to see and revel in her successes.