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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCF chapter.

Girl·ie: noun

Girlies are adult women, usually in their mid-twenties to late thirties, whose feminist principles are based on a reclaiming of girl culture (or feminist accoutrements that were tossed out with sexisum during the Second Wave), be it Barbie, housekeeping, or girl talk. 

-Manifesta, young women, feminism, and the future by Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards.

Whenever I do anything by myself, whether a movie, event, or concert, I’m often met with the question, “Why? I could never go by myself!”

But the truth is, if you want to experience everything life offers, sometimes you will attend things solo, and that’s okay! In this experience, I paid for a pit ticket, and I wouldn’t let my friend’s unwillingness to buy a $400 ticket stop me from experiencing Lana Del Rey, my absolute favorite artist of all time, up close and personal.

When driving to my hotel in Tampa, I couldn’t help but question whether or not the drive over would’ve been more enjoyable if I had my friends in the car with me. Honestly, it would’ve been great had they been there. We could’ve blasted Lana’s new album, “Did You Know That There’s A Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd”, sang our hearts out, and became that car that other cars would obviously envy. 

But it can be just as great alone, too. My favorite moments with myself are in my car, singing loudly, waving my hand out the window like a dweeb, and smiling so hard it brings me to tears. There is something so healing about learning how to have the ability to have a genuine blast without depending on anyone else. No one will ever love you the way you have the power to love yourself. Time is infinite in those moments, and I am grateful.

When it came time to pregame, I took a mini bottle of chardonnay in the fridge of my hotel and paired it with a Redbull. I blasted Lana’s discography as I did my makeup, anticipating what would come. The thing about a Lana concert is that those in the pit are my people. I didn’t doubt I would have fun with everyone around me. 

There were about six long lines and one empty one when I arrived. I heard the employee in front of the open line yell, “PIT!” The adrenaline that ran through my body when I thought, “Oh, shit, that’s me!” is a moment I’ll never forget. It was real. I’m here and will be one of the closest people in this stadium of 20,000 people to the artist I’ve laughed and cried to. I had a green wristband put on me, ordered a double vodka pineapple, and made my way to the pit. 

The #1 secret to having an authentically good and nurturing time by yourself is remembering that most people are your friends. You’re at a concert with people who connect with the same artist as you; odds are you’re more similar than you are different. Some people have difficulty talking to strangers for fear of being judged. But most of the time, they feel the same about you. 

When I walked into the pit, I entered the center and took it all in. The last thing on my mind was if somebody was judging me. I knew I would have a good time no matter what happened. 

I noticed a few girlies dressed up as Lana’s outfit on the “Lust For Life” album cover and decided they had good energy. They were taking pictures of themselves, and I kindly asked if they could take a picture with me because I was alone. They took a few, and since she was a girlie, she took enough for me to go through and decide which ones I liked best. I made conversation with her and her friend while we were waiting for Lana to perform. We talked about where they were from, how often they’d seen Lana, and what song they were most excited about. It’s such a fun experience to be in a moment with somebody you’re meeting for the first time, and you’re all so excited it feels like outside life doesn’t exist in those moments. I aspire always to savor the moments I am giddy with anticipation over my favorite artist, making friends with the sweet girls standing next to me.

Finally, our mother arrived on stage. She was beautiful, expressive, elegant, and alive. It’s always a surreal moment when you see an artist in person that you’ve envisioned so many times in your head. They exist, and they’re here! She opened with the album title of one of her best albums, “Norman Rockwell”. We all joined in to sing along to Lana Del Rey in this beautiful, intimate moment, where time stood still, and the only thing that existed was Lana, us, and the stage.

Throughout the show, I made friends with the girls on the opposite side of me, and we shared in pure effervescence with each other. I made my way to the second row of the pit in hopes that after the show, she would come down and take pictures with us. Spoiler alert: it did not happen. But my girlies and I weren’t going to give up so easily.

When the concert concluded, and we realized there was no encore, I talked with some girls in the front row. “Is she not coming out? She always comes out!” I said. They responded, “I know! I wanted to meet her!” So, naturally, we started to put our hell-bent brains together and thought of a plan.

After waiting in the pit for an additional fifteen minutes, security came and kicked us out. We were disappointed but kept going. We left the pit and saw a gate with two guards next to it starting to form a little crowd. So, we went to investigate.

In less than five minutes, an entire crowd of about 50 people gathered around and started chanting her name. The security guard was not happy about any of this. He started screaming, “SHE ALREADY LEFT!” but we are Lana fans; we will give all of ourselves to make this happen. We all scoffed and refused to believe him (I still don’t).

We all stood together, chanting, and occasionally stopped to talk shit about the rude security guards. We talked about how breathtaking Lana was and how much we wanted to meet her. We talked about our journey to make it here and how much she has impacted our lives.

Unfortunately, this story does not have the ending anyone wanted. Lana Del Rey never came out, and multiple police officers had to escort us out. Indeed, these men were sick of us.

However, the ending is a good one. When I was a child at a sleepover with more than three girls, I always gravitated towards one, let’s call her Tiffany, and Tiffany became my safe person. We were instantly best friends and teamed up against anything that may happen at Stacy’s 9th birthday party. If somebody was mean to me, I turned to Tiffany. If I won a game we were playing, I turned to Tiffany. If I was scared to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, Tiffany came with me.

Well, this entire crowd was Tiffany. We laughed, screamed, and cried together. The bond with the crowd was incredible because we all had one common goal: to appreciate the moments we were in the presence of Lana Del fucking Rey.

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NETFLIX

After the concert, I went to Wawa for a quick sandwich (and so did everybody else from the show, poor Wawa employees), returned to my hotel, put on a movie, and laid down to take in everything I experienced. Outside of seeing Lana, my favorite part of the concert was the complete girlhood that existed in that sphere. It was palpable, kind, and genuine. Everyone was my friend. It was a good reminder that you are truly never alone; Wherever you go, there will be a girlie never too far away.

A quote that perfectly encapsulates the energy in the arena: “When you die, you walk into the cold unknown hand in hand with a girl you met once when you were five in a hotel pool, and her hand is warm,” and that is a Lana Del Rey concert.

Caysea Stone, a proud Orlando native, is a journalism major with a minor in women's studies at the University of Central Florida expected to graduate Fall of 2025. Her dedication to these fields is evident in her academic pursuits and personal interests, which include following a vegan lifestyle and a deep love for yoga, meditation, and feminism. She enjoys dissecting society and culture, from discussing trends to completing in-depth film analysis. Her ability to delve deep into these topics and provide insightful perspectives is a testament to her analytical skills and intellectual curiosity. Her ultimate aspiration is to become a writer for a renowned women's magazine such as Cosmopolitan or Bustle. But beyond this, Stone's true passion lies in empowering and inspiring younger women. She encourages them to prioritize self-kindness and actively work towards overcoming any internalized misogyny they may encounter, a mission that is both admirable and inspiring.