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The Daily Beast Talks Acting With Tavi Gevinson

Updated January 7, 2014


"Interview: Fashion Wunderkind Tavi Gevinson on Her Acting Debut in ‘Enough Said’"
By Marlow Stern
The Daily Beast, Sep 10 2013

"Teen style icon Tavi Gevinson, who founded Rookie Magazine at 15, sat down with Marlow Stern at TIFF to discuss her acting debut in the comedy ‘Enough Said,’ opposite Julia Louis-Dreyfus and the late James Gandolfini.
Tavi Gevinson is a trailblazer. At just 11 years of age, she started a fashion blog, Style Rookie, which racked up a million hits a month. By 13, she was rocking a plethora of outlandish outfits while seated front row at New York Fashion Week, and at 15, she founded Rookie Magazine, a site geared toward teenage girls.

And now the 17-year-old—whom none other than Lady Gaga once dubbed “the future of journalism”—has become the first fashion blogger to parlay her notoriety into an acting career.

Enough Said, written and directed by Nicole Holofcener (Friends With Money), stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini as Eva and Albert, two sad-sack, divorced single parents who meet one night at a party, and soon fall for one another. But their budding romance is threatened when one of Eva’s massage clients turned pals, who is constantly badmouthing her ex-husband, turns out to be Albert’s former spouse. Gevinson plays Chloe, the best friend of Eva’s daughter, Ellen, who constantly hangs around her house soliciting motherly advice.

I’m surprised you’re here at TIFF, and not at New York Fashion Week.

I wouldn’t have gone anyways. I didn’t go last year because we launched the book then. It would be nice to go to shows, but I was coming here, and I have school. Plus, it happens twice a year.

Has covering fashion started to become a bit monotonous for you?

I wasn’t suddenly bored, because I think a lot of the possibilities in fashion feel infinite. Now I just want to be comfortable, but on days where I really enjoy getting dressed, it’s still very thrilling and fun. It was more that I was interested in a lot of different things, and I’m in high school, so you change all the time.

Did you have any acting experience prior to Enough Said?

I did a voiceover in a short called Cadaver, and then a short when I was 11 [First Bass]. I acted locally in Community Theater when I was in school, but acting is a very risky career choice, and you feel kind of powerless, so I wasn’t actively pursuing it. UTA approached me about a year-and-a-half ago and said, “We see that you have a lot of things you may want to express, and we want to give you the resources,” and then I got Nicole’s script and auditioned.

What was your first real acting experience like? This isn’t a very renegade, indie production but a pretty well-oiled machine.

It was like jumping right in. It is with a studio and everything so I’m not going to say it felt totally renegade, but Nicole runs a very relaxed, warm set, and Julia is wonderful. For me, the most foreign thing was that you’re around a lot of people and I’m used to writing behind a computer. I was nervous, but it ended up helping with Chloe who always feels a little uncomfortable, or like she’s intruding. And to see a person like Julia, who thinks it’s fun and gets it done—that wasn’t supposed to rhyme—made it feel a lot more relaxed. And finally on my last day I was like, “I got this!” but then I was done.

You share a great scene with Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini at the breakfast table, where you quiz him on his TV knowledge. What was it like acting with Gandolfini?

It was really nerve-racking, but he’s just so normal and nice and funny. I was really nervous and I think he picked up on that a little and asked me questions about my life and gave me words of encouragement. He would say really funny stuff. There was a moment where we just had to get a shot of my fork, and he said, “Do I have to do anything?” and then he said, mimicking the crew, “You don’t do anything! I don’t see you lugging shit around!” He was just funny and self-deprecating, in that way. It sucks ... it’s sad.

Any more acting gigs in the pipeline?

I would like to do more acting, but I’m applying to colleges right now. College applications are stupid because you have to brag about yourself without making it seem like bragging. It’s a strange process that makes you feel a bit self-loathing.

Where are you looking at colleges? East coast?

It would be nice to be in New York so that Rookie can become more real in my life. I don’t want another four years of going to school and then working on my computer. I like Brown. I like Wesleyan. I’d be happy at Barnard. A lot of our writers and editors are in New York, and I’d just like to talk to them in person instead of video chat. We hired a new editor a few months ago, and looking through the applications I started crying because I realized, “Oh, people get it ... it has a life of its own. I can go off and have a different life, and it will be fine.” The passing of the torch is a nice thing to me, you know?

You started working at such a young age. Do you feel like you grew up too fast?

People are like, “Did you miss out on childhood?” My childhood lasted a little longer, because that was at an age where all of my friends were having “humping parties”—which is a thing when you’re 13—and I came home every day from school, got dressed up, and took pictures and edited them, and made mood boards and collages and checked out magazines. It felt very pure at the time."
 
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  Tavi Gevinson's Wonderful TED Talk

Updated January 7, 2014


"Media: What Does It Mean To Be A Teenage Feminist Today?"
By NPR/TED Talk Staff
NPR, Sep 6 2013

"Part 6 of the TED Radio Hour episode The Next Greatest Generation?

About Tavi Gevinson's TEDTalk

Tavi Gevinson had a hard time finding strong female, teenage role models, so she built a space where they can find each other. She talks about how her site RookieMag.com and others are putting an unapologetically uncertain and complex face on feminism.

About Tavi Gevinson

Born in April 1996, Tavi Gevinson started blogging at age 11– then rapidly became a bona-fide fashion icon. In 2009 she was featured on the cover of Pop Magazine and was invited as a special guest to New York Fashion week.

Her site for teenage girls, RookieMag.com, broke one-million page views within five days of launching in September 2011. She's currently the editor-in-chief of the site, writes thestylerookie.com and has written for several publications including Harper's Bazaar, Jezebel, Lula, Pop Magazine and GARAGE magazine."
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Refinery29's Clip of Tavi Gevinson in James Gandolfini's Last Film!

Updated January 7, 2014


"Media: WATCH: So, Tavi Gevinson Is In James Gandolfini's Last Film (!!)"
Refinery 29, Sep 4 2013

"While the rest of the fashion world is ramping up for NYFW, Tavi Gevinson is officially launching her next career move. (What, is blogger, editor, business owner, author, and singer not enough?!) Quietly and without fanfare, Tavi Gevinson has a turn in her first film — which also happens to be James Gandolfini's last. In the picture, she stars as Julia Louis-Dreyfus' near-college age, totally precocious daughter. Louis-Dreyfus is Gandolfini's love interest, who finds out that Gandolfini is also her good pal's ex...and hilarity ensues and lessons learned.

The film is notable because it is a dry romantic comedy, which was atypical for the late actor, who often played harder, more gritty roles. But, we see him right at home with Tavi, verbally sparring with her over breakfast. With so many other projects under her belt, it feels only fitting that the teen try her hand at acting. We are sure she is awesome at it...like she is with everything else."
 
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  The Sydney Morning Herald Interviews Tavi Gevinson

Updated January 7, 2014


"Interview: Meaning of Life for a Creative Teenager"
By Philippa Hawker
The Sydney Morning Herald, Aug 22, 2013

"Yes, says Tavi Gevinson, she made it back in one piece from Hanging Rock. ''We didn't die, we didn't get abducted, we didn't disappear into another dimension.''
Gevinson, 17, is here for the Melbourne Writers Festival, where she is a keynote speaker. And among the things she will be talking about, she says, is a question she discussed with a friend during a visit to one of the world's most legendary picnic spots: What do you make when you don't feel creative? And what do you do when you feel as if everything has been done already?
It is not a problem people would associate with Gevinson, who is generally held up as a paradigm of achievement and originality. Gevinson, who lives in Chicago, became a public figure at the age of 11, with her smart and influential fashion blog Style Rookie. Two years ago, she was the founding editor of Rookie, an online magazine for, by and about teenage girls and young women - an eclectic, thoughtful and imaginative publication with an emphasis on visual style. It also has a print life, with an annual yearbook.

She says that when she gave the address at Sydney Opera House on the weekend, she sensed some audience members were expecting her to talk about marketing, or the future of journalism or blogging, or how to make smart, bite-size statements. But she took a different tack. ''For actual teenagers, and people who came with an open mind, I think it resonated,'' she says. ''It's great to make a statement, and it's great to be original, but my talk is about what you do when you don't feel inspired to do any of those things. I wanted it to feel personal.''
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Rookie attracts ''readers who want to be creative and original, and we promote that a lot: to use your feelings and use your experiences to make something of them, to be bold and to be yourself. But at the time I was preparing for this, I didn't feel any of those things.''
Gevinson is ''inspired by Taylor Swift, Lena Dunham and Fiona Apple, because everything they do has this air of 'my feelings got hurt, but then I made something about it'. But my keynote is more for the girls who go, 'I can't make anything. What do I do now?''' And one of the things she is going to tell them about is the pleasures of being a ''fangirl'', and that ''in times of need it can be more satisfying to appreciate someone else's art than to make your own''.
Her talk is also, she says, about ''my worlds that I've created on my own outside of my blog and outside of Rookie''.
She is a passionate advocate of keeping a journal - it is something she does every day. Talking about the pleasure of those small things and small details, she mentions that when she travels she also has with her a folded-up piece of paper with ''the meaning of life'' written on it, ''for when I get disillusioned''. It contains some fairly basic notes: ''Things like, get off the internet, don't be lazy.
''And I do have my lists of role models. Some would be people you'd expect, like Lena Dunham, Amy Poehler and Yoko Ono. But some of them are cartoonists and some are scientists, and one of them owns a museum.''
The latter is the person she was most nervous about interviewing: his name is David Wilson, and he runs the Los Angeles Museum of Jurassic Technology. It is an unusual and idiosyncratic collection of objects undifferentiated by category - ''in the style of the first museums, which were things that people found amazing''.
She last visited it a week ago, with a friend who is a volunteer there, she says. ''And I saw this Silver Bullet mobile home he lives in out the back, surrounded by all these cacti, and I felt, 'This is the goal. To be happy in somewhere sunny, to run a place that you feel maybe inspires people, or at least inspires you, and does justice to all the things you truly love.'''
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Nick Galvin Talks to the Always Charming Tavi Gevinson for the Sydney Morning Herald

Updated January 7, 2014


"Interview: Tavi Gevinson: 'It would be really ironic if I started this website for teenagers and then I could no longer be a teenager'"
By Nick Galvin
The Sydney Morning Herald, Aug 18, 2013

"She's editor-in-chief of an influential online lifestyle magazine that is viewed by millions and has a staff of 80 people, hangs out with Zooey Deshanel and Thom Yorke and has been called the “future of journalism” by Lady Gaga.
And she's just 17.
Tavi Gevinson was already setting the fashion world alight at 11 years old with her fashion blog, Style Rookie, which has now morphed into Rookie, a cutting-edge online and print publication that tackles everything from feminism to fashion.
Teenage girls apparently can't get enough of it.
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So does Gevinson, who is visiting Australia from her native Chicago to address fans at the Sydney Opera House, get sick of the focus on her age?
“If I continue to do this sort of thing, I'm looking forward to my age not being such a topic of discussion,” she says. “But it doesn't particularly bother me.
''It does seem relevant since my audience for Rookie is teenagers.”
Already, she has seen the flipside of fame, with plenty of vicious criticism hurled her way accusing her of everything from having her articles ghost written to just being a novelty.
Now, she says, she avoids the nasty stuff.
“I know where that stuff comes from – it's adult writers mainly and on the internet,” she says. “I'm 17 and have had a unique and lucky life. But I'm not saying it's all invalid and they are all just jealous. I'd probably feel funny about seeing a younger person doing the kind of job I do. I get it but I don't really care.”
So, with the pressure of running a rapidly expanding media empire does she have time for normal teenage things?
“It would be really ironic and sad and weird if I started this website for teenagers and then I could no longer be a teenager,” she says. “I've been able to determine day to day whether I have time to hang out with friends or if I have to go home and work on something. I'm passionate about what I do so when I have to make a bit of a sacrifice it's not a bad one.”
And the concerns of her teenage readers are not so different from what they have always been.
“Relationships and sex and sexuality are universally and perpetually confusing for teenagers,” she says.
Feminism is also a hot button topic for Rookie readers.
“I get lots of questions like, 'I want to like this but it's not feminist...' or 'What does it really mean to be a feminist?' It's a mixed bag for sure.
“The most helpful thing I could have heard at 13 was just to keep good people around you ... and surround yourself with things that make you happy and inspire you because it's a very confusing time and there's a lot going on. You just have to do your own thing.”
 
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  Montreal Review of Books on Rookie Yearbook One

Updated November 7, 2013


"Rookie of the Year
By Sarah Lolley, SPRING 2013

There is something intensely reassuring for book lovers in the publication of Rookie Yearbook One, a collection of the writing, photography, illustrations, and playlists that have appeared in Tavi Gevinson’s online magazine for teens, Rookie magazine (rookiemag.com). It suggests that the market still gives value to books – not just to the information they contain, but also to the books themselves – and that this value is being recognized by a new generation of readers. As Gevinson writes in the introduction, using capital letters for emphasis, “being able to actually HOLD art and writing that you love is kind of really special.”

Gevinson was just fifteen when she started Rookie magazine but she was already three years into her career as an internationally famous blogger. At age twelve, Gevinson started the fashion blog Style Rookie. It propelled her into the limelight, bringing both praise and derision from the fashion industry. It also saw her published in Harper’s Bazaar and invited to New York Fashion Week and Paris Fashion Week, two of the industry’s most prestigious events. She started Rookie magazine, Gevinson writes, “because I felt there wasn’t a magazine for teenage girls that respected its readers’ intelligence.” When, in the spring of 2012, Rookie’s editorial director Anaheed Alani approached Montreal-based publisher Drawn & Quarterly about turning the website into a book, “we jumped at the chance,” says Associate Publisher Peggy Burns. “There was absolutely no hesitation.” There are already plans to publish Rookie Yearbook Two in the fall of 2013.

The blog-to-book phenomenon is nothing new. Throughout the early 2000s, the market was flooded with books that originated online. Some faded into obscurity but others, like that of Julie Powell, the New Yorker who challenged herself to cook every one of the 524 recipes in Julia Child’s cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking in 365 days, rose to superstardom. The book, published by Little, Brown and Company in 2005, was a national bestseller. Four years later, Nora Ephron brought it to the silver screen in the movie Julie & Julia.

Canada has seen its fair share of blog-to-book success stories, too. Some, like the 2007 book Regret the Error by Montreal-based Craig Silverman, have helped launch careers. A collection of writing from Silverman’s long-standing blog of the same name, Regret the Error chronicles errors made by the media and the fall-out that accompanies them. It won the National Press Club’s Arthur Rowse Award for Press Criticism and helped solidify Silverman’s reputation as an expert in the field. Other successes, like the 2008 book Stuff White People Like by Toronto-born author Christian Lander, based on his website of the same name, and the 2012 paperback version of the Tumblr feed Dads are the Original Hipsters by American-born Montrealer Brad Getty, channel the in-joke of the moment.

“This is the stuff that needed to be in pages adorned with doodles and glitter.”
Perhaps the greatest Canadian blog-to-book success story in recent years is that of Toronto-based Neil Pasricha, who started 1000 Awesome Things as a way of bringing himself some levity during a dark period of his life, which included divorce and the suicide of a close friend. Just as the title suggests, the blog enumerates life’s simple pleasures (awesome thing #836: When you push the button for the elevator and it’s already there). In 2010, based on the popularity of 1000 Awesome Things, Pasricha published The Book of Awesome, which became an international bestseller.

Does this mean that any blog with a large following is ripe for publication? Toronto-based literary agent Denise Bukowski says no. “Often people who write blogs really don’t have the inclination or the sensibility to write a book,” she says. “Sometimes they can’t write something that’s integrated or beyond 500 words.” The best way to attract an agent’s attention remains the old fashioned way, she says: follow the agent’s submission guidelines.

Like The Book of Awesome, Rookie Yearbook One is intended to comfort and inspire the reader. “This is the stuff that needed to be in pages adorned with doodles and glitter; that is revisited in times of angst and crisis, and that couldn’t be just stared at on a screen for such an occasion,” Gevinson writes. But unlike 1000 Awesome Things, Rookie magazine is not a solo blog: it is a massive, sprawling website that contains hundreds of articles and interviews from dozens of contributors.

That could have made its conversion to a book disastrous. But Rookie Yearbook One is charming both in content and in layout, despite being as heavy as a biology textbook and equally packed with information. Credit is due to the extraordinary talent and skill of the book’s designer, Tracy Hurren of Drawn & Quarterly, to lead artist Sonja Ahlers who created all of the collages, water colors, and title headings by hand, and to Gevinson’s gifted contributors, many of whom are internationally famous authors and screenwriters.
Gevinson contends that Rookie Yearbook One is not a how-to guide to being a teenager, but rather “a place to make the best of the beautiful pain and cringe-worthy awkwardness of being an adolescent girl.” It is that, yes, but it is more: Rookie Yearbook One is a tool of empowerment for young women and I dare say young men as well. There are essays from celebrities (including especially poignant pieces from Lena Dunham, Joss Whedon, and Jack Black) describing their own difficult adolescent experiences and how they survived them. There are articles I wish had been available to me when I was a teenager (or, at least, that I wish I had known my peers wanted to read, too); articles such as “How to Approach the Person You Like Without Throwing Up” and “How to Look Like You Weren’t Just Crying in Less Than Five Minutes.” There are pieces that tackle difficult subjects like coming out, recovering from an eating disorder, or recognizing a bad relationship for what it is and getting out of it. And there is solid practical advice that adolescents and parents will both love, such as a primer on thrift store shopping, an article entitled “How to Clean Your Room in 10 Minutes,” and a guide to dressing for a party that tells readers to ignore all those fashion magazines comparing the shape of a woman’s body to a piece of fruit and instead to wear clothes that are practical, comfortable, and confidence-inspiring (“ask all the questions a mom would ask,” it encourages).

Rookie Yearbook One is also really, really fun. It is as mixed media as a book can be, with illustrations, photographs, stickers, suggested playlists to accompany specific articles or situations, and even a flexi disc. There is a continuous re-evaluation of what is the “best thing ever” (contenders: glitter, The Golden Girls, deep-sea creatures) and various taxonomies (midnight snacks, sweaters, hairstyles of the musicians of the 1980s).

When asked who Rookie Yearbook One was written for, Burns of Drawn & Quarterly says there is no ideal reader “other than any young woman interested in smart and fun articles.” But this reviewer would argue that even Burns’ definition is too narrow. Rookie Yearbook One is about adolescence, yes; but it is not just for teenagers. It is both a comfort for readers trudging through the swamp of adolescence and a balm for the wounds that older readers still carry, no matter their age. "
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Tavi Gevinson in Vogue Australia

Updated September 11, 2013


"Tavi Gevinson on feminism, sacrificing procrastination, and creativity"

by Zara Wong
Vogue Australia, July 23, 2013

At the age of only 17 years old (16 at the time of interview, to be precise), Gevinson has made quite a name for herself as the "oracle of girl world", according to the New York Times.
Juggling high school with editing her digital and print magazines Rookie, she's the prime example of how to multi-task. "I still have time to see my friends, watch television, relax and work on my own creative projects," she says over the phone to Vogue ahead of her Australian visit (she's excited to see the Great Barrier Reef). "The only sacrifice I have to make is procrastinating – I don't have time to do that anymore and that's fine with me." Luckily for Gevinson, she's passionate about her work. "I really like what I do, so it never feels hard. I try not to do anything I don't like, so I stay motivated pretty easily."
The universal success of her publication speaks volumes about her influence but also her unique approach. "We talk to readers like they're normal people. We really try not to condescend. I think that there's a lot of the stuff you deal with in high school, it gets better but I think some insecurities and fears you have stay with you," she explains. "I try to be very honest in my writing. It's amazing though to think that people are responding to what we do, but it's okay if they're responding in a positive way too, because I think just creating anything at all to put out there is a gift."
Despite many calling her a role model, she shies away from such labels. "I understand that a lot of girls feel encouraged by what I have been able to do, but I've never felt like I'm a role model. I'm not concerned with building a great legacy or anything because I'll be dead so it won't matter." One label she will embrace is being a feminist. "Feminism to me means fighting. It's a very nuanced, complex thing, but at the very core of it I'm a feminist because I don't think being a girl limits me in any way," she says, disclosing that it's one of her most common interview questions. "I think the reason that so many people shy away from the term and prefer to call themselves humanists or whatever is because they think feminism is all about women, but it's a lot about breaking down the social constructs and ideas about gender that oppress all of us, frankly."
Looking ahead, Gevinson is keen to major in English at university. "English has always been my favourite subject and I just want to read books and talk about them with people." Despite the excitement about Rookie, she's mature enough to consider putting her media career on hold for tertiary education. "So we'll have to see, I think I'll be happy no matter what, as long as I have a blank journal and some markers."

Tavi Gevinson will speak at the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall on August 18 and at the Melbourne Writers' Festival on August 23 and 24.

Read more about Tavi Gevinson in this month's issue.
 
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  Flavorwire talks to Tavi Gevinson

Updated September 10, 2013


"Flavorwire Interview: Talking Taylor Swift with Tavi Gevinson"

by Jason Diamond
Flavorwire, July 12, 2013

I didn’t listen to Taylor Swift after Michael Robbins gave her album Red a great review at Spin, and I didn’t bother to listen after Rick Moody bashed her, prompting people to bash Moody, prompting Moody to defend himself. I kept my pop music blinders on, and just went ahead ignoring the existence of Taylor Swift partially because I think that deep down I knew that I would probably like her music.

Then I read Tavi Gevinson’s article in the most recent of The Believer, and told myself that it was time to give Taylor Swift a chance, because if I’m going to trust anybody’s taste on a pop star, it’s going to be the 17-year-old founder of Rookie Mag.

Flavorwire: You write that the “general public,” bigger magazines, etc. make Taylor Swift’s “greatest strength seem like her greatest weakness,” which I think is really interesting, because she has so many individual fans from so many different walks of life. Everyone from Neil Young to Kathleen Hanna to Grimes talks about how much they like her. Why do you think people get so into Swift’s music?

Tavi Gevinson: She has an incredible ability to capture universal feelings — like, so incredible that you’re convinced you relate even if you don’t. Beyond the songwriting, she has a lot of control over her brand (her New Yorker profile offers a look at this) and you can tell she takes what she does really seriously. There’s a lot of junk she could get away with rationing out to other people to do for her, but she does it anyway, and it’s nice to feel like someone is making their music for you. Her level of involvement doesn’t seem like some dirty commercial trick — it seems sincere.

There are also Swift’s naysayers. There’s this good article that was pegged to your Believer article that talks about how there are people that don’t like Swift because of ” the inherent uncoolness of the teenage girl.” So, to consider the other side, why do you think some people dislike Swift so much?

-- Some of it is just the standard, inevitable, famous pop star part: she has an enviable life. But I think more of it comes from people who really hate that it could be more complicated than that, that they can’t just dismiss it as stupid teenybopper music because critics take her seriously and she’s proven herself to be so much more than a passing fad. That’s when they try to invalidate the parts of her which are impressive or even somewhat subversive — her songs and feelings are based on lies because she’s a crazy manipulative serial dater! The unique amount of control she has over her brand is exploitative of her loyal fans!

I think it’s good to talk about pop music and its influence and to hold to a standard the message artists choose to send. I will never tell people to just stop reading into something and enjoy it. But I think many of those naysayers are looking for ways to avoid reading into her music at all because they just can’t comprehend that someone who basically created the market of teen girl country music is also someone people talk about beyond dopey YouTube comments.

-- I didn’t see the article you’re talking about but I’d agree that, in spite of her audience expanding now way beyond teen girls, people don’t take her seriously because of that connotation. And I agree with what Lena Dunham said about how people think it proves what an intellectual they are to not want to talk about her music, but it really just proves that they should be hanging out with the mansplaining dudes I put up with in middle school who thought they’d discovered Kurt Cobain.

I’ve seen articles that use Swift as the focal point for discussions on everything from classism to gender: can you think of another current pop star that stirs up so much debate and discussion?

-- Kanye? That’s probably just because Yeezus just came out. Also the baby. There’s been a lot of discussion about Beyonce’s feminism since her Ms. cover. But I really can’t say, I basically just stick to what I know I’ll like when I go online so I don’t know what most people are going on about.

As a fan, how would you like to see Swift’s career progress?

-- I’ve come across some interviews where she’s just like, “I’ll know when to step out of the spotlight, I just wanna be old and happy and living in a garden.” I hope we get to hear more from her for a very long time, but I want all my favorite artists to be healthy and happy, so if this stops being a life she wants, I’ll just add her to my list of Inspirational Hermits. All of her albums show growth rooted in a set of constant principles and I’m sure she’ll continue along those lines.

What else have you been listening to as of late, other than Taylor Swift?

-- Joanna Newsom’s Have One On Me, ESG’s A South Bronx Story. It’s my last summer as a high schooler, so Big Star’s #1 Record and Bruce Springsteen’s Darkness on the Edge of Town.

Is Rookie Yearbook Two ready to go? Are you getting ready for that to come out? Anything else going on with you these days?

-- We JUST finished it! I’m so happy with it and can’t wait for our readers to see it. That doesn’t come out till October 1st so I have a few months to cool off, but I am speaking at the Sydney Opera House next month, so right now I’m mapping all that out despite my every urge to just get up there, fart a bunch, and drop the mic.

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Tavi Gevinson featured in Forbes' 30 Under 30

Updated June 4, 2013


"30 under 30: Media: Tavi Gevinson, 16. Founder and editor in chief, Rookie Magazine"

by Forbes Magazine

By day, she’s a high-school student in a non-descript Illinois suburb; by night -- or weekend, or school holiday -- she’s the founder, owner and editor of the online fashion website Rookie, and a pal of Vogue editor Anna Wintour and “This American Life” host Ira Glass.
 
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  WBEZ talks up Tavi's voice acting in Cadaver

Updated May 1, 2013


"How 90s rap, Shel Silverstein, and Oak Park influenced a former Chicagoan director"

Britt Julious
WBEZ, 16 April 2013

For Jonah Ansell, Chicago mattered. His experiences growing up in and near the city in the Western suburb of Oak Park directly nurtured his creative pursuits. His latest work, Cadaver, is a lushly-constructed and visually-mesmerizing graphic novel and animated short film starring Oak Park teen and fashion/media mogul Tavi Gevinson, Academy Award winner Kathy Bates, and Christopher Lloyd. It tells the story of a cadaver who wakes up to tell his wife a final goodbye only to discover a truth about death he did not know in life. A mix of child-like storytelling with more mature themes, Cadaver is a testament to the power of the grand narrative in creating works of fiction. The film plays April 23 at the Edlis Neeson Theater at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. A discussion and book signing follows. Tickets are available online.

“I didn’t appreciate how nurturing of an environment I was in until I came back,” Ansell said about his experiences growing up in Oak Park. Ansell’s family moved to the suburb from the city when he was young. It was his experiences attending William Beye Elementary School, growing up on Humphrey Avenue, reading voraciously – that shaped his love of storytelling. Ansell counted one experience – painting murals on the walls of the elementary school – as particularly affecting.

“This concept that this communal space doesn’t just have to be a walk through and that you can empower kids to do what they want to do was powerful,” he said. “The idea that you could make stuff and comment on the human experience as performance stuck with me.”

Cadaver began as a poem Ansell wrote for his sister on her first day cutting open a dead body in medical school. The poem was a means of providing a touch of humor and humanity to the medical profession.

“We as humans are not islands,” Ansell said. “We’re not separated from what we do in life.”

Although he claims she rejected the work, the story stayed with him long after he wrote it.

“In this light-hearted whimsical ride, I realized there was a worldview about how people are, what life is, what love is," Ansell said. "It was all wrapped up in this little tiny poem.”

This story of the human experience soon sprang forth as a fully-formed narrative.

The work begged for a visual component that was as immediately captivating, but still embraced the small scale of the project. More than 400 artists working in a variety of mediums were interviewed for the project. The crew eventually chose Seattle-based 2D animator and artist Carina Simmons. Simmons’ illustrations are angular and visceral with a style more realistic and human than not. Emotions are vividly drawn and felt by audiences.

When creating Cadaver, which in its simplest form is a love story, the crew saw Simmons’ work as a complement to the emotional scope of the story.

“You have to be careful that it doesn’t come across saccharine or sugary sweet,” Ansell said. “We knew we had to add a little edge, so it would emotionally land where we were attempting for it to land. That’s where that artwork helped clarify the film we were trying to go for.”

The animation took about three months and the entire film production took six months, with the artist stationed in Seattle, the animator in San Francisco, and many of the crew based in Los Angeles.

Casting actors was surprisingly less complicated. Gevinson was the first hire. A longtime family friend, Gevinson was the first person Ansell approached and she immediately signed on. The two previously worked together on another film, First Bass, shot on location at Wrigley Field.

In terms of Lloyd and Bates, Ansell and his crew created a wish list of people they assumed would reject them and the two actors were at the top of their list. However, after emailing them and providing a few visual samples of what the work would look like, both signed on.

“It was a Hail Mary,” Ansell said.

Ansell cites influences ranging from George Carlin to 90s rap.

“For a kid growing up on Humphrey, this had a positive impact: what you can do with words, how you can bend words, how you would bring energy to what you’re saying,” he said.

Ansell also said he looked toward the storytelling structure of some of his favorite childhood authors: Roald Dahl and Shel Silverstein.

Ansell's summer mornings were spent outdoors playing with friends, but his afternoons were often spent reading. This love of reading informed the creation of a graphic novel in addition to the film.

“Whenever you have an idea for a story, you always wonder, what is the best medium to tell this story?” Ansell said. “[With books] you can linger, you can pause, you can flip the page back. You can’t do that with film.”
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Tavi Gevinson

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Rookie Yearbook One




Racked is all over Tavi Gevinson's DJ career

Updated May 1, 2013


"Tavi Gevinson: From Style Blogger to After-party DJ"

Zara Husaini
Racked Chicago, 17 April 2013

What you're about to read may make you feel underaccomplished, but it's worth noting anyway: Tavi Gevinson, the teen force behind Rookie Mag is adding yet another skill to her ever-growing bag of tricks.

According to Refinery 29, the precocious little maven, a Chicagoland native, will spin at Debonair Social Club next Tuesday for the Museum of Comtemporary Art's showing of Cadaver. As if all that weren't enough, Gevinson also voices the lead role. Oh, and she can sing, too.
 
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Tavi Gevinson

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Rookie Yearbook One




  Tavi Gevinson DJ set for Cadaver premier

Updated May 1, 2013


"Hey, Mr. DJ: Tavi Gevinson Takes On A Whole New Profession"

Nicole Briese
Refinery 29, 17 April 2013

Go ahead and add another title to Tavi Gevinson’s growing résumé. As if fashion icon, actress, singer, entrepreneur, writer, and editor weren’t enough, the teen powerhouse is taking on the role of DJ. On Tuesday, April 23, Tavi’s tunes will be spinning at Debonair Social Club in celebration of the Museum of Contemporary Art’s screening of Cadaver, the award-winning short.

Even though she doesn't hit the night circuit with a turntable in tow on the reg, having lended her vocal talents to the film’s lead role and recorded two full-length songs for its release, she’s more than qualified to provide the soundtrack to Cadaver’s official after-party. Fingers crossed her covers of Neil Young’s "Heart of Gold" and the Pet Shop Boys’ "Heart" both make the list! (Trust us: They’re good!)

Live music will also be featured, with performances by local Internet stars Teen Witch, Shantasy Island, and Molly Soda, plus Juketastrophe, Molly Hewitt, and Claire Van Eijk. And, best of all? It’s totally free. RSVP at Do312 to skip the cover, and arrive early to lower your drink tab — PBR hosts an hour of complimentary brews from 9 to 10 p.m.
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Tavi Gevinson

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Rookie Yearbook One




Tavi Gevinson in the Oak Park-River Forest Patch

Updated April 15, 2013


"Short Film 'Cadaver' Reawakens as Graphic Novel"

Lauren Williamson
Oak Park-River Forest Patch, 15 April 2013

A work of art doesn’t typically make its public debut as a short film and later become a graphic novel.

But nothing is quite ordinary about Jonah Ansell’s Cadaver, which started as a poem he wrote for his sister the day she dissected her first human corpse in medical school.

Ansell will be speaking about the work’s evolution and screening the film April 23 at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, alongside fellow Oak Park native Tavi Gevinson, who narrated the animated film.

Central to the talk will be Ansell’s journey to find the right medium for the story. After directing the film, which was long listed for a 2013 Academy Award, he felt there was more to explore in the story of a cadaver who awakens from the dead to discover a heartbreaking secret. The film also features the voices of Christopher Lloyd and Kathy Bates.

A graphic novel seemed like the right fit, Ansell said, because it would slow down the story.

“I loved letting my eye linger on the page and reflect on the words,” he said.

Ansell cast Gevinson, a family friend, after having worked with her on his 2007 short, First Bass, well before she became famous for her blog, Style Rookie, and later the online magazine Rookie.

“She had a very wonderful intelligence to her,” he said. “Even at a young age she carried herself so well.” Gevinson also contributed to the soundtrack by singing songs from Neil Young and the Pet Shop Boys.

For a story about destiny, it’s also fitting that Cadaver’s transformation from poem to film to graphic novel followed Ansell’s sister’s studies through med school.

Just a few weeks ago, she matched at Columbia University for her residency in dermatology and will graduate from Northwestern University one month to the day after Ansell speaks at the MCA—starting the next phase of her life just as Cadaver begins its.
 
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Tavi Gevinson

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Rookie Yearbook One




  Tavi Gevinson on the cover of Adweek

Updated April 15, 2013


"16-Year-Old Media Mogul Tavi Gevinson Is Expanding Her Empire"

Emma Bazilian
Adweek, 14 April 2013

Tavi Gevinson has been called everything from the future of fashion to the future of journalism (by Lady Gaga, no less). Pretty heady titles for anybody, especially a blogger who has yet to finish her junior year of high school. But if the media insist on labeling anyone "the future of fill-in-the-blank," they could do a lot worse than Gevinson.
Gevinson created her first blog, The Style Rookie, at age 11. At the time, she didn't have a grown-up helper or connections in the fashion world or access to designer threads—just a fascination with high-concept design (Comme des Garçons and Rodarte were and still are among her favorites), a gift for writing and the sensibility to turn a thrifted sweater, her mom’s skirt and a pair of oversized sunglasses with the lenses popped out into a full-blown fashion statement.
In no time, the pixieish Gevinson was taking breaks from her middle-school studies to sit front-row at Fashion Week, contribute to Harper's Bazaar and serve as muse for Rodarte’s collaboration with Target.
Now 16, Gevinson's focus is Rookie, an online magazine for teen girls she launched in 2011 and where she serves as editor in chief. Independently owned (ad sales were originally handled by New York Media, and currently by Say Media), the site is a mix of personal essays, nostalgic musings and cultural tidbits with a feminist slant, and counts more than 40 contributing writers. Advertisers have included Target, Urban Outfitters and MTV.
Gevinson runs her budding empire from her parents' home in Oak Park, Ill., where she attends public high school. She’s been heralded as both a modern fashion icon and an arbiter of teen taste. In conversation, she comes off as self-effacing but confident. Her image is that of both cool kid and outsider—in other words, she’s the girl you wish you could have been best friends with in high school. Now, thanks to Rookie, an entire generation of teenage girls is getting that chance, as the worlds of fashion and media follow her every move.
Watch your back, Anna.

So, Lady Gaga called you "the future of journalism." How does it feel to have that weight on your shoulders?
I don't know. Anxiety is kind of my comfort zone when it comes to that kind of thing, but not in a bad way. I just try and remind myself not to get too comfortable. I’m happy to take credit where credit is due. When I heard the Lady Gaga thing, I was like, "That was really nice of her!" But she’s not a journalist, you know what I mean? With Rookie, I didn’t think back when I was 12, “How do I stay relevant? In a few years, I’ll start a magazine.” It happened organically. If the next thing I do is not necessarily filling the role of “the future of journalism,” it’ll probably be whatever is making me happiest, and that’s enough for me.

What’s interesting is that, through all of this, you’ve led a pretty normal life with your family in the suburbs of Chicago. How did you reconcile your two worlds?
It’s definitely a balancing act. But I prefer it to the alternative, which is to pick one. I don’t want to just go to high school, and I don’t want to just be homeschooled and live my life working behind a computer. It wasn’t easy at first—I remember being really sad going home after my first fashion week because I felt like, “Oh, it’s just back to middle school and all of these people who don’t understand me and make fun of my outfits.” Now, I’m in high school and I have really great friends and more to look forward to when I come home.

Most people look back at middle school as such an awkward time in their lives. And you’ve got that whole period documented on a blog. Does it feel weird to have those personal moments available for everyone on the Internet to read?
It’s not that weird because I never felt like it was that private. I wasn’t prepared, necessarily, for the number of people who read it to read it, and there have definitely been times where it’s 3 a.m. and I’m looking back through stuff and deleting things from my Tumblr. I haven’t deleted much off my blog because that’s kind of crystallized and needs to stay where it is. It’s part of my personal—forgive me for sounding pretentious—evolution. I think that when you’re leaving that kind of trail, yeah, you’re bound to be embarrassed. But that just means that you’ve changed and, hopefully, grown. It brings me no joy and not enough comfort to dwell too much on things I’ve said or written or made or worn in the past.

It also must have been tough, at 12 or 13 years old, to be in the public eye and getting attention that was sometimes negative. People were saying that an adult must have been writing the blog for you or that you were a gimmick. Was that hard for you?
It was. Sometimes I wish I could go back and say, “Dude, that person commenting [on my blog] is bored at their job.” But at the same time, it was like, “Do I just stop?” I noticed a pattern after some time that, no matter what I did, people would be very skeptical of it. I knew that I could continue to go in a direction where I would just try to feel inspired and do what makes me happy, or I could get caught up in the mind games of taking all of these opinions into account. And I chose the former.

That’s a really mature decision for a thirteen-year-old.
I don’t know that it was maturity as much as extreme immaturity in that I just hadn’t had that adolescent self-esteem drop yet.

Why did you shift from writing primarily about fashion on your blog to exploring culture and movies and music?
One thing that I always liked about fashion was that it was tied in with music and art and film. At a certain point, I think that I naturally got bored of who I was and my interests just sort of shifted organically. I did have an experience at Fashion Week my freshman year of high school where I realized how that world can make you so caught up and anxious about how you come off that you can't really see outside of yourself, and I was just like, this is bad. I would like to avoid this.

It must have been a huge jump for you to go from writing Style Rookie on your own to managing a business.
Oh, yeah. I didn’t sleep all of sophomore year.

Are most of the Rookie writers also teenagers?
It’s pretty evenly divided into teens, 20s, 30s, and then we also have some in their 40s and 50s. But mostly teens and young women.

What’s your editorial involvement with the site? Do you read everything before it posts?
The first year, I read everything before it went up. Recently, it got to the point where I was extremely exhausted and had to reevaluate and reprioritize. But at the beginning of each month, I decide on the theme with our editorial director Anaheed [Alani], and she’ll ask me what kind of aesthetic I’m into now, we’ll find a theme that goes with it, and I’ll make a mood board and send our staffers a bunch of thoughts that I have for what I want them to write about.

How involved are you in the business side?
My dad’s office is right next to my bedroom. We have a managing editor, and [my dad] is the business adviser. All the ads go through me, and any ideas that we come up with for [advertising] content that’s not just banner ads goes through me. When it comes to planning our events, I’m involved in that, and obviously I was really involved in the book that we did.

Do you make sure that all of the advertisers on the site mesh with the Rookie message?
Yeah. It depends on how closely we’re working with them—like with banner ads, I feel like I’m standing by their message less than with a sponsored post. For example, for a few sponsored posts, we worked with that show Awkward on MTV, and that felt right to me—it’s a show around high school. We have vetoed some things, like anti-aging, wrinkle shit. I’m like, "Why would we be selling this to 13 year olds?"

Rookie has a unique publishing schedule where you post three articles a day around after-school, dinnertime and bedtime. How did you come up with that?
I remember when I wanted to start Rookie, my dad said, "How will you even be able to keep up with it yourself?" And I was like, “We’ll do it on my schedule”—which also happens to be the schedule our entire readership will be on. So it just made sense.

Another thing that makes Rookie unique among teen-oriented media is that it’s actually edited by a teen. Do you think that adults can speak as effectively to your age group?
Yeah, I mean, a lot of our writers are adults, and to me, the strength is in the balance. With adults, it’s nice to have someone who can look back on something and have a perspective on it.

Are there any teen magazines that you really connected with when you were younger, or now?
I feel like I mostly just read other girls’ blogs or zines. I had old issues of Sassy. And I like Teen Vogue—I think they have really great, creative styling, and I like their attitude about fashion.

When you originally came up with Rookie, you were working with Jane Pratt. Is she involved in the site at all?
We’ll hear from one another every once in a while, but her involvement was really important in the beginning. She’s the one who said, “Let’s do this,” so I wouldn’t have even tried to make it possible if she hadn’t, but she was also starting her website at the same time, so her time was limited. I can’t say how important it was to have [Jane’s] support in the beginning, but I would not say that she is a mentor now. That’s just how things have happened.

There were a lot of comparisons made between Sassy and Rookie. How do you think you speak to your readers vs. how Sassy did in the ’90s?
Our medium allows us to put out more content, which means putting out more points of view. I haven’t looked at my issues of Sassy since before I started Rookie just because I thought Rookie needed to have its own life. And it’s hard to compare because we have a lot more leeway. We don’t really have to please advertisers the way that a print magazine did.

Do you think that a print magazine can still be as influential as Sassy was?
I don't know. I think of a magazine like The Gentlewoman, and it’s not on the newsstand at the grocery store, but the people who do read it really like it and take it really seriously. Then you’ll have, like, Entertainment Weekly, and a lot of people read it, but it’s not the same kind of dedication. I guess it’s different kinds of influence and in different amounts.

Considering you’re in school eight hours a day, you probably don’t have that much time to be reading blogs.
If I’m extremely bored and I don’t have a book with me and I’m being an obnoxious teenager, I’ll read BuzzFeed on my phone. But even that just leaves me feeling icky because I think for some reason my comfort zone is to just not really be in the loop about stuff like awards shows or things like that. And I think it’s so annoying when people say that! It’s like, ugh, get over it. But it’s not a moral thing—it’s just that I feel physically uncomfortable being taken out of my bubble.

I get that. It's like you don’t want to be taken out of the moment you have in your world with your things.
Yeah. In my brain, I know it’s really a nice thing that I can like Taylor Swift and so can millions of other people, and that’s one thing we can all share. But on an emotional level, I’m like, get away!

You like Taylor Swift?
I love Taylor Swift.

Really?
I do. I have a 4,000-word guide to my favorite songs of hers that I send to any friend who’s a new Swiftie. I’m very serious about my fandom.

Have you ever written about that for Rookie?
No. I don’t know how to do it. I’m really tired of the conversation about her feminism, but I also know that it wouldn’t be right with the readers we have and with the way we usually deal with things to write about her without addressing that. I will one day, maybe.

There’s so much conversation around whether you can like fashion or read fashion magazines but still be a feminist.
Oh, totally. Sometimes I even still get embarrassed when people are like, "You have that blog, right?" And I worry that they’ll think I’m shallow because I write about fashion, or used to. I definitely think that fashion and feminism can be friends. I even think that fashion can be a tool of feminism and of self-expression and individuality and empowerment. But clearly there are flaws with the industry that still really grind my gears.

So many of Rookie’s cultural touchstones are from the '90s—My So-Called Life, Daria, Freaks & Geeks. Do you think there’s any media out there now that resonates with young women the same way that those shows did?
Aesthetically, there’s a lot from the past that resonates, but I actually am really happy to be alive now. I think TV is better than it’s ever been—maybe not teen shows, but I think it’s easier for teens now to watch whatever they want. All of my friends watch Girls or Downton Abbey or The Wire, and they’re ages 15 to 50. I guess a lot of my tastes and Rookie’s are based in nostalgia for things that I’ve never actually experienced, but the good thing about nostalgia is that you can take the parts you like but not necessarily mimic it in every other way. This month, our theme is Age of Innocence, and it’s the kind of aesthetic that has really been reserved for thin white girls when it comes to fashion photography and the stuff that was inspiring us. But that’s why, in our photos, our models will not all be white and skinny. So I guess there’s nostalgia, but we want to do something with it that’s more inclusive or modern.

Obviously it’s a long way away, but as you age out of being a teenager, do you think this is still an audience you’ll want to talk to?
I’ll have to see how I feel then. I will always feel a kind of obligation to these readers, I think, because we’re going through all this at the same time, and they’re going through things that I can’t imagine, and Rookie has somehow been a resource for them. It’s just all really tied into a place in my heart. At the same time, a message of Rookie has been to do what you’re passionate about, and you don’t necessarily owe anyone anything, so I think if I get out of college or if I even start college and I think, "I want to study neurology…"

Are you planning to go to college when you graduate from high school?
Yeah. I’m taking a gap year but I’m going to college.

I remember reading a profile of [Sea of Shoes blogger] Jane Aldridge where she said something like, “What’s the point in going to college? I’ve got the career that I want.” When you’re a teenager and successfully blogging, is college even important?
I mean, I really like Jane, so I don’t mean for this to be in contrast to what she said, but first of all, you don’t go to college for fashion blogging, and second of all, there are too many things I’m curious abut, too many things I want to learn.

What do you think is next for Rookie?
I want to put out a total of four yearbooks [annual best-of-Rookie compilations in print] so that there will be one for every year of high school. In a way, I can’t imagine ever not deciding themes and stuff. At the same time, the tone is there. I don’t need to go in and be like, “Please don’t use this clichéd phrase.” So I think if I were to go off to college and go into my own head a little bit, Rookie would be in good hands. I wouldn’t be OK leaving it if it wasn’t. But I don’t think I’ll ever leave it fully.

Outside of Rookie and going to school, do you even have time for a personal life?
Yeah! After I get off the phone with you, my boyfriend’s coming over [laughs]. I just don’t really have time to slack off, which is fine, because I feel really unhappy when I’m idle or when I procrastinate. Everything that I do is either something that I love or necessary to doing something that I love. There’s a lot of decision making, but for the most part, I’ve kind of figured out a way to do everything I want without exhausting myself.

That’s pretty impressive.
The thing is, I think I have it down right now, but something’s going to change, like, tomorrow, and I’m going to have to figure it all out all over again.
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Tavi Gevinson

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Rookie Yearbook One




Campus Circle recommends Moomin and Rookie

Updated April 11, 2013


From "BOOKS: SPECIAL FEATURES"

Angela Matano
Campus Circle, 4 April 2013

(...) Charming in the extreme, 16-year-old Tavi Gevinson’s RookieMag.com acts like a teen girl’s scrapbook/manifesto. Gathered together in Rookie Yearbook One, this smash book to all things female covers such disparate topics as eye makeup, feminism and “bitchfacing.” (...)


With all things Scandinavian increasing in popularity, it’s time to rediscover Tove Jansson. Her series of Moomintrolls, as in Moomin’s Winter Follies, started as comics before becoming a popular and enduring series. (...)

 
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Tove Jansson
Tavi Gevinson

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Rookie Yearbook One




  ABC Looks into Rookie's "cachet"

Updated April 11, 2013


"Fashionista, 16, Strives for 'Honest' Portrayal of Teen Psyche"

Juju Chang, Victoria Thompson and Mary Compton
ABC Nightline, 5 April 2013

Tavi Gevinson is the pint-sized style guru who, at the age of 11, created the wildly popular blog for teenage girls, "Style Rookie."

But at 7:30 a.m. on a Friday morning, she is just your average high school junior getting ready for school.

"I've gone to school with jeans and a sweatshirt on," she said. "I have weirder outfits that I want to wear but I save them for outside of school."

But Gevinson does lead a double life: She is a normal teenager by day and a burgeoning media mogul by night. When she launched "Rookie," her online magazine, it received 1 million views in its first week.

"It's weird to sit in school and be, like, I have a deadline, I have all of those emails I have to get back to, and only one person will see my homework, my teacher, but all of these other people will see my article," she said. "That's a weird balance to figure out."

It all started in her slightly cluttered bedroom in suburban Oak Park, Ill., which is filled with vintage accessories and pop culture paraphernalia. Gevinson gets her Bohemian looks from her mother, who is a Swedish-born artist. Her father is a retired high-school English school teacher.

Five years ago, the then-11-year-old Gevinson borrowed her dad's laptop and started posting photos of herself in eclectic, avant garde outfits in a signature funny, precocious voice. Those posts became "Style Rookie."

"I was in sixth grade," she said. "I just thought it would be fun to chronicle my interest in fashion as it was developing and changing."

Tens of thousands of clicks later, Gevinson was the toast of Fashion Week, Teen Vogue dubbed her "the luckiest 13-year-old on the planet," but she also drew snarky criticism by showing up to shows wearing eccentric pieces, like an enormous Stephen Jones bow that she wore to a Christian Dior fashion show.

"If you are a public person at all and you are aware of criticisms people have about you, you are sort of constantly worried about them being true," she said.

The latest phase of her career is expanding her horizons to talking about things beyond fashion, to arts and crafts, and essays on everything from Joni Mitchell to midnight snacking, as well as more serious topics like broken hearts, eating disorders and sexuality.

"We don't write about sex or anything for shock value," Gevinson said. "It's just because I think about the conversations I have with my friends or that I overhear and I think about what people feel like they are missing."

So what makes "Style Rookie" different from, say, "Seventeen" magazine? Gevinson said her magazine doesn't cater to what advertisers want.

"I do think there's just a general tone that can feel sort of condescending in a lot of writing or movies or TV shows that are made for teenagers, and I think a lot of it does come from wanting to teach, and that comes from like a really honest place," she said. "But it's not always gone about honestly, and so it just feels like a PSA that you would see in school and no one takes them seriously."
"Rookie" strives to be an authentic forum for the issues facing teenagers and is published on a schedule that is tailored to a high-schooler.

"We post after school, around dinner time and around bed time," Gevinson said. "When we were starting this, my dad was like, 'How are you going to do this? You are in school during the day,' and I was like, 'Well, so is everybody else so I'll just post when we all get home.'"

The site has such cachet it has attracted high-profile contributors like HBO "Girls" creator Lena Dunham, comedian Sarah Silverman. And, for the girl who loves the '60s "Mad Man" aesthetic, even the AMC show's star, Jon Hamm.

While wearing a 5 o'clock shadow and a St. Louis Cardinals t-shirt, the "Mad Men" actor gave "Rookie" readers hysterical, but honest, advice about what boys are thinking in a Q&A session. Hamm answered one question from a 16-year-old girl who asked what she should do about being ready to "do stuff" with her boyfriend of three weeks when he didn't want to.

"I am going to have to know what this [air quotes] stuff is," Hamm said. "If it is making out, he should want to do that, it's super fun. If it's having sex, that has other things to deal with. Then he's probably right to say slow your roll."

"His thing was that he is sort of very uncomfortable answering these questions about sex from teenage girls and that worked out great," Gevinson said.

But the uber-literate, style-conscious teen does admit to having weak spots. For one, she said she is a "horrible" driver who failed her driving test. And yet, she has employees who work for her, some of whom are in their 40s.

"They are all there because they take our audience seriously," Gevinson said. "At the risk of sounding cheesy, there is a lot of love that goes into working on 'Rookie' and it absolutely would not work if the people working on it didn't respect the intelligence of teenagers."

The truth is that teenagers are complicated. They are a bundle of contradictions, bravado laced with insecurity, with moments of joy and angst.

"Being a teenager is just, kind of, inevitably horrible," Gevinson said. "But I think a lot of the sadness or angst or any of the problems teenagers deal with are often sort of brushed aside because they are teenagers so people think, 'It's just a phase,' or, 'He or she is just being a teenager.'"

It's that kind of raw honesty that makes Gevinson an inspiration to young girls.

Some parents have asked me, 'This book has a lot of serious stuff in it; is it OK to give my daughter?'" she said. "And I feel like those are already things that like 12-, 13-year-olds know about and are talking about with their friends. And here is at least one person's honest account of it."
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Featured artist

Tavi Gevinson

           Featured product

Rookie Yearbook One




MAKERS: Tavi Gevinson is "making history"

Updated April 4, 2013


"MAKING HISTORY: Tavi Gevinson Becomes Editor-in-Chief of Rookie at Age 15"

MAKERS Blog, 31 March 2013

In honor of Women's History Month, we are celebrating with 31 days of women's history! Every day in March, we will highlight an historic moment, as told through the personal stories of our MAKERS.

In our final post of this series, we shine the spotlight on the future with the young editorial phenom Tavi Gevinson, who took on the role of Editor-in-Chief of the online magazine Rookie at the age of 15.

Remarkably, Rookie is not even the first site she's run! She started her own fashion blog Style Rookie at just 11 years old and grew a loyal following of readers who loved her unique voice and sense of self. A few years after becoming a fashion sensation, Gevinson widened her focus when she launched Rookie, which is a gathering place of pop culture and feminism for the adolescent audience featuring pieces from the likes Lena Dunham, Judd Apatow, and Joss Whedon.

Gevinson and her staff's creativity, honesty, and confidence provide a fresh voice for teenagers navigating their way through the sticky terrain that is adolescence. While teens often feel the pressure to push aside who they are to fit the norm, Gevinson describes herself as a person who simply likes herself.
 
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  Tavi Gevinson written up by In the Loop

Updated April 4, 2013


"Style Rookie Turned Style Veteran"

Kacie
In the Loop, Scarves.net, 21 March 2013

When you were 11 years old, how did you spend your free time? While you may have been dressing Barbie dolls, Chicago-born Tavi Gevinson was acting as her own personal stylist and posting her photographed looks on her very own fashion blog. From pre-teen blogger to teenage fashion muse and editor-in-chief of her very own magazine, Tavi is an inspiration in every sense of the word.

Here at SDN, we <3 Tavi. Read on for the lowdown on her many, many achievements.

STYLE ROOKIE

It was the spring of 2008 and Tavi, only in middle school, was busy posting away on her blog, The Style Rookie. Much to the surprise of fashion bloggers, journalists, and designers everywhere, Tavi seemed to have a compelling gift for creating unique looks resembling something of those featured in designer lookbooks — and not so much those of a young schoolgirl. While her style was a little out there, even for the most seasoned fashionista, her creativity and spark did not go unnoticed. Just months later, Tavi was featured in an article in the New York Times, and her fame grew from there.

In 2009, she was given the opportunity to do something most only dream of. She was invited to sit front row at many shows during Fashion Week, adding further flame to her fashion-fueled fire. Since then, she has become the muse of numerous designers around the world, been featured in numerous publications for not only her style, but also her views on feminism, and has even collaborated with designers to help create their collections.

SEASONED STYLE VET

Currently editor-in-chief of her own online magazine, Rookie Magazine, Tavi is the Anna Wintour of her generation. She also recently published her own book, a super fun guide on being a teenage girl, which is entitled Rookie Yearbook One. Most recently, she had the opportunity to pursue acting. She filmed her first feature film this past summer, before returning home to start her junior year of high school last fall.

Along with her career, Tavi’s style has progressed tremendously, taking her from rookie to veteran in just four years. From slightly frumpy (but still kind of cool, right?!) to high fashion, Tavi has a natural talent for finding the perfect balance between thrifted, vintage pieces and the more modern ones of today. The end result is an ultra-trendy look that is uniquely her own.

…Isn’t that what we all want?
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Tavi Gevinson on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

Updated April 4, 2013


"Tavi Gevinson On School and Future Plans"

7 February 2013
 
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  Westervin raves about Tavi Gevinson's influence

Updated April 4, 2013


"Why I Love Tavi Gevinson"

Sarah
Westervin, 18 February 2013

What were your biggest concerns as a teenager? Fitting in? Finding yourself? Trying to make sense of the world around you as it expanded beyond you, sometimes painfully, while everything felt so intensely important? Sixteen-year-old Tavi Gevinson is concerned with these things, too—not just for herself but for her following of teenage girls and young women. As the founder and editor of Rookie Magazine, Tavi explores these issues with maturity, feminist principles, and a strong sense of purpose. In her reviews of books, music, movies, and television, she analyzes emotional impact, authenticity, and complexity, sharing what will inspire, inform, and guide readers toward a healthier understanding of themselves and the world.

Tavi knows how a work of art will make readers feel. We will identify with the angst in Heathers, the yearning in The Virgin Suicides, and the “combined relief and excitement” of Etta James’ “At Last!” She understands the power that emotions hold, over teenagers especially, and acknowledges their often-fleeting nature.

Tavi also analyzes authenticity in art, dismissing female stereotypes while praising Joni Mitchell’s honesty about her own weaknesses, as well as Lena Dunham and Mindy Khaling for their sincere, non-clichéd portrayals of imperfect but inspiring women.

Whether celebrating a work for its layers of wit and charm or highlighting a character’s contradictory nature, like the sarcastic but hopeful Mindy, Tavi appreciates complexity. She sees how art can help readers reconcile their own contradictions—listen to Bowie’s Hunky Dory, she says, when you want to “feel like being in love with life without betraying the side of you that sometimes watches Bridezilla just to laugh at how stupid it is.”

Tavi zeroes in on the elements of art—emotional impact, authenticity, and complexity—that allow us to connect, be inspired, and make something of the world and of ourselves. I wish she had been around when I was 16…but at least she’s here for me now.
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Spin covers Rookie's interview with Morrisey

Updated April 3, 2013


From "Morrissey Advises Teenage Girls on Nail Polish and the Crushing Truths of Being Alive"

Chris Martins
Spin Magazine, February 26 2013

Never one to miss an opportunity to reinforce teenagers' feelings that the world is a cold, hard, and impossibly horrible place, Morrissey has given an interview to Rookie, the online magazine founded by 16-year-old fashion blogger Tavi Gevinson. In the rather mature chat (conducted by email), Moz gives advice on cruelty-free beauty products, talks about his early days as an artistically prolific youth, and squeezes in a sly jab at Madonna (spoiler alert: he calls her "McDonna").
 
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  Leeds Student Newspaper names Rookie among "top fashion books to read now"

Updated April 3, 2013


From "Top Fashion Books To Read Now"

Alice Tate
Leeds Student Newspaper, Vol. 43 No. 10, Friday 25th January 2013

Rookie Yearbook One, Tavi Gevinson

Fashion bloggers everywhere remain perplexed as to how little Tavi Gevinson appears to have it all: unique style, charisma, perfect prose. Not content with her globally famed blog, her New York Times profile, her ranking on Forbes’ ‘Under 30’, or her role as Rodarte’s muse, 2012 saw the publication of her very own book. Rookie Yearbook One is an elaborated print edition of her blog, bursting with content, contributors and exciting illustrations. Exploring fashion, culture, art and feminism, Tavi Gevinson has been hailed as “the future of journalism”. With words from the likes of Zooey Deschanel, Paul Rudd, Lena Dunham, Amy Poehler and so on, and each page turn doubling as an artwork, this book is a treat to thumb through.
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February School Library Journal says Rookie is "sassy, smart, and genuine"

Updated February 25, 2013


Gr 10 Up– An eclectic collection of personal essays, how-to articles, and interviews from the inaugural year of the feminist website Rookiemag.com have been compiled into a stunning handbook aimed at helping girls thrive in their teen years. Quirky mixed-media illustrations adorn the pages, giving the appearance of a handmade zine–the aesthetic is pure retro-chic. Photo essays in dreamy colors depict frolicking girls of all sizes and ethnicities, reinforcing the theme of being comfortable and confident in one’s own skin. Providing empathy and empowerment, standout articles include a moving essay on being a survivor of sexual abuse and handy tips on “How to Look Like You Weren’t Just Crying in Less Than Five Minutes.” Sassy, smart, and genuine, Rookie never talks down to its audience. Some gritty language and a frank article on the whys and hows of female masturbation may make this book most appropriate for older teens. The inclusion of ephemeral objects like stickers and punch-outs may be problematic from a library perspective, but the book’s strong visual appeal and worthwhile content outweigh the fact that bits of it may go missing after its first few checkouts. Irreverent, honest, and wholly affirming, this is a book that teen girls will cherish. –Allison Tran, Mission Viejo Library, CA
 

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  CNN interviews Tavi Gevinson on "the power of teenage girls"

Updated January 16, 2013


Tavi Gevinson may take over the world while you read this
By Abbey Goodman, CNN
updated 1:37 PM EST, Wed January 2, 2013

(CNN) -- Tavi Gevinson started a blog at age 11, became a front-row fixture at Fashion Week, was called "the future of journalism" by Lady Gaga, delivered a TED talk about feminism and female role models in pop culture, is the founder and editor-in-chief of Rookie, an online magazine for teenage girls and, to commemorate its first anniversary, just published 'Rookie Yearbook One,' a hard-copy scrapbook of the best pieces from the site.
And, oh yeah, she's 16 years old.
In five short years, the wunderkind from Oak Park, Illinois, has gone from self-proclaimed nerd to full-blown media mogul, using her platform to champion important teen girl causes ranging from How to Bitchface -- a step-by-step primer to "reacting to varying levels of stupidity" (see her demonstrate on "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon") to organizing a Get Well Soon card drive for Malala Yousafzai, the 14-year-old Pakistani schoolgirl activist who was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen.
Rookie launched in Fall 2011 and broke 1 million page views in under a week. Since then, the site has explored monthly themes like obsession, drama, play and paradise. Right now, it's mythology. Or, as Gevinson explains in the editor's letter: "lies, exaggerations, legends, the works."
To kick off each theme, Gevinson creates a mood board using fashion photos, film stills and album art as inspiration. Then she and the site's 50 contributors -- including fellow teens and more than a handful of celebrities -- go about interpreting her vision through articles, interviews, photos, playlists and illustrations. To accommodate kids' schedules, Rookie updates three times a day: after school, around dinner and before bed.
Before she was named one of Huffington Post's most amazing young people of 2012, Gevinson spoke with CNN about the power of teenage girls, making angst romantic and the one secret Jon Hamm must never find out.
CNN: Can you take us back to when you were 11 and why you started your blog Style Rookie?
Tavi Gevinson: I don't really remember what was going through my head like a month ago, but I think I was just super-bored with what I was wearing and kind of getting into fashion. My friend's older sister had a fashion blog and sent me links to something she liked and told me which magazines she liked. Fashion intersects a lot with art and film and music and that was appealing to me. I read a bunch of fashion blogs and wanted to be part of the community. I was just used to using the Internet because of the time that I'm growing up in, so I just sort of started it.
CNN: Why do you think the site became so popular?
Gevinson: I think, at first, my age. Whether people liked that factor or not, that was what got attention. I guess if it was only my age, then I probably wouldn't still have the audience to start something like Rookie, but I think at first it was a shocker that someone so young was using the Internet publicly for some reason. I never imagined it would be seen outside of these other girls and young women who were also playing dress-up and making collages of movies they liked.
CNN: What is it like to be a part of that community now that Rookie has taken off?
Gevinson: This past summer we took a Rookie road trip for the book and we stopped in 16 cities. We had events with our readers where we got to meet all of them and they got to meet each other. At Space 15 Twenty in Los Angeles, there was this installation that was supposed to be a teenage bedroom, so we asked girls to bring us souvenirs from their rooms. I was just going through the five boxes I shipped home from L.A., thinking I would put it all in storage and make a time capsule, but going through it all, I'm like, I have to have that in my room. It's just so special. I have one girl's journal. I love "Sweet Valley High"-type stuff and I was looking for gossip or drama. Her journal was like, "I went shopping with mom and watched 'Harold and Maude,'" and I was like, "Wait! This is even better!" It was really fun reading this girl's diary and reading all of the feelings she had about watching "Rosemary's Baby" for the first time.
CNN: You also have mingled with designers, editors, artists, celebrities and other industry types. Of all the people you've gotten to meet, who has been the greatest hero to date?
Gevinson: Taylor Swift. Her new album is so good. She was absolutely just smart and funny and kind and genuine when I met her. At the end, I very nervously was like, "Your music means a lot to me!" And she was of course totally kind about it because at this point anyone who says they don't like her music is kind of lying.
CNN: For someone whose cultural references eclipse your average 16-year-old's, it's endearing that you say someone so current and mainstream and teenager-y.
Gevinson: Sometimes Rookie is written about like, "Finally! Something for alternative girls" and I'm like, "No!" Obviously it's not for everyone, but I used to think that there are cheerleaders and there are art kids. And then I realized that's really silly and sometimes you feel like a cheerleader and sometimes you feel like an art kid, and there's a part of everyone that feels lonely or like an outcast. The idea that feeling confident and feeling misunderstood are mutually exclusive really bugs me. So a lot of what Rookie is about is just showing that you can be both and you can like whatever you want. In short, yes, I love Taylor Swift. I love One Direction and stuff like that. Sometimes you want something really serious that makes you feel emotional and makes you think, and sometimes you do just want a pop song. What I love about Taylor Swift is that she offers both.
CNN: In addition to writing by women like Zooey Deschanel and Lena Dunham, you have Paul Rudd, Joss Whedon and other cool men contributing to Rookie...
Gevinson: ...Many of whom do not have a target audience of teenage girls, so it's very generous of them.
CNN: But they're beloved by teenage girls.
Gevinson: Yes, they are. That's what they don't know. Jon Hamm made an "Ask a Grown Man" video for us, where we have grown men like him answer questions girls send in for our advice section of the site.
At the end of his video, he was like, "Watch 'Mad Men.' No! You're too young to watch 'Mad Men' --watch 'The Hunger Games.'" And all of the comments were like, "I'm 16 and I watch 'Mad Men.'" He has no clue that the only people who watch "Mad Men" are teenage girls, but if you tell him it'll just break his heart.
CNN: You also tried to get President Obama to be a Grown Man.
Gevinson: Yes, but we took that campaign on at the wrong time. He had a few other things on his plate (in September 2012). I wanted him to win and if he had lost, I would have had it in my brain like, those five extra minutes we stole for Rookie would have made the difference. ... But, we might pick that back up now that the presidential election is over. He was always on our wish list, but then people felt really passionate about it so the teenage girls of the Internet joined forces.
CNN: That's a powerful group.
Gevinson: I mean, if you've seen the Justin Bieber documentary, you know.
CNN: Yes, but what in particular resonated with you?
Gevinson: I have a lot of feelings about it; that could be a whole interview on its own. I just watched the Joan Rivers documentary and I thought that might be up to it. I watched Katy Perry's movie. It made me really emotional and made me want to see her live. I think Justin Bieber's story is so ... forgive me for wording it like this ... unique to our time. That movie is like a three-hour-long bar mitzvah montage. You know how when you go to a bar mitzvah, which I'm sure you do all the time, and they show a video of the kid through the years and it's really flattering because it's his bar mitzvah, so, obviously? That's what that movie felt like. It was called a documentary, but it was produced by him.
I am a Justin Bieber fan, but I am also so fascinated by how weird pop music can be and how manipulated it can be, so I enjoy thinking about that side of it too. I feel bad for him. I could never imagine growing up that way. When someone starts something like that so young, you have to wonder...
CNN: You've encountered a certain level of fame at a young age. What effect do you think it's had on you?
Gevinson: The scariest thing about receiving praise at a young age is the fear of burning out or losing it, or proving people right that you were just a novelty. Obviously, I can see mistakes in things that I've done or said and can see flaws in things I've made, but that's just part of growing.
The fear of being like, oh no, I made something people like, how do I follow it up? I'm more comfortable with that than feeling like nothing has gone right. I haven't been puppeteered or anything so I don't feel like I lost anything. My dad answers my press e-mails and stuff like that, but I got into this myself.
I am sitting in my room right now and I go to public high school. I leave every month or so for a few days and then I come home and I have to do my homework. At the same time, I don't mean to say I live a completely normal life because I have to do math homework.
Even if you do have a balance between career and school and friends and all of that, you still have to think about things that are different from what other people your age are thinking about and I just don't buy it when someone says that one cancels out the other.
You might be on your phone at school and see something written about you and you might feel weird about it and you can't talk to anybody about it because it's disgusting to talk about how you received attention at a young age for a blog, of all things. I try and keep my room and school a safe space where I can truly feel like I'm not performing for anyone or I don't have anything to prove to anyone.
CNN: It still seems like you have something valuable to offer other kids by talking about it. Your peers would probably like to learn how to deal with negative comments online and more generally how to both embrace and transcend the emotional chaos of being a teen.
Gevinson: I'm really good at making teen angst romantic. I'm really good at dealing with heartbreak and things like that, and making it into this whole experience. But there's no way to make someone-on-the-Internet-said-something-mean-about-me into romantic angst where you can listen to music and cry or whatever. That's just really pathetic. So I just try and think about these worries in their simplest form: Feeling misunderstood and feeling afraid. Being afraid to change because who you've been is so well-documented is essentially a normal fear about growing up. Social interactions are completely mortifying and embarrassment is in store for you, and in a year you'll hate whoever you are now and everything anyway. Just knowing all that helps too.

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Tavi Gevinson writes on the Virgin Suicides for NPR Books

Updated January 16, 2013


Teenage Disconnect And 'The Virgin Suicides'
by TAVI GEVINSON
December 26, 2012

Tavi Gevinson is the editor-in-chief of Rookie Magazine.

I turned 13, and then I read The Virgin Suicides. For one, it was about teenagers, girl teenagers, who, I was guessing, killed themselves. For another, the picture on the front cover reminded me of these woods my mom and I always passed upon entering strip mall/motel territory in my own Midwestern suburb, the alleged setting of many adolescent escapades. Also, sex was involved — 'cause, you know, "virgin." Given the obvious logical appeal of all of the above, I delved into the story of the mysterious Lisbon sisters and the neighborhood boys who observed their brief lives.

There are no heart-to-hearts in The Virgin Suicides, no Breakfast Club-esque debunking of high school stereotypes. Instead it's about teenagers who have only ideas of each other to think about, and just from a distance, because talking to people you like is scary and hormones suck and parents get suspicious. The boys crush on the girls, we think the girls crush on the boys, and then the girls kill themselves so we'll never know for sure.

All that's left are memories of the Lisbons recalled in almost creepy detail by their now-middle-aged admirers, still struggling to piece together an explanation for their deaths. The guys' nostalgia glorifies the sisters now as much as their boyish hopes and dreams did when it all began, and the sisters, too, had their own expectations of love and sex locked up with them at home, attempting in small ways to experience the outside world their mom tried to protect them from, hoarding travel brochures and rock records, decorating their rooms with shrines to whatever at that point gave them reason to live.

If there's any teen bonding experience in this book, it exists in all the small gestures acting as placeholders for what its characters wish they could say. Notes left in bicycle wheels, code transmitted through a window with a light, records played over the telephone. The Virgin Suicides is my favorite teen romance of all time, either in spite or because of the fact that the characters never really talk to one another.

When I first read this book, I didn't feel like a teenager. Now, at 16, despite writing about being a teenager, editing a website about being a teenager and publishing a book about being a teenager, I still don't feel like a teenager. When I look back on my adolescence so far, my memories consist primarily of events that never took place, stories imagined from the music and movies and books I've pored over alone in my room, hopes I've had that never quite panned out but which are as vivid in my mind as any real experience. I was sure that I was doing it wrong.

Digital Life
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'The Virgin Suicides': Inspired By Detroit's Woes?
I reread The Virgin Suicides once a year, and each time I come closer to accepting the possibility that maybe that's what adolescence is. Not making out with Trip Fontaine under the bleachers or losing your virginity at the school dance or jumping out a bedroom window after dramatically proclaiming love to an almost perfect stranger. But that disconnect, that yearning, just waiting itself.

PG-13 is produced and edited by the team at NPR Books.
 
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  Hello Giggles features Tavi Gevinson in their Inventory series

Updated January 16, 2013


Inventory with Tavi Gevinson
by Duane Fernandez

Inventory is a project designed to feature strong, beautiful, creative and inspiring people who have an interesting story to tell. This series gives the HelloGiggles readers an inside and intimate look at the lives of the subjects, through everyday objects that hold importance and have meaning.

I’m not sure what can possibly be said about Tavi Gevinson that you don’t already know, which is why this particular Inventory is one of my favorites. Tavi is obviously unbelievably smart, but moreover she’s generous, kind and level headed. We all love Rookie so much, and we’re so excited to share this installation of the series with you.

Can you tell me about your backpack, how long have you had it? Who gave it to you? What’s your favorite memory with your backpack?
I got it in Norway when I was very little. I used it in preschool and then found it again when I started high school and realized how perfectly it went with everything I own and now it goes with me everywhere. My favorite memory would be wearing it (with the badges on) to see Moonrise Kingdom on this past summer’s Rookie staff road trip, because I was dressed as Sam and my friend was Suzy.

How do you define success?
Satisfaction with both process and product, satisfaction regardless of public attention, appreciating positive attention without depending on it, ignoring negative attention that can’t help you, understanding that you are not entitled to an audience and your audience is not entitled to you.

You had a bunch of pipe cleaners in your purse- gold ones, silver ones… What do you make with them?
I had them with me when you saw me because I was braiding them in my hair for a couple outfits I wore on that trip to LA. The gold ones blended in with my hair color and created a secret glimmer! I love to use them for making crowns, too.

You travel with an assortment of notebooks and sketchbooks, does each one serve a specific purpose? Or do they each contain a series of random sketches and thoughts?
I think it’s nice to have different kinds of paper with you. Traveling with just a Moleskine is stressful in a silly way because they make you feel like everything you put in them has to be GENIUS. So I like to bring a cheaper book as well, usually, and loose leaf paper.

My journaling system used to be that each journal I went through had a different aesthetic. For a month (or however long it took me to use up that journal) I would be very specific about what types of pens I used, what colors I used, what clippings I pasted, what doodles I drew, my handwriting, etc. And I would usually also dress to match that aesthetic, and listen to that kind of music, hang out in different parts of the school or neighborhood, all over the course of that month or whatever. I haven’t done this in a while because at some point I stopped feeling the need to curate my experiences so carefully and I just wanted to be able to write. Now my journals are more mixed up. But it’s nice to look back and see a whole kind of movie play out as I’m reading about what was happening and imagining it all fitting together in this synesthetic way.

Witches, Bitches and Hos oil- what does it smell like? What does it do?
It’s a vanilla elixir. Three drops under the tongue every day. A woman named Dori Midnight makes them and I got mine from Otherwild, one of my favorite stores in LA.

What do you admire about Jay-Z?
How thoughtfully he considers his role as both an artist and someone with influence. How he doesn’t leave it all up to intuition, he also puts a lot of work and thought into what he’s creating. (The pages in Decoded where he goes line by line and explains a song that way are really great.) And his taste in women, of course.

Let’s talk about your Bass shoes by Rachel Antonoff, they’re brilliant. Rachel is a pretty neat person. What do you like about her designs?
Rachel said she started designing because she wanted to make the clothes she imagined herself wearing whenever she daydreamed about one of her crushes. I love that. I just really appreciate anything that is cute and makes you feel like a children’s book character and that comes from a pure desire to make lovely things.

Where is the most interesting place these shoes have been?
Inside a drugstore coin-operated rocket ship.

“Rookie Yearbook One” is quite an achievement on so many levels. How would you describe it?
Thank you so much! That’s very kind of you. I guess it’s sort of a yearbook, sort of a scrapbook, sort of…a recent article about it said it was like “inhaling a sleepover,” so I might just say that. With credit to the writer, Eva Wiseman.

Words to live by?
Lately I’ve found that I’ve been saying “This is how this is supposed to feel” to myself a lot. So I guess keep your expectations low and know that this was never meant to be easy and the world is huge and people are many and now is such a small moment in time so learn about science and let it put everything in perspective instead of making you feel insignificant. But also, be okay with feeling insignificant. And also, consider what every situation is truly about, even if it’s unpleasant. This requires a lot of energy, so sleep often and don’t waste time on dumb websites or with bad friends who make you feel lousy. Most importantly, don’t listen to me.
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Moneycontrol.com praises Tavi Gevinson's industriousness

Updated January 15, 2013


By Patricia Reaney
Thu, Dec 13, 2012 at 20:32
Teen fashion blogger branches out with book

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Tavi Gevinson has accomplished more in her 16 years than most people double her age.

The style blogger, writer and darling of the fashion set launched a fashion blog from her suburban Chicago home before she turned 12. Two years later it was getting 50,000 hits a day and she was a fixture in the front row of fashion shows in New York, Paris and Tokyo.

Profiles of the young fashionista followed in the New York Times and the New Yorker, along with stories in French Vogue and in teen magazines.

Gevinson has added editor to her credits with the publication of "Rookie Yearbook One," a compilation of articles, photographs and drawings from her Rookie website, which she started about 15 months ago.

"I always had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to do a print component. Each month on the site is a different theme. I eventually realized that to do a yearly book, and call it a yearbook, would be the best format," she said.

The second book, due next September, is already in the works.

Despite its young audience, the yearbook claims it is not a guide to being a teenager. But with topics ranging from family, friends, relationships, to fashion and school its appeal is obvious.

And Gevinson admits she started the website, which focuses less on fashion and more on teen life, because there wasn't an online magazine for adolescent girls that respected its readers' intelligence.

"I decided to make a website and now a book that didn't talk down to teenagers and had beautiful art, fine articles about TV and all of that."

FROM BEDROOM BLOGGER TO BOOMING BUSINESS

With more than 300 pages, 80 contributors, and articles ranging from "How to Bitchface" to "Breakup Breakdown" and "How to Approach the Person You Like Without Throwing Up," the book navigates teenage angst and a range of other topics and includes photos and graphics.

"Rookie is a place to make the best of the beautiful pain and cringe-worthy awkwardness of being an adolescent girl," is how Gevinson described it.

It has also attracted some star power, namely online interviews with "Mad Men's" Jon Hamm giving advice about love and guys, and wise words from actor Paul Rudd and producer/director Judd Apatow.

When Gevinson started her blog at 11 she saw it as an outlet that helped her get through middle school. She never expected it to mushroom into a website and the business it is today with a huge fan base.

The youngest of three children, Gevinson recently completed a tour to Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Toronto and other cities to promote the book and still manages to keep up with her school work.

Her father, a retired English teacher, oversees the business side of Rookie, and there is a staff of paid adult editors, photographers and designers who work on the website and manage its contributors.

Despite it all, Gevinson seems unfazed by her success and the celebrity status that has come with it.

"I've enjoyed feeling I make something and people understand it, and that there are other people going through the things that I go through," she said. "That to me is the most valuable thing -- being heard by people who understand it." (Editing by Nick Zieminski)
 
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  Brooklyn Rail loves Rookie Yearbook One

Updated January 15, 2013


Rookie Yearbook One
by Maura M. Lynch
Tavi Gevinson, ed.
Rookie Yearbook One
(Drawn and Quarterly, 2012)

There is a scene in Sofia Coppola’s film adaptation of Jeffrey Eugenides’s The Virgin Suicides in which Cecilia, the youngest of the ill-fated Lisbon sisters, rests in a hospital bed after her first suicide attempt. “You’re not even old enough to know how bad life gets,” her doctor says. Cecilia begs to differ. “Obviously, Doctor, you’ve never been a 13-year-old girl.”

Tavi Gevinson, creator of the online magazine Rookie and blog Style Rookie, self-proclaimed Sofia Coppola fan, and unstoppable force of all things teen and dreamy, has been a 13-year-old girl; in fact, that was only three years ago. Her recently released Rookie Yearbook One, a compilation of essays, artwork, and drawings from the magazine, commemorates the first anniversary of Rookie, which was created to fill the void of quality teen-centric journalism. Typical features on the site include “Hands Off,” an essay by Miranda July about her first brush with feminism; “Ghost Rider,” on one writer’s years-long struggle with depression; and “Breakup Breakdown,” a guide to ending a toxic friendship.

Online, Rookie functions incredibly well as both publication and community. Earlier this year I followed as one of Rookie’s video tutorials (this one on homemade flower crowns) caught a burst of attention with the site’s fans on Tumblr. Rookies made their own headpieces at home and posted portraits of themselves wearing their creations. Day after day, my Tumblr feed showcased photos of girls of all ages and races, posing in intricately decorated bedrooms, smiling (or, in some cases, moodily brooding) in their crowns, which Rookie staffers re-posted with encouraging comments (“AAAH SO CUTE”). Today the Tumblr remains active with users coordinating “Rookie meet-ups,” pow-wows for readers across the country, otherwise outcasts in faraway lands (read: Arkansas, Montana, New Mexico). The cult of Rookie is rather heartwarming in an era of online bullying.

But why would an online magazine that is already in direct conversation with the young women of the Internet generation decide to create a print version of its first year of content? Upon opening Yearbook One, one realizes this is more than a slapped-together “Shit My Dad Says” Tumblr-meme rip. True to its yearbook theme, scrawled notes and inside jokes line the interior covers, though these are not your typical signatures—contributors David Sedaris, Lena Dunham, and Sarah Silverman’s names swirl between hand-drawn hearts and xoxos. Inside, each page has been painstakingly designed and detailed with collage scans, handwritten doodles, illustrations, photographs, and notes to accompany Rookie’s repurposed online features, taking on the appearance of a scrapbook compiled through a labor a love, instead of a black-and-white “best of.”

For some, these decorations may call to mind a print version of overwhelming pop-up ads. The content in Rookie Yearbook One is vast—there are well over a hundred articles—with multiple features and music playlists sometimes sharing the same page. But in this compact printed iteration, Rookie’s mission reveals itself more immediately than online—where content is organized by date and category tags—its scope ranging from the deeply serious to the light-hearted. An interview with John Waters precedes a personal essay on unhealthy relationships; a page of colorful, candy-themed stickers divides a feature entitled “Let It Out,” outlining over 20 ways to get rid of a bad mood.

Longer, thoughtful pieces like “We’re Called Survivors Because We’re Still Here,” a frank discussion about sexual assault, may not have received their due online, as lengthy articles inevitably feel longer on a computer screen. In print, however, the story receives a generous placement in front of backdrop of carefully illustrated planets. “Confessions of a Fangirl” details one writer’s journey down the rabbit hole of Hanson fandom, and its supplementary diary scans, notebook scribbles, and Taylor Hanson cut-outs add the appropriate setting for such a text.

I also can’t help but view the book as sort of a What’s Happening to My Brain? Book for Girls, a portable companion for the confusing teenage psyche. The book doesn’t claim to know all the answers, but it can help with some trickier questions (in features like “Do It Yourself,” a discussion on masturbation, or “Just Wondering,” in which an anonymous reader asks, “How do I get over a guy that treats me like shit?”), and offer inspiration (“Thrifting: The Master Class”) for an otherwise dull suburban Saturday.

It’s been rumored that Gevinson originally set out to create a print monthly, but after complicated business matters Rookie remained online only. Perhaps the Rookie Yearbook One is a way to fulfill that original wish, and an excuse to place the content dear to her in a more conventional space. Sure, it may not be necessary to create a book from a website that already successfully reaches its target audience online, but in the wake of a cyber-junkyard of discarded LiveJournals, Rookie Yearbook One romanticizes the notion of that handmade keepsake: the zine. I can’t see her winning an entirely new audience with this book, but for her followers and the established Rookie community, this is an item to be treasured, leafed through, re-read, and passed around. (She even gives a nod to loyal site commentators, incorporating over 50 user comments culled from the online version of “It Happens All the Time,” a piece about street harassment.)

The first year of any endeavor is one of exploration. For Rookie, and for young Tavi at its helm, it has been a year of finding a place for quality, diverse teen content in a post-Sassy, online market. Its companion book acts as mini-milestone in what I can only hope will be a long, ever-evolving existence.
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Featured artist

Tavi Gevinson

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Rookie Yearbook One




CBC Books profiles Drawn and Quarterly

Updated January 15, 2013


Why Drawn & Quarterly is thriving despite tough times for publishers
Thursday, December 6, 2012
First aired on The Sunday Edition (11/25/12)

At the Montreal corner of St. Urbain and Bernard in the early 1990s, the rent was cheap and the neighbours were cool. From his flat on the second floor, Chris Oliveros started a small hand-made magazine. He wanted the comic strips that he and his friends drew to find a larger audience. At his kitchen table, he put together the first issues of Drawn & Quarterly. That was 23 years ago. Now, Drawn & Quarterly is the hottest publisher of graphic novels in the English-speaking world.

At a time when the future of the book itself is in question, and many independent publishers struggle to stay afloat, Drawn & Quarterly is thriving. David Gutnick produced this lovely documentary about Drawn & Quarterly's, ahem, colourful history and its current success for The Sunday Edition.

It all started in 1989, in Oliveros's cheap second-floor flat in Mile End. By day, Oliveros worked as a bike courier. By night, he read comics and hung out with his cartoonist friends, sharing work and filling notebooks with illustrated anecdotes from their lives. They were prolific, but they had no audience except each other. The comics being published were about Archie or Marvel superheroes, and there seemed to be no place for comics about the day-to-day lives of humans outside Riverdale (the setting of Archie comics). Then Oliveros had an epiphany: why not become a publisher himself?

"I wanted to start a comics anthology that would come out quarterly — hence the title Drawn & Quarterly — and I got a loan from my father to print this first issue," Oliveros said. "In the early days it was on the kitchen table because that was before computers...you would send everything to the printer and they would have these giant cameras to photograph artwork. So a lot has changed in the ensuing 23 years."

Chris kept his day job, but spent more and more time figuring out how the comic-book industry worked. He had never thought of himself as a businessman, but he started nosing around comic-book fairs, learning about distribution and markets. His instinct told him that his little quarterly magazine could become something much bigger.

His instinct was right. French-speaking Quebeckers have a long tradition of spending plenty of money on comics like Asterix and Tintin, and talking about beautifully published comics as if they're art. With Drawn & Quarterly, Oliveros has brought that respect for the medium to English Canada as well.

But Drawn & Quarterly's growth from quarterly comics zine to full-fledged publishing house and bookstore didn't happen overnight. "While I was searching for material for this magazine I ended up meeting other cartoonists, like Seth, and it turned out that many of them actually were just starting to do longer works that wouldn't fit into a magazine," said Oliveros. Seth had a comic book he was just starting called Palookaville and he was looking for a publisher. "So it was sort of a story of one thing leading to another."

According to Oliveros, "you can really do comics about anything." Drawn & Quarterly has been experimenting with material that isn't strictly comics-related, too — one of its major releases this fall has been the Rookie Yearbook, a collection of work from blogging wunderkind Tavi Gevinson's smart online teen magazine Rookie.

These days, Oliveros publishes some of the biggest names in graphic art and comics in North America, including longtime American heavyweights like Linda Barry and Art Spiegelman alongside Canadians including Seth, Chester Brown, and Kate Beaton. And now the team works out of a spacious loft.

Below, check out a few of the artists that Drawn & Quarterly is publishing now.
 
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Featured artists

Chester Brown
Seth
Tavi Gevinson

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Palookaville 21
Rookie Yearbook One




  Shameless says, Gevinson is "introducing girls to feminism in a way that emphasizes positivity"

Updated January 15, 2013


Rookie Yearbook One and Book launch review
NOVEMBER 29, 2012 • GUEST BLOGGER
by Manisha Aggarwal-Schifellite and Michelle Kay

In late October this year, teen blogger and editor of Rookie magazine , Tavi Gevinson arrived in Toronto to celebrate the release of Rookie’s first print volume, Rookie Yearbook One. Gevinson was in town for two events: one a more traditional book reading and signing at Indigo Yorkdale, the second a book signing and masquerade ball at Magic Pony , an art gallery and store on Queen Street West.

The lineup for the dance party at Magic Pony featured girls of all ages and women. In line, you could hear teens oohing and aahing over the window display. They gushed over the little nook by the window filled with sparkles, pink items, cupcakes, strange dolls and other shiny things designed to draw in a teenaged girl’s eye.

Some people arrived in costumes, excited, wondering what it would be like to meet Gevinson, the teen wonder of the fashion world. Rookie, a kind of new millenium XOJane, has a monthly theme and its bloggers write about it, including personal essays and photospreads.

The book is a densely packed collection of favourite essays and interviews from the year, including many from Gevinson’s friends. She has no shortage of famous ones including Joss Whedon, Lena Dunham, Paul Feig, Miranda July, Jack Black and Aubrey Plaza, just to name a few. These celebrities offer advice to readers on navigating high school, blossoming romances, and indulging in your own uniqueness. The essays range from funny and silly to honest and candid, many of them reassuring readers and advising them to simply embrace who they are.

With the launch of Rookie, Gevinson has also become the face of a new kind of “girl power.” The Magic Pony event seemed to be as much a celebration of Rookie Yearbook One as it was a celebration of Gevinson herself. For the past three years, the 16-year-old has made a name for herself as a fashion blogger, writer, editor, stylist, and has become somewhat of an icon for a particular demographic of teen girls.

A general trend in reader response to Rookie emphasizes the idea that, as a fellow teen, Gevinson “gets it” when discussing sex, relationships, friendship, art, and general angst that come with being a teenager. In contrast to so much teen-focused content, Rookie has grown out of a “for us by us” mentality that resonates with its readers, complete with eye rolls and even a photo-guide by Gevinson on “How to Bitch-face.”

One of the most striking things about the Magic Pony event was the number of teenage girls who came to dance, buy books, eat candy, and meet each other. Some came in pairs from cities hours outside of Toronto to attend both events, while some downtowners came in big groups (And some even brought their parents). While some media outlets have called Rookie readers part of a new wave of “girl power,” Gevinson and the Rookie brand also appear to be introducing girls to feminism in a way that emphasizes positivity, friendship, and personal expression through clothes, books, movies, and other pop culture interests.

When asked why they like Rookie and Gevinson, a common refrain among party attendees was that Rookie offered “something for everyone,” and that its inclusivity allowed girls to feel like they could be themselves without fear of judgment. Based on the Rookie party, and reading the Yearbook, Rookie seems to be everything to some people. Generally, the magazine speaks to and about a narrow teen demographic. Many of the contributors, celebrities and teens alike, appear to be from similar backgrounds—growing up in the suburbs, feeling like they didn’t fit in, and moving to a large city to pursue an entertainment-based dream.

Grounded in the aesthetically pleasing and fashion-focused elements of both the book and the launch party, it’s clear that Rookie’s approach to feminism is based on fun, friendship, and self-expression through fashion. Taking a fun approach to feminism gives it a wider appeal, but begs the question whether such this diminishes or ignores some of the necessary (and heavy topics) vital to feminism itself. In a recent Q interview, Gevinson said that Rookie is not “everything for everyone,” citing issues that contributed to a fairly narrow representation of teen life in Rookie Yearbook One.

Fun and creativity is presented through the DIY element of the magazine, website, and Gevinson’s personal blog, Style Rookie. While this can be a great way for girls to create their own media, “DIY” self-sufficiency and imagination are based in assumptions that erase the experiences of many teen girls who may not be able to identify with the Rookie brand. For instance, an article in the Yearbook teaches readers “How to go Thrifting.” The treatment of thrifting as an alternative to the mall (instead of being the only option for some people) speaks to the target demographic of the website. Further, Rookie’s photoshoots and DIY projects focus largely on decorating one’s room, collecting strange objects, and using these pieces as inspiration for personal style. This can only apply to someone who has their own room, with enough space to collect objects that represent her personality—this type of consumption focuses identity formation onto collecting “stuff” rather than “doing things.” While Rookie pushes for teens to find their own style and encourages teens to be themselves and not care what others think of them, it also promotes a kind of consumerism, a desire to be fashionable with an emphasis on customization, uniqueness and the collection of “cool” things. It ignores the fact that this is not a reality for every teen yet adeptly creates a desire for things without necessarily addressing how such consumerism could be problematic.

As one party-goer remarked, Rookie and Gevinson offers a good entry point to feminism for younger girls, many of whom might be unfamiliar with the movement’s history or current incarnations. Many of them may have negative associations with feminism as a concept, understanding the concept as a man-hating movement of angry lesbians who never have any fun. Rookie guides the reader into aspects of feminism and pointing out various forms of oppression (although it’s not called that on the website), other important components of feminism such as intersectionality and an analysis of race, gender identity, sexual orientation and class are not mentioned.

In spite of these important omissions, however, Rookie regularly publishes content on standing up for yourself, confronting sexism, dealing with bullying, and generally empowering yourself and others around you. In the Yearbook, Rookie authors speak eloquently about breakups (“Breakup Breakdown”), mixed-race identity (“On Containing Multitudes”), societal expectations and fears surrounding teen girls (“Season of the Witch”) and other issues that arise during and after adolescence. While reading these and other essays in the Yearbook, it really does feel as if the authors are speaking directly to the reader, which further emphasizes the community-building aspects of Rookie as a brand and a lifestyle.

Rookie’s growth and success over the past two years has taken an interesting trajectory—the magazine, under Gevinson’s editorial eye, has clearly been an important influence in the lives of teens across the world. As Gevinson’s ambitions change, and as the Rookie brand develops, the magazine could focus more on some of the issues missing from Yearbook One. It remains to be seen how this will happen, but the ever-changing nature of adolescence offers a good foundation for Rookie to expand its target demographic, as it solidifies its place as a mainstay of teen-driven media.
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Featured artist

Tavi Gevinson

           Featured product

Rookie Yearbook One




Tavi Gevinson interviews Chris Ware on Rookie

Updated January 15, 2013


Work Hard and Be Kind: An Interview With Chris Ware
We talk to the cartoonist about substance abuse, storytelling, and the reality of dreams.
11/29/2012

Thanks to this wonderful piece a reader sent us that went up just the other day, I don’t really need to tell you who Chris Ware is. I will say, however, that if I could ask all humans to read just one thing, it would be any of his books. They’re not quite comic books or graphic novels; he’s almost created his own medium. Sometimes his books have pages of satirical advertisements drawn by him. Sometimes there’s no dialogue throughout an entire spread. Some panels look like complicated mazes but flow like streams of consciousness. The same characters pop up in different stories, the most overlooked details of everyday life get the most attention, and I always come away from it all feeling more connected to any person I may pass on the street and with a strong desire to create something of my own. That is, I believe, the best a person taking in a thing another person made can hope for.

Chris very generously answered, over email, my questions about his new book, being a teenager, and the reality of dreams.

TAVI: What were you like as a teenager?

CHRIS WARE: That’s a complicated question, since I think I mutated every three months or so, but a general string of adjectives might be: insufferable, desperate, scrawny, bad-skinned, triangulating, self-doubting, self-conscious, crude, and unappealing. I spent a lot of time watching television and following a program of musical taste that one of my friends unintentionally curated for me (i.e., I copied everything he liked), and I tried to make my naturally buoyant hair look longer by straightening it with a hairdryer. I attended private school until 10th grade in Omaha, Nebraska, where I wore a “formal uniform” which I modified to express my true self via footwear or digital watches that weren’t officially sanctioned by the Episcopalians. I was terminally unathletic and terrified at the thought that I might one day have to remove my shirt in public. To make up for this perceived deficiency, I stupidly got into various experimental substances, a period which ended in a moment of self-realization after buying said substances while driving my grandmother’s Oldsmobile Toronado—probably the dumbest, most shameful moment of my life—when I found myself thinking, What if I’d gotten arrested? What would that have said about me, about her, and about my mother, who tried to raise me right? Fortunately, I abandoned that particular path of inquiry.

What were your biggest influences at that time?

Because of this brief substances-experimenting I became “interested” in the idea of the 1960s (or whatever “the idea of the 1960s” meant to a Midwestern middle-class kid in the 1980s) and ended up buying a lot of so-called underground comics at head shops and out of the back room of the local comic book store from which I’d bought superhero comics as a middle-schooler. It was there, while hoping to find pornography, that I discovered RAW magazine, Robert Crumb, and Harvey Pekar, and somehow through the example of these and other artists like Gary Panter and Charles Burns came to the conclusion that the only thing I had any remote proclivity for—drawing—might possibly be employed in creating comics, which to me seemed like an untapped, slightly edgy world of expressive possibility and genuine honesty, and maybe even a way of meeting girls. (It wasn’t.) In the 1980s, popular culture was so mired in falseness and compromise that comics seemed (and still seem to me, actually) an unpretentious potential vessel for solitary authenticity. It was Robert Crumb who amazed me first artistically, Harvey Pekar who made me realize that regular life itself could be written about, and Art Spiegelman who provided the first (and still the finest) example of how it all might be synthesized into a thoughtful, readable artistic medium.

When I saw you speak last month at Unity Temple in Oak Park, someone asked you what the ACT of drawing FEELS like, and you said it was just horrible. I also read somewhere that you can’t look at any of your books because you’d notice only what’s wrong with them. There’s a page in The Acme Novelty Library with tips about being a cartoonist that make it sound miserable. If neither the process nor the product are satisfying to you, what drives you?

I don’t know. I guess I’m motivated by actually finishing something—something that I know I’ve tried my absolute hardest at and have put every bit of myself into—while the tolerability of the actual creative experience remains a distant concern. There are also those rare moments while writing and drawing where something comes up completely unexpectedly on the page—like a gesture or a facial expression on a character—which suddenly reveals something about the story or the person I simply never would have thought of just sitting around thinking. In the best of these instances, I might also realize I’ve been lying to myself about some part of my own personality for years, and that consequently there’s something I need to change.

What advice would you give to someone who is in the early stages of that and possibly struggling?

To work as hard as possible, and then, when you think you’re done, to work just a little bit harder. To know that if it feels “right” it may actually be completely wrong, and that if it feels “wrong” it may be completely right. There’s no governing principle to any of this except that strange instinct and feeling within yourself that you simply have to learn to trust, but which is always unreliably changing. To create something for people who have not been born yet. To pay attention to how it actually feels to be alive, to the lies you tell yourself and others. Not to overreach—but also not to get too comfortable with your own work. To avoid giving in to either self-doubt or self-confidence, depending on your leaning, and especially to resist giving over your opinion of yourself to others—which means not to seek fame or recognition, which can restrain rather than open your possibility for artistic development. With all this in mind, not to expect anything and to be grateful for any true, non-exploitative opportunity that presents itself, however modest. And to understand that being able to say “I don’t know what to do with my life” is an incredible privilege that 99% of the rest of the world will never enjoy.

So many of your stories—as you pointed out at that speaking event—are about people whose dreams have gone unrealized, or who are maybe creative but not necessarily talented, or who just never went after what they wanted, and now it’s too late, and they carry with them a sadness about it. From where I stand, as an admirer of your work/a person who has seen only positive reviews of your last book (and all of your books) in prestigious publications, I would say you have found success in a creative field. What part of you consistently writes the story of someone who hasn’t?

I feel extraordinarily lucky for any so-called success I’ve enjoyed, and I’m deeply grateful for every single kind word and generous sentiment I’ve received. It’s a far cry from what I experienced as a kid, and not what I ever expected my adult life would bring, though I’m sure whatever counts as drive within me was forged in that crucible of self-doubt and fear-of-being-jumped-in-the-hallway I endured in my early adolescence. Beyond that, I believe that everyone has within them some urge to create something—whether it’s a story, a picture, a song, or a child—but for one reason or another many of us simply aren’t lucky enough to be able to. [That drive] comes of trying to understand and to feel and to empathize; it’s the reason we have language and, in turn, art.

But to answer your question more directly: I went to art school, and while I did intend to write and draw comics, I also thought maybe I could be a more traditional fine artist—a painter or a sculptor or whatever. I didn’t, and while in most ways I’m grateful for the directness and artistic freedom comics provides, sometimes I still feel as if I “gave up” on something.

There’s a quotation from Picasso on the inside cover of Building Stories: “Everything you can imagine is real.” You said at Unity Temple that you can remember stories your grandmother told you and how they looked in your head more vividly than some events that actually occurred in your own life. There’s that part in one of the Building Stories booklets where one of the characters dreams that she finds an amazing book she wrote, and even though it only ever existed in her subconscious, it confirmed for her that she had that potential in her. I’d never considered giving so much validity to a reality that’s so personal and in-your-head and fictionalized, and I found it very comforting. So, how did you figure that out on your own—that something that exists only in your mind could have a valid enough reality to be a comfort?

Well, really, our memories are all we have, and even those we think of as “real” are made up. Art can condense experience into something greater than reality, and it can also give us permission to do or think certain things that otherwise we’ve avoided or felt ashamed of. The imagination is where reality lives; it’s the instant lie of backwash from the prow of that boat that we think of as cutting the present moment, everything following it becoming less and less “factual” but no less real than what we think of as having actually occurred.

Do you ever dream about any of your characters?

I do. Some of them have come to me fully formed, very vividly, in the same way that I can only really feel the presence of people who have died in my dreams. Sometimes I think [dreams are] how we sort through all of the day’s new data and file it as ideas within the story-like structure of how we imagine and remember our lives.

Do you ever dream in the style of your drawings?

No—the way I draw is intended to be completely transparent, though maybe I’m the only person who sees it that way. I consider my drawing, for better or worse, to be a way of showing things translucently, the way typography is transparent on a page—intended to be read, but not really completely seen.

Normally your books are quite carefully put together, and reading them can be like solving a maze—the order and arrangement of the panels is very purposeful and important. Building Stories is a box of books and pamphlets and broadsides and the like, but you’ve set no guidelines for where to start or finish. Why?

I wanted to make a book that had no beginning or end, and, despite the incredible pretentiousness of how that sounds, to try and get at the three-dimensionality of memories and stories—how we’re able to tell them starting at this or that point depending on the circumstance, and to take them apart and put them back together, whether to actually try and make sense of our lives or simply to tell reassuring lies to ourselves. I also wanted to make a book that seemed fun to read, and the idea of a box of nonthreatening booklets has always appealed to me. Also, I had a dream about exactly such an object.

What would you like to tell the young, impressionable minds reading Rookie?

Well, that life is a lot more serious and shorter than it seems like it will be. And that you can easily waste it. And that happiness is overrated. Be kind. This said—and I can’t talk about the rest of the world—but I’d say that you’re a member of the first generation of modern Americans whom I consider genuine, ready-made citizens. And by that I mean America has essentially exited its protracted national adolescence (approximately the 1920s through the 1980s, with the 1960s being the apex and the baby-boomer presidencies of Clinton and Bush as the hangover) and as a nation we’re at something of a deciding moment of anxious self-awareness, both as to where we’ve been drawing our resources and from what and how we’ve been weaving our moral fabric.

I’m not blowing smoke here, but I’m overall quite impressed by the seriousness, intelligence, and maturity of the generation half my age, both on the larger scale of considering social issues without the giddy recklessness of the 1960s all the way down to the way I’ve seen children and teens treat each other one-on-one. My wife is a high school teacher in the Chicago Public Schools and she regularly comes home with stories of kindness and empathy on the part of her students that I find absolutely unfamiliar to my own teen experience, which was marred by self-preservation, meanness and insobriety. There appears to be a certain clearheadedness and sense-of-place-in-the-worldedness with “the youth today” that wasn’t prevalent when I was a kid or a teen. I think there’s a sense of direness or a certain kind of embarrassment if not plain disgust at the foolish reluctance my generation and my parents’ generation might have enjoyed which you all seem to have refreshingly no time for at all, while also seeming to know how to have a fine time yet to know the relative value of fun versus what makes life important. In short, I think you’re doing great, and I’m impressed, if not a little envious. ♦
 
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Featured artists

Chris Ware
Tavi Gevinson

          



  Collector's Weekly calls Rookie "a fascinating new form of media"

Updated January 15, 2013


Nostalgia is Magic: Tavi Gevinson Remixes Teen Culture
November 28th, 2012
By Hunter Oatman-Stanford

TTavi Gevinson was just 11 when she appeared on the fashion scene in 2007, not via New York or Paris, but through her PC in Oak Park, Illinois. Through her insightful and whimsical blog, Style Rookie, Gevinson mused on topics ranging from couture collections to middle-school dress codes, building an online fan base of teenagers and adults who loved her then-signature gray hair and eccentric sense of style.

At 13, having endeared herself to the glitterati, Gevinson was invited to New York’s Fashion Week, where she shared the front row with sartorial royalty. Eventually, Gevinson befriended celebrities like Kate and Laura Mulleavy, the designers behind Rodarte, and radio personality Ira Glass, who offered guidance as Gevinson grew into her public persona. Now at the ripe old age of 16, Gevinson is the editor-in-chief of Rookie Mag, an online venture originally planned with Jane Pratt (the founding editor of Sassy). Rookie is a fascinating new form of media, a free online magazine designed for young women and, more importantly, created by them as well. Rookie‘s young contributors give the publication an authenticity seldom seen in the world of teen media, as they tackle everything from zine-making to celebrity crushes to eating disorders, all in a confidential, no-nonsense tone.

“I was this incredibly tiny, gray-haired gnome.”
In an era when older folks often lament that young people don’t care for “real things” anymore, and objects from the past in particular, Gevinson represents a generation that enjoys a true blend of old and new: Her teenage cohorts are just as interested in the music of Joni Mitchell as that of Taylor Swift; they love shopping at vintage stores as much as American Apparel. Besides Rookie Mag’s online presence, Gevinson hopes the site will inspire regular meetups with readers and all kinds of DIY crafts.

We recently spoke to Gevinson about her views on feminism, mood boards, and the magic of nostalgia.


Collectors Weekly: What exactly is a mood board?

Gevinson: A mood board can be tangible or something you make on a computer. It’s basically a collage of images that have some sort of underlying theme. I used to have this little brown table in my room where I had a different mood board each month, and it was an accumulation of objects from my room—books, items of clothing, jewelry, candles, rocks, or whatever—that had a similar color palette and vibe.

Each month of Rookie is a different theme, aesthetically and in terms of what we write about and our pop culture heroes for that month, so I send all our contributors a different mood board each month. The November theme was invention, and there’s a lot of retro futurism, or the ideas people had of the future in the past, and then also a classically cute fall style. There are a lot of girls with umbrellas.

Collectors Weekly: So what appeals to you about vintage clothing?

Gevinson: To me, it’s special because of the idea that there’s a pre-existing history for that item, whether you know it or not, whether it’s been passed down to you or you find it in a thrift store. When I first became interested in fashion and started shopping at thrift stores, my friends would say, “You don’t know who wore that,” and I would be like, “Exactly.” That’s why it was exciting.

“Honesty alone can be subversive, particularly because you don’t find it in other publications for teenagers.”
When I wear some of those clothes, I do look like a crazy person, but other items people think are really well-designed. It’s probably because of Pinterest and “Mad Men,” but I don’t get as much flack anymore at school. I feel like everyone agrees that the Mid-Century ’50s and ’60s aesthetic is good design. A lot of ’70s things that I like are admittedly tacky, but everyone thinks “Mad Men” is beautiful.

I live in a suburb of Chicago, and whenever I walk around, there are always a few corners that pop out because they look like a moment that’s been frozen in time. I keep a list of those places, and this summer when my friend Petra came to visit from Canada, we drove around to all of them taking photos. I was wearing mostly vintage clothing in the photoshoot, too.

Collectors Weekly: Do a lot of your friends and Rookie Mag readers like to go thrift shopping?

Gevinson: Yes. Most of my friends go thrifting because it’s cheap and practical, and you can find cute things. It’s not so much of a statement anymore. Whenever we have had Rookie events, I think people get more dressed up because they know that it will be fun for everyone to be all dressed up together. A lot of girls come in wearing really sweet-looking vintage clothing.

Collectors Weekly: Your original Style Rookie blog was frequently praised because of your bizarre, atypical fashion sense. Has your style changed now that you’ve become a public figure?

“Listening to music and daydreaming are experiences as valid as the real ones most of us miss out on.”
Gevinson: I don’t think it’s changed because I’ve become more of a public figure. Yes, my style lately is not as mismatched as it was, but my actual image is less public than it was before even as I’ve, I guess, become more successful. I was at the absolute height of my awkward phase when I went to Fashion Week. It’s supposed to be this place with the most beautiful people in the world, and I was this incredibly tiny, gray-haired—what’s the word?—gnome. That was the time in my life when I was most photographed, and I’m not embarrassed by that; I think it’s hilarious that in the middle of these rooms full of tall, skinny people in black was this tiny weird person.

Collectors Weekly: In a gigantic bow.

Gevinson: Yeah, with a giant bow. I think it’s awesome that it made a lot of people angry. I felt pleased with that because I spent all my time trying to prove that fashion wasn’t just frivolous and could have personal or public meaning, and here you had a bunch of people somehow making a giant bow into a metaphor for the death of fashion journalism. I thought it was great.

But I think you go through phases and then grow out of them. Before, dressing up was my outlet, and now I’m pursuing other creative things that take up a lot of time and energy, so in the morning I usually want to put on something simple and comfortable.

Collectors Weekly: How does Rookie challenge certain stereotypes of women or feminism?

Gevinson: There are a lot of girlish tropes or feminist stereotypes that bother me, but I feel like the best way to prove a stereotype wrong is to just let people be people. I’ve realized there’s a way to be subversive without evaluating what’s already out there and figuring out how to go against it. I’ve found with a community of strong writers, artists, and readers who are generous and open with their submissions and commentary, that their honesty alone will be subversive, particularly because you don’t find it in other publications for teenagers.

Since we’re online, we don’t have to worry that much about ads. For the book, we used an independent publisher who really trusted us. We’re also continually working on getting a more diverse staff and figuring out what our readers would like to read and what people want to share.

When I started Rookie, there were a lot of girls like me who had fashion blogs and loved getting dressed up and thinking about appearance, not in a stressful women’s magazine way, but in a creative way. I can understand how some feminists who’ve fought against things like style or beauty defining all women might feel confused about how we can discuss self-esteem and being your own person but also write so much about fashion. But for Rookie, fashion is about personal expression and creativity. And I want there to be a place where women can do that, where you can care about fashion, and even be super girly, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re not also smart or confident or strong.

Collectors Weekly: Are the real-world events and activities you organize important to Rookie’s mission?


Gevinson: I used to think of Rookie as only the website, and then we put out the yearbook, and now I feel like it has three components—the website, the book, and the events. When we started Rookie, my dad was like, “How are you going to run a website? You’re in school,” and I thought, “Well, everyone else will be in school, too, so we’ll just post three times a day and we’ll make sure they’re all really strong.” And I remember thinking I don’t want Rookie to post too frequently because I know our readers have real lives, and don’t want to presume they would be glued to their computer screens, waiting for our every word. I want them to go outside, and I want them to be creative.

A website is a perfect medium for us because it’s accessible to so many people and it’s great for building a community. But I do think there is a lot of bitterness about what the Internet means for activities like in-person communication, going outside, listening to a record, or watching a movie (not on your phone). We want to encourage our readers to go and have those experiences for themselves as well.

With the yearbook, my biggest concern was how to justify putting out an actual book and making it so strong on its own when most of its content can be read for free online. The key was to make it beautiful and to be super obsessive about the design. We put the first one out in September, and it’s a compilation of the best content from September of 2011 to May of 2012. It goes month by month, and each one has a different theme.

A lot of our readers love it; they appreciate that tangibility. I think people have this idea that teenagers don’t want that, but in a way maybe the rarity makes something real, like a vinyl record, even more special and exciting.

Collectors Weekly: You guys make a lot of crowns, right?

Gevinson: Yeah, I love the combination of handmade accessories with vintage clothing, and especially accessories that have some kind of pop culture thing on them. Petra made me a crown with Laura Palmer from “Twin Peaks” on it. Right now I’m in my room, and I’m looking at a little box that a Rookie reader gave me that has Leonardo DiCaprio in “Romeo + Juliet” on the inside.

Collectors Weekly: People usually think of teen pop culture as Brat Pack films, but you appreciate shows like “Twin Peaks.” What interests you about these offbeat cultural phenomena?

Gevinson: I actually like it all. I love John Hughes, and I even love a solid “American Pie” or “Scream” type movie. But with “The Virgin Suicides,” “Twin Peaks,” or “Heavenly Creatures,” those things were not made for teenagers. These are movies about teenagers that weren’t necessarily marketed to teens, which is why they’re so appealing to me and why I was so excited to discover them. In seventh grade, when I found out about “The Virgin Suicides,” it was so much more thrilling to me than more recent young-adult novels.

As a young person, you want the perspective of what it will feel like when this will all be over. I think that reading so many books and watching so many movies that are about the teenage experience in retrospect have helped me put everything in perspective and appreciate all of this for what it is. The fact that a show like “Freaks and Geeks” is about teenagers for adults makes it so much more realistic and honest. They’re not trying to teach you anything, and I think that helped going into my teenage years.

Collectors Weekly: Do adults like reading your blog?

Gevinson: A lot of adults have told me they enjoy my blog because they’re discovering something for a second time through someone else’s eyes. Being a teenager is both good and bad, but one thing that’s really special about it is that you do experience a lot of things for the first time. I would even say that it’s a state of child-like wonder, but maybe even better, because when you’re little there’s no pain and no filter to your wonder.

When you’re a teenager, you’re looking for something more specific, and when you find it, that feeling of excitement is so much more complex and fascinating to me because it typically includes a lot of pain. “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” doesn’t make you feel good in an obvious way, the way something makes you feel good when you’re a little kid and it’s exciting in a very simple way. It makes you feel good because it reconciles feelings of wonder with feelings of pain.

Collectors Weekly: “Perks” is always stereotyped as this alternative teen story, but it seems to resonate with most young people.

Gevinson: I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately. I used to believe that there was this dividing line between all people (part of which probably came from my obsession with the ’90s): You’re either a cheerleader, or you’re an art kid. I think when the first seeds of Rookie were planted in my brain, I thought, “The art kids need something just for them.”

And then as time went on, I realized there’s a part in everyone that feels somehow left out, that has some kind of inferiority complex. There are very few people who actually can come out and say, “Yes, I am that girl. I am the beautiful cheerleader type.”

It’s such basic “Breakfast Club” stuff, but I don’t think that some girls are happy all the time and some girls are depressed all the time; I think there’s a part in everyone that feels insecure at times. So much pop culture is about either loving being a teenager and making it look super glamorous, or absolutely hating it. It’s either “The O.C.” or it’s “Daria.” I don’t want to do either, because I don’t think you can love or hate something all the time. With Rookie, I just want to make the best of it.

A counterculture develops because people feel rejected by the mainstream culture, but wouldn’t it be great if, instead, people didn’t feel rejected to begin with? Maybe that’s impossible, but so many of the people who work on Rookie, so many people who read it, and so many of my friends at school are technically art kids, but we still love Justin Bieber.

Collectors Weekly: Totally; real people are complicated. I read your review of Wes Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom,” and I’m curious what you think about the fictional 1960s world he creates.

Gevinson: I love “Moonrise Kingdom,” and it’s much more interesting to me than just a nostalgia trip. The movie does take place in the ’60s, but all the cutesy kids’ stuff and Boy Scout tools form this very specific aesthetic. The whole movie has this strict color palette: It’s New England and rainy and all the colors are green and blue and yellow.

And then there’s this one scene—if you haven’t seen the movie, person reading this, you should skip this paragraph because I am about to give away part of the movie. There’s this one scene where it opens on a view through Suzy’s binoculars of a dove on the water, and the sky is pink and reflected in the water so that they kind of blend into each other. It’s the one moment in the movie that breaks away from this typical school color palette of yellow, blue, green, and red. It’s pink and they have flowers in their hair—it’s my favorite part.

Nostalgia is Magic: Tavi Gevinson Remixes Teen Culture
November 28th, 2012
By Hunter Oatman-Stanford



Tavi Gevinson was just 11 when she appeared on the fashion scene in 2007, not via New York or Paris, but through her PC in Oak Park, Illinois. Through her insightful and whimsical blog, Style Rookie, Gevinson mused on topics ranging from couture collections to middle-school dress codes, building an online fan base of teenagers and adults who loved her then-signature gray hair and eccentric sense of style.

At 13, having endeared herself to the glitterati, Gevinson was invited to New York’s Fashion Week, where she shared the front row with sartorial royalty. Eventually, Gevinson befriended celebrities like Kate and Laura Mulleavy, the designers behind Rodarte, and radio personality Ira Glass, who offered guidance as Gevinson grew into her public persona. Now at the ripe old age of 16, Gevinson is the editor-in-chief of Rookie Mag, an online venture originally planned with Jane Pratt (the founding editor of Sassy). Rookie is a fascinating new form of media, a free online magazine designed for young women and, more importantly, created by them as well. Rookie‘s young contributors give the publication an authenticity seldom seen in the world of teen media, as they tackle everything from zine-making to celebrity crushes to eating disorders, all in a confidential, no-nonsense tone.

“I was this incredibly tiny, gray-haired gnome.”
In an era when older folks often lament that young people don’t care for “real things” anymore, and objects from the past in particular, Gevinson represents a generation that enjoys a true blend of old and new: Her teenage cohorts are just as interested in the music of Joni Mitchell as that of Taylor Swift; they love shopping at vintage stores as much as American Apparel. Besides Rookie Mag’s online presence, Gevinson hopes the site will inspire regular meetups with readers and all kinds of DIY crafts.

We recently spoke to Gevinson about her views on feminism, mood boards, and the magic of nostalgia.


Top: Tavi makes her getaway. Photo by Petra Collins. Above: A Los Angeles-inspired mood board Tavi created includes a paperback copy of “Weetzie Bat,” Peter Max paper airplanes, a tapestry her mother made, and vintage postcards and photographs.

Collectors Weekly: What exactly is a mood board?

Gevinson: A mood board can be tangible or something you make on a computer. It’s basically a collage of images that have some sort of underlying theme. I used to have this little brown table in my room where I had a different mood board each month, and it was an accumulation of objects from my room—books, items of clothing, jewelry, candles, rocks, or whatever—that had a similar color palette and vibe.

Each month of Rookie is a different theme, aesthetically and in terms of what we write about and our pop culture heroes for that month, so I send all our contributors a different mood board each month. The November theme was invention, and there’s a lot of retro futurism, or the ideas people had of the future in the past, and then also a classically cute fall style. There are a lot of girls with umbrellas.

Collectors Weekly: So what appeals to you about vintage clothing?

Gevinson: To me, it’s special because of the idea that there’s a pre-existing history for that item, whether you know it or not, whether it’s been passed down to you or you find it in a thrift store. When I first became interested in fashion and started shopping at thrift stores, my friends would say, “You don’t know who wore that,” and I would be like, “Exactly.” That’s why it was exciting.

“Honesty alone can be subversive, particularly because you don’t find it in other publications for teenagers.”
When I wear some of those clothes, I do look like a crazy person, but other items people think are really well-designed. It’s probably because of Pinterest and “Mad Men,” but I don’t get as much flack anymore at school. I feel like everyone agrees that the Mid-Century ’50s and ’60s aesthetic is good design. A lot of ’70s things that I like are admittedly tacky, but everyone thinks “Mad Men” is beautiful.

I live in a suburb of Chicago, and whenever I walk around, there are always a few corners that pop out because they look like a moment that’s been frozen in time. I keep a list of those places, and this summer when my friend Petra came to visit from Canada, we drove around to all of them taking photos. I was wearing mostly vintage clothing in the photoshoot, too.


Seventies-inspired looks from Tavi and Petra’s neighborhood photoshoot. Photos by Petra Collins.

Collectors Weekly: Do a lot of your friends and Rookie Mag readers like to go thrift shopping?

Gevinson: Yes. Most of my friends go thrifting because it’s cheap and practical, and you can find cute things. It’s not so much of a statement anymore. Whenever we have had Rookie events, I think people get more dressed up because they know that it will be fun for everyone to be all dressed up together. A lot of girls come in wearing really sweet-looking vintage clothing.

Collectors Weekly: Your original Style Rookie blog was frequently praised because of your bizarre, atypical fashion sense. Has your style changed now that you’ve become a public figure?

“Listening to music and daydreaming are experiences as valid as the real ones most of us miss out on.”
Gevinson: I don’t think it’s changed because I’ve become more of a public figure. Yes, my style lately is not as mismatched as it was, but my actual image is less public than it was before even as I’ve, I guess, become more successful. I was at the absolute height of my awkward phase when I went to Fashion Week. It’s supposed to be this place with the most beautiful people in the world, and I was this incredibly tiny, gray-haired—what’s the word?—gnome. That was the time in my life when I was most photographed, and I’m not embarrassed by that; I think it’s hilarious that in the middle of these rooms full of tall, skinny people in black was this tiny weird person.

Collectors Weekly: In a gigantic bow.

Gevinson: Yeah, with a giant bow. I think it’s awesome that it made a lot of people angry. I felt pleased with that because I spent all my time trying to prove that fashion wasn’t just frivolous and could have personal or public meaning, and here you had a bunch of people somehow making a giant bow into a metaphor for the death of fashion journalism. I thought it was great.

But I think you go through phases and then grow out of them. Before, dressing up was my outlet, and now I’m pursuing other creative things that take up a lot of time and energy, so in the morning I usually want to put on something simple and comfortable.

Collectors Weekly: How does Rookie challenge certain stereotypes of women or feminism?


Tavi ruffled the feathers of a humorless, black-only fashion crowd at New York Fashion Week in 2010.

Gevinson: There are a lot of girlish tropes or feminist stereotypes that bother me, but I feel like the best way to prove a stereotype wrong is to just let people be people. I’ve realized there’s a way to be subversive without evaluating what’s already out there and figuring out how to go against it. I’ve found with a community of strong writers, artists, and readers who are generous and open with their submissions and commentary, that their honesty alone will be subversive, particularly because you don’t find it in other publications for teenagers.

Since we’re online, we don’t have to worry that much about ads. For the book, we used an independent publisher who really trusted us. We’re also continually working on getting a more diverse staff and figuring out what our readers would like to read and what people want to share.

When I started Rookie, there were a lot of girls like me who had fashion blogs and loved getting dressed up and thinking about appearance, not in a stressful women’s magazine way, but in a creative way. I can understand how some feminists who’ve fought against things like style or beauty defining all women might feel confused about how we can discuss self-esteem and being your own person but also write so much about fashion. But for Rookie, fashion is about personal expression and creativity. And I want there to be a place where women can do that, where you can care about fashion, and even be super girly, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re not also smart or confident or strong.

Collectors Weekly: Are the real-world events and activities you organize important to Rookie’s mission?


The cover of Rookie Mag’s first annual yearbook shows the handcrafted, vintage-and-new collage style the publication celebrates.

Gevinson: I used to think of Rookie as only the website, and then we put out the yearbook, and now I feel like it has three components—the website, the book, and the events. When we started Rookie, my dad was like, “How are you going to run a website? You’re in school,” and I thought, “Well, everyone else will be in school, too, so we’ll just post three times a day and we’ll make sure they’re all really strong.” And I remember thinking I don’t want Rookie to post too frequently because I know our readers have real lives, and don’t want to presume they would be glued to their computer screens, waiting for our every word. I want them to go outside, and I want them to be creative.

A website is a perfect medium for us because it’s accessible to so many people and it’s great for building a community. But I do think there is a lot of bitterness about what the Internet means for activities like in-person communication, going outside, listening to a record, or watching a movie (not on your phone). We want to encourage our readers to go and have those experiences for themselves as well.

With the yearbook, my biggest concern was how to justify putting out an actual book and making it so strong on its own when most of its content can be read for free online. The key was to make it beautiful and to be super obsessive about the design. We put the first one out in September, and it’s a compilation of the best content from September of 2011 to May of 2012. It goes month by month, and each one has a different theme.

A lot of our readers love it; they appreciate that tangibility. I think people have this idea that teenagers don’t want that, but in a way maybe the rarity makes something real, like a vinyl record, even more special and exciting.

Collectors Weekly: You guys make a lot of crowns, right?

Gevinson: Yeah, I love the combination of handmade accessories with vintage clothing, and especially accessories that have some kind of pop culture thing on them. Petra made me a crown with Laura Palmer from “Twin Peaks” on it. Right now I’m in my room, and I’m looking at a little box that a Rookie reader gave me that has Leonardo DiCaprio in “Romeo + Juliet” on the inside.


One of Tavi’s homemade crowns, a favorite craft of the Rookie crew.

Collectors Weekly: People usually think of teen pop culture as Brat Pack films, but you appreciate shows like “Twin Peaks.” What interests you about these offbeat cultural phenomena?

Gevinson: I actually like it all. I love John Hughes, and I even love a solid “American Pie” or “Scream” type movie. But with “The Virgin Suicides,” “Twin Peaks,” or “Heavenly Creatures,” those things were not made for teenagers. These are movies about teenagers that weren’t necessarily marketed to teens, which is why they’re so appealing to me and why I was so excited to discover them. In seventh grade, when I found out about “The Virgin Suicides,” it was so much more thrilling to me than more recent young-adult novels.

As a young person, you want the perspective of what it will feel like when this will all be over. I think that reading so many books and watching so many movies that are about the teenage experience in retrospect have helped me put everything in perspective and appreciate all of this for what it is. The fact that a show like “Freaks and Geeks” is about teenagers for adults makes it so much more realistic and honest. They’re not trying to teach you anything, and I think that helped going into my teenage years.


A still life from Tavi’s bedroom, showcasing her love for the 1970s.

Collectors Weekly: Do adults like reading your blog?

Gevinson: A lot of adults have told me they enjoy my blog because they’re discovering something for a second time through someone else’s eyes. Being a teenager is both good and bad, but one thing that’s really special about it is that you do experience a lot of things for the first time. I would even say that it’s a state of child-like wonder, but maybe even better, because when you’re little there’s no pain and no filter to your wonder.

When you’re a teenager, you’re looking for something more specific, and when you find it, that feeling of excitement is so much more complex and fascinating to me because it typically includes a lot of pain. “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” doesn’t make you feel good in an obvious way, the way something makes you feel good when you’re a little kid and it’s exciting in a very simple way. It makes you feel good because it reconciles feelings of wonder with feelings of pain.


Tavi was thrilled to pore over hundreds of high-school keepsakes belonging to a Rookie contributor’s mother, including these diaries.

Collectors Weekly: “Perks” is always stereotyped as this alternative teen story, but it seems to resonate with most young people.

Gevinson: I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately. I used to believe that there was this dividing line between all people (part of which probably came from my obsession with the ’90s): You’re either a cheerleader, or you’re an art kid. I think when the first seeds of Rookie were planted in my brain, I thought, “The art kids need something just for them.”

And then as time went on, I realized there’s a part in everyone that feels somehow left out, that has some kind of inferiority complex. There are very few people who actually can come out and say, “Yes, I am that girl. I am the beautiful cheerleader type.”


Tavi (middle) performs with friends for V-Day, an activist event to end violence against women.

It’s such basic “Breakfast Club” stuff, but I don’t think that some girls are happy all the time and some girls are depressed all the time; I think there’s a part in everyone that feels insecure at times. So much pop culture is about either loving being a teenager and making it look super glamorous, or absolutely hating it. It’s either “The O.C.” or it’s “Daria.” I don’t want to do either, because I don’t think you can love or hate something all the time. With Rookie, I just want to make the best of it.

A counterculture develops because people feel rejected by the mainstream culture, but wouldn’t it be great if, instead, people didn’t feel rejected to begin with? Maybe that’s impossible, but so many of the people who work on Rookie, so many people who read it, and so many of my friends at school are technically art kids, but we still love Justin Bieber.


Tavi frequently posts playlists on her blog, mixing music from many eras and genres.

Collectors Weekly: Totally; real people are complicated. I read your review of Wes Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom,” and I’m curious what you think about the fictional 1960s world he creates.

Gevinson: I love “Moonrise Kingdom,” and it’s much more interesting to me than just a nostalgia trip. The movie does take place in the ’60s, but all the cutesy kids’ stuff and Boy Scout tools form this very specific aesthetic. The whole movie has this strict color palette: It’s New England and rainy and all the colors are green and blue and yellow.

And then there’s this one scene—if you haven’t seen the movie, person reading this, you should skip this paragraph because I am about to give away part of the movie. There’s this one scene where it opens on a view through Suzy’s binoculars of a dove on the water, and the sky is pink and reflected in the water so that they kind of blend into each other. It’s the one moment in the movie that breaks away from this typical school color palette of yellow, blue, green, and red. It’s pink and they have flowers in their hair—it’s my favorite part.


Tavi keeps track of the kitschy spots in her suburban town that look straight out of the past, like this pink and white house. Photo by Petra Collins.

Collectors Weekly: Why do you think this vintage-inspired nostalgia is so appealing to people?

Gevinson: Well, memory often makes things more beautiful. My mom’s from Norway, and my dad went to Woodstock, so there’s a bit of those influences in our home and in the music I listened to growing up. My mom had all these weird Scandinavian tools everywhere and I used to be obsessed with musicals. So in my mind, my childhood was like “The Sound of Music” somehow, and it was very quaint, even though I know that’s not totally true. I found this old picture recently of me as a baby, naked in a field in Norway, and I was really happy about it because I know in reality there was only a little of that. Mostly, I watched TV all the time. It used to bum me out, that nothing is as perfect as we imagine it, but now I’ve come to appreciate that as a special event on its own.

I’m in my room right now facing Chris Ware’s new graphic novel, “Building Stories,” which includes a quotation from Pablo Picasso that says, “Everything you can imagine is real.” That was a weirdly empowering thought for me, because so much of my experience as a person is dreaming of what I wish everything could be. It somehow gives validity to the act of yearning for something. I’ve been obsessed with all these things about the teenage experience for years before I even was a teenager, so I had a lot of expectations about what teenage existence should be. And I think I’ve somehow found a way to consider listening to music and daydreaming as valid an experience as the real ones most of us miss out on.

Collectors Weekly: It’s nice to think that by indulging in nostalgia we’re creating this beautiful picture that’s easier to edit because it’s in the past. You can’t edit real life that way.

Gevinson: Exactly. That’s the feeling Wes Anderson adds to what would otherwise be a normal, 1960s period piece. There’s this photo in the counselor’s office at my school, probably from the ’80s or ’90s, and it’s a picture of a girl sitting on the bleachers wearing a red sweatshirt and a black leather motorcycle jacket with a little bit of snow and frost around her.

Today as I was walking home, I looked up from the ground for a moment, and there was a little bit of sun coming through the clouds as I was passing the track. I could see the bleachers, and all these people playing sports and the grass and the maroon track, and then this red car went by it with frost on it, and it all reminded me of the photo of the girl. That image with all these different colors was really special, but I looked down quickly, and when I took a longer look it wasn’t special at all.

I think there is something to be said for how sacred perception can be in recognizing something that is beautiful to you. In the world, there are all of these images floating around from people’s imaginations, and it’s reaffirming to think that there’s a lot more out there we can’t even see.

I recently interviewed the man who started The Museum of Jurassic Technology in L.A., and I burst into tears once we hung up. He wasn’t abusive; it was completely the opposite. Basically, I was like, “Do you ever feel like there’s a shortage of wonder in the world?” And he just laughed and said, “That thought has never crossed my mind.” Then I asked him, “What do you do if you’re so jaded that you can’t appreciate it?” He paused for a very long time, and I was worried that he hated the question. Then he started talking about all these doves that were flying around him at that moment, and it was amazing.


click here to read more


Featured artist

Tavi Gevinson

           Featured product

Rookie Yearbook One




The Frisky on Tavi Gevinson's feminism

Updated January 15, 2013


Tavi Gevinson, On Being Your Own Kind Of Feminist
Julie Gerstein
November 29, 2012

“When I started Rookie, there were a lot of girls like me who had fashion blogs and loved getting dressed up and thinking about appearance, not in a stressful women’s magazine way, but in a creative way. I can understand how some feminists who’ve fought against things like style or beauty defining all women might feel confused about how we can discuss self-esteem and being your own person but also write so much about fashion. But for Rookie, fashion is about personal expression and creativity. And I want there to be a place where women can do that, where you can care about fashion, and even be super girly, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re not also smart or confident or strong.”
–My fave, Tavi Gevinson, on how you can care about fashion and still be a feminist. Like, duh. Tavi also talks about how she can manage to be nostalgic for things she wasn’t around for the first time (like, say, the ’90s). “As a young person, you want the perspective of what it will feel like when this will all be over. I think that reading so many books and watching so many movies that are about the teenage experience in retrospect have helped me put everything in perspective and appreciate all of this for what it is.”
 
click here to read more


Featured artist

Tavi Gevinson

           Featured product

Rookie Yearbook One




  Bullseye loves Rookie Yearbook One

Updated January 15, 2013


Rookie's Tavi Gevinson on Her Teenage Experience
Posted Tue, 11/20/2012 - 11:21 by Julia Smith

Tavi Gevinson's interest in the artistry of fashion inspired her to start her blog, Style Rookie, when she was in middle school. Drawn to unusual color combinations, proportions, and textures, Gevinson sought to create narratives with her outfits -- which caught flack at school, even as fashion magazines praised her sense of style.

Most recently, Gevinson's founded and serves as Editor-in-Chief of the online magazine Rookie, a beautifully curated website for teen girls featuring content spanning myriad topics, including feminism, fashion, and how to build the very best forts. Gevinson recently collected some of Rookie's first year of content into a book called Rookie Yearbook One.

Gevinson joins us to discuss what sparked her foray into the fashion world, people's tendency to fixate on her age, and the qualities that make people worth writing about.
click here to read more


Featured artist

Tavi Gevinson

           Featured product

Rookie Yearbook One




Urban Outfitters interviews Tavi Gevinson

Updated January 15, 2013


The UO Nice List: Tavi Gevinson
We spoke with UO Nice List participant Tavi Gevinson, founder of Rookie Mag and accomplisher of the wildest of teenage dreams, to get her take on the holiday season, what she's asking for (seriously, LOL), and her proudest moments of the year 2012.

Introduce yourself!
I'm Tavi Gevinson, I edit and founded the online site Rookie Mag, and I edited and art directed our first annual print edition, Rookie Yearbook One.

What do you love and loathe most about the holidays?
I love all the decorations people put up and how a Starbucks run suddenly feels like some holy occurrence and wrapping presents and seeing my sisters. I loathe how quickly the snow gets depressing basically as soon as the holidays are over.

What’s your gift-giving style? Personalized presents, or a Starbucks card for everyone?
Personalized, of course! It'd be no fun anonymously giving threatening ransom notes if I wasn't cutting out all the little magazine clippings myself.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?
I got an electric guitar for a birthday/middle school graduation present.

What’s the worst gift you’ve ever received?
I can't think of one, but once my mom got my sister a broom for Christmas.

If you could ask for anything this year (and money is no object) what would you ask for?
Blue Ivy, the child.

What is your favorite holiday tradition that you share with friends or family?
My mom is from Norway, so we do Jul, which is basically Norwegian Christmas, only instead of a nice jolly man who brings you presents, this little troll guy just delivers the ones your family was already giving you, and instead of putting out milk and cookies, you put out this really nasty porridge. There's one tradition where a single almond (OOOOH, AN ALMOND) gets mixed into the porridge pot before it is served, and whoever gets the almond in their bowl gets an extra present, which in our home means something vaguely Judaism-related because we feel bad for neglecting Hanukkah.

What’s your favorite holiday snack or food?
That disgusting porridge, because as much as it disagrees with my taste buds, it's the ultimate signifier of Jul, holding a very special place in my heart.

Without looking it up, what are the ingredients in eggnog?
I've never had eggnog!

Any idea how you will spend New Year’s Eve this year?
Not yet! I'll probably just watch movies about the apocalypse with my friends.

If you could be any character from a holiday movie, who would you be and why?
The little girl from Love, Actually because she gets to sing "All I Want For Christmas Is You" and that cute kid crushes on her. Or Kevin from Home Alone cuz duh.

If you could plant a New Year’s kiss on your dream crush, who would that be and why?
Anders from Workaholics.

What was your proudest moment from this past year?
Publishing Rookie Yearbook One was a lot of work, reaching Rookie's one-year anniversary was a lot of work, and getting to hold events with our readers and meet these people in real life and talk with them about all the stuff we normally just type about online was really, really rewarding and special. I kind of feel like the luckiest person ever.

What are you looking forward to most about 2013?
Starting my senior year of high school.
 
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  The Phoenix says Rookie meet ups are the place to be

Updated January 15, 2013


Get Seen » At the Boston Rookie Meetup at the Democracy Center
Published Nov 09 2012, 10:00 AM by Liz Pelly

The mainstream media is a dark place for teen girls, but Rookie - an online mag started by 16-year-old blogger Tavi Gevinson last year - is changing that, with smart, feminist musings on pop culture, teen issues, DIY fashion, and more. It's grown so popular with a certain niche of teens and twentysomethings that meetups have been popping up around the world, allowing readers to talk feminism, make zines and flower crowns, and profess their love for Rookie. Last month, the Boston area held one of its own at the Democracy Center in Harvard Square.



Faye Orlove, graphic designer

Faye came to the meetup with her younger sister in tow. "I really wanted my little sister to meet some girls who I thought would have the same values I want her to grow up with. . . . Rookie has always felt like a safe environment for young girls to be themselves and learn about positive feminist ideals."

The mag has taught her a few things too. "Rookie has inspired me to make so many more things. Instead of buying collars and pins and acid-washed denim jackets, I've totally made my own. . . . Rookie has never been in the business of telling me what to wear for my complexion, for springtime, or for a first date. It's more about feeling totally awesome wearing the things I already wear."

She also draws inspiration from a diverse crew of characters - real and fictional. "My personal style is an amalgamation of everything I've ever loved: some Angela Chase, some Patti Smith, some Sanderson sisters from Hocus Pocus."

That sick pink coat was a gift from her best friend back in Washington, DC. "I think she got it at a thrift store, but I don't know which one. She's totally a Rookie lover too."
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Vanity Fair raves about Tavi Gevinson

Updated January 15, 2013


Tavi Gevinson on Shifting from Fashion to Feminism, Surviving Blogger Mortification, and Her First Acting Gig
by Julie Miller 3:00 PM, NOVEMBER 9 2012

Four years after launching The Style Rookie at the age of 11—the spunky style blog that would earn her early acceptance into the fashion world, a front-row runway seat next to Anna Wintour, and features in Teen Vogue, French Vogue, and New York Times Magazine—Tavi Gevinson embarked on a new endeavor. Working from her bedroom/office in suburban Chicago last year, Gevinson created Rookie Magazine, an online publication for thinking young women that offers advice, playlists, artistic inspiration, and interviews with feminist role models such as Lena Dunham and quirk-embracing creatives such as David Sedaris and John Waters. (Not to mention the unexpected opportunity of watching Jon Hamm video-chat earnest relationship advice to 16-year-old girls.)

To celebrate its inaugural year, the publication released its first book, Rookie Yearbook One—a collection of the site’s best articles and illustrations so far—and organized a 16-city summer road trip, during which Tavi and her colleagues traveled across the U.S. to meet their stylish young readers for pajama parties, flea-market outings, and crown-making craft nights. This weekend, as an informal curtain call, Gevinson returns to L.A. for several Rookie events, including a reading and signing on Friday, a zine workshop on Saturday, and a concert/dance party on Sunday.

In anticipation of her weekend on the West Coast, the Hollywood Blog called Tavi earlier this week to hear about her dreams of expanding Rookie, that surreal road trip, and her first acting job, as a normal, jeans-wearing teenager in Nicole Holofcener’s next film.

Julie Miller: What’s a regular weekly schedule like for you, in between running Rookie—where you manage 40 to 50 writers, illustrators, and photographers—going to high school, and having free time for yourself?

Tavi Gevinson: Every day, I kind of have in my brain a few slots of what I want to do. Like school, sleep, homework, Rookie, hanging out with friends, mindless relaxation time, and then trying to do my own creative things. Every day, some of those have to be compromised, so that part is a little upsetting, but I also think that it makes me appreciate the time I do have to relax or be creative a lot more. Last year, when Rookie started and my life had become a lot busier than it had ever been, I also started taking my diary really seriously. Somehow, I made more things in my spare time last year than I did before. With all of the stress that comes with Rookie, I’m more stressed out when it’s not there, because I need to know that I am doing everything that I possible can without totally killing myself for the site to be good.

The creative component seems to come very naturally to you, but how easy is the business-management side for you?

It does not come as naturally. In some ways that stuff is really interesting to me. In other ways, I don’t really like having to think of people reading our site and to whom it will mean something as numbers. It freaks me out and I don’t like it. I also understand that that’s an important part of it, and ultimately we want people to see the site, so that those who are meant to connect with it will. And that means paying attention to the business side . . . even though I’d kind of like to just hide in the woods and just be creative.

When you started blogging, you were known for your interest in fashion. Since then, your focus has shifted and expanded to female and creative empowerment. Do you remember when and how that transition started?

I think it was all very fluid. I remember starting to read feminist text and also becoming a teenager and feeling confused about that. I never felt like I was denouncing fashion. In a way, I still think that I am obsessed with it, except for when my friend asked me the other day if I had looked at any shows from this past Fashion Week yet. And I realized that it had just kind of slipped my mind. There’s a lot that I haven’t looked at. I feel like now fashion is just part of how I think about everything. When I send out a mood board to our contributors every month about our monthly theme, there are photos from our fashion shows, but there are also film stills and album art. I feel like it’s just part of everything in my brain right now.

You’ve been blogging since you were 11. Does the idea of your thoughts and feelings, from those formative years especially, being available on the Internet ever worry you?

It freaks me out a lot—thank you for bring that up [laughs]. Right now, I feel pretty O.K. about it, but there are definitely phases where I am up looking at my Tumblr archives and I am absolutely mortified. But I feel like that is part of being a person and you kind of just have to be on nodding terms with whoever you used to be, because if not, you will kind of just start to hate yourself. And that’s no fun. I feel like one thing that a lot of creative people go through is that they feel like they don’t have the right to be creative or to put their stuff out there. I’m glad that blogging from a young age kind of got that out of the way for me.

I feel like girls and women especially have this kind of struggle with feeling like your thoughts aren’t worth sharing or whatever. Ultimately, though, the thing that blogging and Rookie has changed most about my life is the way recording all of my thoughts every day has shaped and defined my tastes and the way I see things. I basically like how that goes most of the time, so I am grateful for that.

Rookie really captures the way that teenagers can feel disconnected from their high-school classmates sometimes—that feeling of being an alien among their peers. How does having a successful career affect the way you relate to students in your school, and how aware are they of Rookie?

It’s hard for me to know what part of my feeling like an alien is just how I am and how I have always been. I don’t know what parts of it are like, “I just got back from a really exciting trip and now I’m in trigonometry.” So I guess . . . one thing that I realized is that it’s not like there are some people and some teenagers who feel weird and disconnected, and then everyone else is a happy cheerleader. I think there is a part of that in everyone. So I just can’t even imagine that my classmates even care. I feel like, in general, people in high school are pretty ramped up in their own thing and their own friend group. Nobody really bothers me about it, so I don’t really care about what they think of me.

You were on the road for over a month this past summer with the Rookie Road Trip. What did you learn about yourself from that experience?

It sounds so cliché, but it really just feels like a weird hazy dream. You’re in this moving thing all day and then all of a sudden you’re in a totally new place, and then you have this kind of surreal event where you get to meet all of these people that take in what you put out in the world, and then you are gone and you’re on to the next city and you’re on this weird spaceship thing again. It wasn’t really a learning, Eat, Pray, Love experience, but I definitely felt inspired. But there was a lot that we saw that I keep going back to as references, just visually now.

Of all of the surreal moments, is there one that stuck with you most?

Well, I tried to draw in my journal the way that all of these vignettes looked—these moments that did feel very special. Big Sur was beautiful. That was my favorite place we went to, and I do have this image in my head of running on the beach. Also, there is no way for me to describe this without me sounding like I was on drugs, which I was not . . . but I was at the end of a very long road trip. Anyway, this one moment felt really special, because you know with sunglasses when you look inside and it reflects what is behind you in a weird way in the corner? I was running on the beach and there was this very thin layer of water on the sand where you could see my reflection and then there was a really beautiful blue sky with fluffy clouds and these weird reflections in my sunglasses. I don’t know how to describe it. Everything just kind of looked like gossamer. That was very bizarre and cosmic and I promise I was not on drugs.

Would Rookie organize another road trip?

I would like to. And I would like a Rookie retreat, a Rookie camp, a Rookie Girl Scout trip. We’ll just have to see how things continue to develop.

You also just finished your first acting job, on Nicole Holofcener’s next film with Catherine Keener. Can you talk about your part a little?

I read the script while we were on the road and then I auditioned for the part the day after we got to L.A., which was our last stop on the trip. I loved the role because we were just talking about that feeling of [being] slightly disconnected, and this [character] is not in high school but she just graduated and that feeling kind of sticks with her. . . . Normally I think that you think of those characters as the weirdos—like you think those characters only exist in The Perks of Being a Wallflower or a Winona Ryder movie. But this girl is totally normal, wears jeans, and is O.K. at school, but still feels that way. It’s not like she’s found some kind of alternative subculture where that feeling is O.K. She just lives in this really normal world with moms who love yogurt and still feels that way. I just thought that was really interesting.

Was it positive enough of an experience that you would consider pursuing a career in acting?

Oh, I’d really like to. The experience was very, very special. In a way, it’s kind of like the road trip in memory. It was really fast and you’re just trying to keep up with everything and do a good job. You’re also sort of half yourself and half someone else, but I loved it a lot and would like to do something like that again.

You talked about starting Rookie retreats and camps and acting. What else do you see in your future? Will you be applying to colleges soon?

Well, I’d like to take a gap year before college, and I want to go to a school where I don’t necessarily have to break off everything else I’m doing in order to pursue my studies. I feel lucky in that I don’t really have to go to college to study something job-specific. I just want to go to learn about what is interesting to me and learn about the classes that you don’t really get to take in high school because you have to take the basics.

You have this great series on your site called “Ask a Grown Man” where well-known grown men like Jon Hamm and Judd Apatow will answer questions from readers about everything from relationships to self- esteem. Have you had any traction in your campaign to get President Obama to do the feature?

I believe we have one or two leads, but then we kind of gave it a rest because, you know, there were a few other things I figured he was busy with. I think I would have felt a little guilty, too. Like, what if he didn’t win and I thought, “Oh man, if only he hadn’t made that five-minute video for Rookie”? If all goes well, in my opinion, and he has some time later on, we might pick that back up again.
 
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  CBC Books acclaims Rookie Yearbook One

Updated January 15, 2013


Teen fashion icon Tavi Gevinson on Rookie and why she was born at the exact right time
Monday, November 5, 2012

Tavi Gevinson was a fashion star before she even hit adolescence. She burst onto the international fashion scene at the age of 11 with her blog The Style Rookie, which featured photos of her own outfits and experiments with hair colour, as well as commentary on her favourite designers and fashion inspirations. She quickly won legions of fans and was soon being invited to sit in the front row at runway shows around the world. She was even a special correspondent for Fashion Television. But when you've done all that by the age of 14, how do you follow up? Gevinson, now 16, has expanded her interests. She's the founding editor-in-chief of Rookie Magazine, an online magazine for teenage girls that delves into topics beyond fashion such as sex, feminism and how to look like you haven't just been crying. Now, Gevinson has published some of Rookie Magazine's best content in a book called Rookie: Yearbook One. In a recent interview on Q, she spoke to Jian Ghomeshi about her burgeoning media empire.

Gevinson has written that she started Rookie because she didn't feel there was a magazine out there for teen girls that respected their intelligence. "I felt like there wasn't anything for me or the girls whose blogs I read or my friends...we weren't interested in stuff to do to get back in shape right before school or something like that," she said. "And I felt like there were a lot of sites online that I read that were very smart and wrote about movies and music and things that I liked but they were all for adults and I was never comfortable engaging in the comments or anything, so I wanted to create a space where that would be OK for a teenager."

A common complaint about content for teenagers has always been that it's produced by adults who talk down to their readers. There are teens and adults on staff at Rookie. "In some cases you want to hear from someone who has years of experience behind them, and then in some cases you want to hear from someone who is going through something like you are right now," said Gevinson. "I found that a lot of media about [teenage life] is either about full-on hating it, like Daria, or full-on glorifying it, like everyone's really attractive even though they're supposed to be 16 and have acne, and I felt like I just wanted something that was in-between." Rookie tries to offer a realistic portrayal of both the positive and negative aspects of teenage life.

Gevinson doesn't like the way that youth tends to be glamourized and fetishized in mainstream culture, but it can be hard to walk the line between authentic celebration of experience and glamorization. The photos on the site are — for the most part — taken by teen girls of teen girls, and sometimes do veer into the risqué, as is occasionally the wont of teenagers. "Rookie isn't a part of that [fetishization], we just want to make the best of it," she said. "We did have one shoot where they were dressed as schoolgirls and someone was like, 'This makes me think of '70s porn blah blah blah,' and I'm like, 'Schoolgirls were a thing before '70s porn.' So I have to wonder what of it looks provocative because it's been appropriated, and what of it is just girls wearing, say, girl scout uniforms."

As for Gevinson's personal style, it is, in a word, eclectic. Most of her influences are from previous generations —1960s London, for example. Does she ever feel like she was born in the wrong time? "I feel like I was born at just the right time, because I get to do all this," she said. "A lot of the things that I like I wouldn't know about if not for the internet."

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Los Angeles Times promotes Rookie Yearbook One

Updated January 15, 2013


Tavi talks about the new Rookie book and her Los Angeles visit
By Jasmine Elist
November 9, 2012, 8:00 a.m.

At the age of 15, fashion blogger Tavi Gevinson noticed that there wasn’t a magazine that tapped into the real, honest, substantial, and oftentimes comedic, experiences that come with being a teenage girl. So, she set out to change that — creating the online publication Rookie Magazine. While it may have seemed like an overwhelming task for any teenager to tackle, Tavi already knew what it took to be on the frontline of a creative endeavor (she started her fashion blog at age 11 and was featured in Teen Vogue, French Vogue and The New York Times Magazine).

The result was an online magazine filled with interviews, photographs, illustrations and short stories by contributors such as Lena Dunham, David Sedaris and Jack Black. A year later, she compiled some of the website’s best content into a book -- “Rookie Yearbook One” -- that resembles an old-school zine, published by Montreal-based press Drawn & Quarterly, best known for independent comics and graphic novels.

This weekend Tavi is hitting L.A.: Friday she will be at Diesel in Brentwood for a reading and signing from 7-9 p.m. On Saturday, from 2-5 p.m., she’s scheduled to lead a zine-making workshop, reading and signing at the Nerdist Showroom at Meltdown Comics. And from 7-10 p.m. Saturday, in true Tavi fashion, she invites readers to dance with her during a live performance by Best Coast at Space 15 Twenty.

She spoke to us by phone about translating Rookie into a book.

What was the inspiration behind Rookie initially?

I started Rookie because I felt like there wasn’t a magazine or a website for teenage girls that respected its readers’ intelligence. I first started it online because it seemed like the only option to me. I really like that we are online because it’s the strongest place to have community and to talk to our readers directly and for them to talk to each other. And it’s also great that we get to have new posts out in the world each day.

I think the “Yearbook” has been a good format for tying together the best of the best from our first year into something that is really special and might stay with someone for a long time. I felt like we had so many articles and photos and illustrations that really had to be tangible.

How do you think that making it into a book changes the way we read the content?

I think a lot of people are hesitant about content you can get for free online and paying money to have it in a book …. that’s why I was super-obsessive about the design of the book. Each month on Rookie is a different theme, so the whole style of the book changes every 20 pages or so.

One thing that sets us apart as a publication, not just for teenagers, but in general — that each month is such a different mix of references and interests and moods. That was the biggest thing about making sure it was a worthwhile transition from online to print — the experience of reading an article will feel different because the page was decorated and all of that. That was one of the most important things for me — ways I could justify creating a book that people would pay money for when you could read the same article online.

How did you go about determining what content you wanted to pull from the website for “Rookie Yearbook One”?

Oh my god, it was so hard. Our editorial director, Anaheed, said: ‘Tavi, you have to be ruthless. I know it’s hard, but you have to do it.’ One thing that makes the print version so special is that it is very stylized. With articles, it was about picking the best but also picking a bunch that really balanced out each other since this would be the first time they would all be together in a more visually edited form.

When you come to L.A., you’ll be doing a zine workshop. How did you originally get interested in zines?

Ironically, I got interested in zines because of the Internet. On fashion and art blogs, you see people making these little things and selling them. When I was younger, I made these little books, just for fun — just the idea of having this very self-made, compact, DIY little project was exciting to me.

There’s a growing dependency on social media and online forms of communication, especially among younger generations. What spurred you to step out of the digital world and explore print?

People say that but I think those forms of communication also become the homes for really intense fans of more real things, like a band or a book. Maybe the fact that we are so entrenched in this intangible culture just makes us want real things more. For example, vinyl in the past couple years has had more of a comeback. Maybe because we are so used to Facebook and other online forms of social media, the idea of an actual book or an actual record is extra exciting.

Who makes up Rookie’s staff?

My staff was initially comprised of people who wrote to me when I said on my blog that I wanted to start an online magazine. They emailed me their writing, I went through it with Anaheed and we put together a staff. We are continually adding new people, looking for new voices and taking submissions that our readers send in. One thing I think we actually need is more teenage writers. And I think it’s good to have both — people who are going through what you are right now and people who have lived through it. But there are only two people of all of our writers and photographers who are younger than me. Most everyone else is in their 20s, and then we have some in their 30s, 40s and 50s.

You have such a strong group of contributors, from Patton Oswalt to Zooey Deschanel to Paul Feig. How were you able to draw in such a dynamic group to contribute their stories to Rookie?

Anaheed used to do a monthly variety show in New York and from that, she has a lot of contacts in comedy. All of our contacts are basic friend-of-a-friend kinds of connections. But I think what is really special is that these people agreed to do something for a website for teenagers even if it’s not necessarily their audience.

Copyright © 2013, Los Angeles Times
 
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  Toronto Standard promotes Tavi Gevinson's Toronto visit

Updated January 15, 2013


16-Year-Old Editor-in-Chief Tavi Gevinson Comes to Toronto
Launching her new book Rookie: Yearbook One
OCTOBER 25TH, 2012
Claudia McNeilly

Teenage phenomenon Tavi Gevinson is coming to Toronto this weekend to launch her new book Rookie: Yearbook One. The book is a compilation of looks from her online magazine The Style Rookie, which she runs and edits. At 16, Gevinson has become a phenomenon in the fashion world. Her style has been dubbed eccentric and vibrant.

Gevinson first started making waves in fashion at 13 when she caught the eyes of Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte. She then sat front row at the Rodarte show and was flown to Paris by Pop magazine to interview John Galliano. Since then she has gone on to make a name for herself as one of the youngest established fashionistas in the industry.

When asked what compelled her to start Rookie at such a young age she told the Star: “I saw a void and I decided to fill it. There wasn’t really anything like Rookie, something for teenage girls that was smart and respected its readers’ intelligence.”

Gevinson will be signing copies of Rookie: Yearbook One at Indigo Yorkdale and Magic Pony this Saturday.
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Huffington Post Canada celebrates Tavi Gevinson's Toronto visit

Updated January 15, 2013


Tavi Gevinson Rookie: Scenes And Styles From The Blogger's Toronto Book Reading
The Huffington Post Canada | By Devon Murphy
11/01/2012

Taking style advice from a 16-year-old is not generally advisable when you're a grown woman. There is, of course, always an exception. In this case, that would be Tavi Gevinson, teen founder of Rookie Mag and the new book Rookie Yearbook One.

Gevinson was in Toronto on October 27th to read from her new book and to connect with her many fans at Indigo Yorkdale. True to form, the young ladies filling the seats (and cramming into the aisles) were among the more fashionable youth in the city.

Ranging in age from 15 to 23, the girls were not only inspired by Gevinson's style, but also her success. "She's my biggest inspiration ever," said Mia Perelman, 15. "She inspired me to make my own style blog. She inspired me to be different."

Different is one word for the style the afternoon's attendees were sporting, but that's just the kind of thing Gevinson loves about her fans, dubbed "Rookies." "Wear what you want," Gevinson said after reading from the Yearbook and taking questions from the audience. "Just be comfortable in what you're wearing," agreed another Rookie staffer Petra Collins, 19.

The girls at the reading certainly took that message to heart, displaying all manner of personal style. After the Q&A, excited fans lined up to get their Yearbook signed and, if they wanted, a hug from Tavi.
 
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  Raves and Faves loves Rookie Yearbook One

Updated January 15, 2013


Rookie Yearbook One (Anna)
MONDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2012

Title: Rookie Yearbook One
Editor: Tavi Gevinson (USA)
Age group in store: 14+

Briefly, what it’s About: In September 2011, teen blogger Tavi started Rookie, an online magazine for teenagers. Rookie Yearbook One is a compilation of some of its greatest hits from the first year: dreamy photoshoots, frank advice about sex and drugs, celebrity interviews, essays. There is also a bunch of stuff you can’t get online: a paper crown designed by Meadham Kirchoff, a flexi-disc with an original song by the Dum Dum Girls, artist-designed stickers, and lots of unique artwork.

Anna’s Rave: Full disclosure: I write for Rookie. But I can tell you, even if I didn’t, I would be into this so hard. Rookie aims to provide an alternative to other publications aimed at teens that teach girls little beyond how to have shiny hair/attract boys. There is beauty and dating advice in here, but also? So much more. The fun content is balanced out by recognizing the heavier issues affecting teens – from having low self esteem to being in an abusive relationship to feeling powerless in the face of sexism, racism and homophobia. There is no condescension in any of the writing, just the acknowledgement that being a teenager can entail all sorts of experiences, both serious and silly (and everything in between). It encourages teen girls to take themselves seriously, to be creative, to combat girl-hate and feel good about themselves. And hey, fuller disclosure: Mabel’s staffer Allison Burda models in a few of the shoots, so that’s TWO Mabel’s Fables employees in there. Ergo, we are the best place in Toronto to buy it from.


# of Stars: *****, duh

It's Perfect For: Aesthetically, fans of Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral. Thematically, everyone? I would recommend it to those into the coming-of-age type books: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, Gingerbread by Rachel Cohn, Looking for Alaska by JohnGreen, Live Through This by Mindi Scott, etc.
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Australia's The Age praises Rookie Yearbook One

Updated January 15, 2013


Local artists paint bright picture for online girls' mag
October 27, 2012
Philippa Hawker

IN THE digital world, there is no such thing as the tyranny of distance. Melbourne artists Minna Gilligan, 21, and Ruby Aitken, 22, are regular contributors to Rookie, an online magazine set up in the US that is a media trailblazer.
Its owner, founder and editor-in-chief is Chicago 16-year-old Tavi Gevinson, who made her media debut at 11 as a fashion blogger with a fresh and astonishingly mature take on style, the world, and everything.
When she realised ''there wasn't a magazine for teenage girls that respected its readers' intelligence'', she started one.
Rookie has been online since September 2011. A print version, Rookie Yearbook One, a selection of writing, illustrations and photographs from its first nine months, has just been published.
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Rookie is eclectic, practical, cool, heartfelt and surprising, with a strong aesthetic sense.
Gevinson, in her first editorial, described it as ''a place to make the best of the beautiful pain and cringe-worthy awkwardness of being an adolescent girl. When it becomes harder to appreciate these things, we also have good plain fun and visual pleasure. When you're sick of having to be happy all the time, we have lots of eye-rolling rants, too.''
Gilligan was an early recruit to the magazine. For the first year, she contributed a weekly collage that reflected what she was doing and feeling. Now she's illustrating articles - it has been fun, she says, to illustrate stories about filmmaker John Waters, writer David Sedaris and actress Elle Fanning.
Aitken got in touch with the magazine in January, and was quickly brought on board as a contributor, one of more than 50. Her first illustration was for an article called ''Tips from a bacon-loving vegetarian''. There's a strong sense of community among the Rookie team, she says, you always feel as if you are part of it.
There is a monthly theme, which could be anything from ''Power'' to ''On The Road'' to ''Obsession''. Next month's is ''Invention''. The contents are updated three times a day, five days a week. In the current issue, you can read an interview with a teenage activist talking about her role in the Arab Spring, then click on a guide to Halloween candy highlights.
There are regular advice columns, DIY articles, fashion spreads, stories from the frontline of adolescence, and encounters of all kinds with the wider world.
Why Can't I Be You? is a new series about people with enviable jobs. Literally The Best Thing Ever could be a paean to Shakespeare, new school supplies, M.I.A. or Joni Mitchell.
There is no shortage of high-profile admirers, male and female, ready to be part of Rookie.
A video feature, Ask A Grown Man, has well-known figures such as Jon Hamm (Mad Men) and Ira Glass (This American Life) respond to questions from readers on things that matter to them. President Barack Obama is on Rookie's wish-list.
Rookie's editorial director is writer and journalist Anaheed Alani. She and Gevinson decide on each month's theme, which always has a strong visual identity.
Alani says she values the dialogue Rookie can have with readers.
''Being able to hear from them makes our work so much stronger … Every time a post goes up, at least one of our readers says that we must have read their mind, because the article covers exactly what they're going through RIGHT NOW.'' She is sure that having a teenage girl as editor makes this possible.
Alani says they would like draw on a wider, more diverse group. ''We'd like to cover more issues related to race and class; we'd like to run some pieces by transgender contributors. And we'd love to get more contributions from teenage girls in non-Western countries.''
 
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  Thestar.com praises Rookie Yearbook One

Updated January 14, 2013


Tavi Gevinson: Teenage “Rookie” still figuring it out
Published on Wednesday October 24, 2012
Laura Kane

When Tavi Gevinson whirls into Toronto this weekend to promote her new book, her wardrobe choice will be closely watched by her teenage fans. Maybe it will be a pastel vintage dress, a favourite look. Or maybe she’ll arrive in a rosebud tiara, as she did at New York Fashion Week this spring. She might even opt for an outfit crafted by Complex Geometries, her chosen Canadian designer.

One thing’s for sure, it’ll be eccentric and vibrant, the hallmarks of the 16-year-old style maven who embraces being a girl.

“I don’t want to hate being a teen and I don’t want our readers to hate it either,” she says. “I just want to be honest about all the ways it can suck and all the ways it can be great.”

Last fall, Tavi launched Rookie, an online magazine for girls with a signature scrapbook-style layout and a smorgasbord of DIY fashion tips, lists, photo spreads and passionate personal essays on everything from the Golden Girls to coming out as gay.

The first year is collected in Rookie: Yearbook One, which Tavi will be reading and signing at Indigo Yorkdale and Magic Pony on Saturday. She’ll be joined by Toronto Rookie contributors, including 19-year-old photography phenom Petra Collins.

There’s no word yet on whether she’ll be hosting workshops on “How to Bitchface,” instructions about which are included in the book. But she says she’s excited about the visit, even if she won’t be dropping in on fashion week, which ends the day before.

“I still love fashion, but it’s more a part of everything else I do now,” she says. Feminism, pop culture and work — mostly on Rookie — are her priorities these days.

The pint-sized blogger first caught the eye of the fashion world three years ago when she was 13. On her blog, The Style Rookie, she posted photos of elaborate vintage outfits and shared her spunky thoughts on everything from bat mitzvahs to Marc Jacobs.

Kate and Laura Mulleavy, the sisters who founded Rodarte, adored her, inviting her to sit front-row at their show during New York Fashion Week. Pop magazine flew her to Paris to interview John Galliano. In her dyed grey hair and Coke-bottle glasses, fashionistas dubbed her style “granny chic.”

“It was really surreal,” she recalls. “I would get excited if I saw something by Yves St. Laurent in a vintage store. It all felt so far away and I got to experience it in real life.”

Not everyone was pleased by her rapid rise to fame. An annoyed editor of Britain’s Grazia magazine tweeted a photo of her view of a Christian Dior couture show — through a massive bow atop Tavi’s head. Others dismissed her as a fad, another example of fashion’s youth obsession.

That’s just sour grapes, says Tavi.

“A lot of people on the Internet have a problem with a young person doing well,” she says. “I felt like, there were people who were there because of their name, their money or their family, and I didn’t have any of those things.”

In a sea of fashion blogs, TheStyle Rookie — with its gorgeous collages and mood boards — stood out. Tavi’s age gave her writing a rare immediacy, that rushed, breathless quality that comes with being a young person discovering everything for the first time.

Tavi received free clothes from designers and starred in a video for Rodarte’s Target line. Her empire grew quickly beyond the small corner of the Internet occupied by the fashion blogging world.

A long-time lover of glossy magazines, she began to muse about branching out — creating an online version of the teen magazine she would want to read. She put a call out for submissions, and enlisted talented friends, to create Rookie in fall 2011.

“I saw a void and I decided to fill it,” Tavi says. “There wasn’t really anything like Rookie, something for teenage girls that was smart and respected its readers’ intelligence.”

She sees Rookie as fitting in an “in-between” space — not quite mainstream but not overtly feminist. In a post about sexual assault, for example, editors wanted girls to be able to relate, so they steered clear of feminist jargon.

“For a lot of people, a lot of that talk is intimidating,” she says. “I think they shy away from feminism because it starts to seem like a rule book.”

Rookie’s frank tone and feminist lens have earned it comparisons to Sassy, the beloved ’90s teen magazine that rejected diet tips and boy craziness. Sassy founder Jane Pratt was even involved in Rookie’s early stages before exiting to create xoJane.

Tavi discovered feminism through reading about riot grrl, the ’90s punk-feminist movement, and Rookie is dotted with references to that decade’s girl-culture milestones: My So-Called Life, Daria, Ghost World.

But with a sigh, Tavi says she’s sick of seeing articles about Rookie that reduce it to nostalgia.

“When we reference something like My So-Called Life, it’s not because it’s cool and ’90s and alternative,” she says. “It’s because it’s a show our readers might relate to and might help them in some way.”

An impressive cast of comedians and writers have turned to Rookie to tell their stories of growing up. The website’s funny, sweet advice column, “Ask A Grown Man,” has been penned by the likes of Jon Hamm and Paul Rudd.

Tavi selects a monthly theme, such as “Girl Gang,” “Up All Night,” “Exploration,” and updates it three times a day with new content. Anaheed Alani, the magazine’s 42-year-old story editor, oversees the updates, but says teenage Tavi is the boss.

“My rule has always been that I won’t work for anyone who isn’t smarter than me. Tavi totally qualifies,” she says.

Alani joined Tavi on the Rookie Road Trip, a cross-country tour of 16 cities this summer, where hundreds of like-minded teenage girls came together to eat cupcakes and talk fashion, feminism and music.

“These girls, in their daily lives, hadn’t found other girls like them … Because of the Internet, they’re able to create this private community through their bedrooms,” she says.

Tavi still updates The Style Rookie, but she’s shed the thrift-store layers, opting instead for simple feminine dresses and a heavy blond fringe. Sometimes, Tavi reads her old blog posts, just to indulge in the sweet embarrassment of adolescence.

“It’s just the way you grow up and you get really resentful of whoever you used to be. Because I put all of it on the Internet, I’m able to dwell on it.”

She still doesn’t fancy herself a revolutionary: She’s just a girl, inside her bedroom, creating a world out of things she loves. Rookie is like a teenage girl’s bedroom turned into pixels and code, an imperfect collage of adolescent experience.

Looking forward, Gevinson isn’t sure what’s next. She has two years left in high school, in Oak Park, Ill., and it’s almost frightening to imagine what she’ll be capable of without distractions like homework and gym class.

She sees herself as a writer and editor, but after a recent foray into acting for an as-yet untitled movie directed by Nicole Holofcener, she hopes to act more in the future — even musing about a move to L.A.

“I try not to think about the future too much because it freaks me out,” she says, laughing. “I plan on just moving to the woods and reading books all the time once I turn 20, anyways.”
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Publishers Weekly on Rookie Yearbook One- "It’s a lucky teen who receives this book as a gift"

Updated January 14, 2013


Rookie Yearbook One
Edited by Tavi Gevinson. Drawn & Quarterly,$29.95 paper (352p) ISBN 978-1-77046-112-3

Sixteen-year-old fashion blogger Gevinson founded the online magazine Rookie in 2011. This impeccably designed book compiles essays, photographs, and interviews that appeared in Rookie during its first year, covering dating, music, fashion, sexuality, pop culture—basically, life. High-profile contributors and interviewees include Miranda July, Zooey Deschanel, John Waters, and Joss Whedon. Many books for teenagers encourage independence and self-awareness, but few do so with this much honesty, humor, and style, whether offering tips on thrift-store best practices, getting out of a bad romance, or making killer “bitchfaces” (“for reacting to varying levels of stupidity”). It’s a lucky teen who receives this book as a gift, and a smart one who picks it up for herself. Ages 12–up. (Sept.)
 
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  Tavi Gevinson fans tell the Harvard Independent, "Feminism is still necessary"

Updated January 14, 2013


Glitter and Girl-Power
Strong women do it themselves.
October 22, 2012
by Terilyn Chen

Started by 16-year-old Tavi Gevinson, Rookie is an online magazine for teenage girls that covers music, DIY, style, pop culture, feminism and art, among other things. Launched in September 2011, Rookie has gained a cult following all over the world. This past summer, Gevinson and others on the Rookie staff traveled across the country for the Rookie Road Trip, a tour that featured Rookie reader meet-ups complete with ice cream, flower crowns, poetry readings, and Rookie prom in cities like Brooklyn, Ann Harbor, Chicago, Omaha, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Though the trip’s actual meet-ups were accepted with great enthusiasm, disappointed Rookie readers in cities skipped by the tour organized their own meet-ups.
One of the cities neglected by the tour was Boston, and this Saturday, October 13, Lesley College freshman Nishat Khan and Brandeis alum Hanna Negami held a Rookie meet-up for fans in the Boston area. On the Facebook-event page that advertised the event, Boston-area Rookies were told to expect “witchcraft, flower crowns, girl power, zine-making, patriarchy-smashing, Rookie playlists, snacks, friend crushes, [and] DIY jacket-embellishing.”
The event was held on the first floor of the Democracy Center, a volunteer-run space on Mt. Auburn St., after Facebook responses to the event ruled a small restaurant meet-up insufficient. A heart-shaped tin placed at the entrance of the center collected donations to help pay for the space, which, according to Negami, would require a $75-$100 donation.
The space in the Democracy Center gave off a casual vibe; humble wooden floors and walls lightened the mood, as did the songs playing in one of the rooms. A colorful Rookie banner was visible as visitors walked in, and Dum-Dum lollipops were plentiful. Girls with pink and blue hair, dressed in vintage skirts and quirky jewelry, laughed while gluing glitter all over flowers and headbands, talking about Adele as they made and shared zines.
According to Khan, the goal of the event was “just to meet other people in the area who read [Rookie]. I also just moved to Boston from Luxembourg, so I wanted to meet people.” Khan continued, “I went to a private school: diverse in the sense that people came from different places, but everyone was rich. . . . They didn’t come from backgrounds where they got into simple things like crafts or music that isn’t mainstream.” Several of the other girls at the event also shared the desire to connect with like-minded readers, especially those who had not found a community for themselves in their schools.
Attendees of the actual Rookie Road Trip and the unofficial reader-initiated meet-ups have something other than interest in DIY in common: participants share a strong interest in and knowledge of feminism. An attendee of the Boston meet-up, Margaret Gill, a high school freshman at a Concord, MA high school, admitted that while she has “a really awesome group of friends, there’s not really anyone else at school [interested in feminism.]” As she gave her reply, she and her friend from school, also at the meet-up, exchanged a look, and the two suggested that they start a feminism club at school.
When asked about the importance of feminism, Negami replied, “For me it’s survival. It’s about opposing patriarchy. It’s [patriarchy] that’s so pervasive. It’s dangerous for women, from the little things to extreme violence.” She explained that finding feminism’s presence in college is difficult too. “It’s hard to find other feminists at school when so much of college life is frats or sororities or the opposite of feminist culture,” Negami said. “I mean, frats perpetuate rape culture.” Deidre Coughlin, another attendee of the meet-up, echoed Negami’s comments on the importance of feminism: “I think it’s just about women’s equality. People think equality exists, but there’s a lot left to do. Feminism is still necessary.”
When asked what advice she would give to others trying to organize events like this, Negami said to “find community spaces in their cities. The way we did it was just on Facebook. Put yourself out there.”
Terilyn Chen ’16 (terilynchen@college.harvard.edu) has, since attending the Rookie meet-up, lavished her dorm room with glitter paraphernalia.
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Fashion Magazine calls Rookie Yearbook One "one of the most beautiful books ever"

Updated January 14, 2013


Tavi to Toronto! The 16-year-old Rookie Magazine editor-in-chief will be in town and everyone’s invited
BY MEREDITH GILLIES
OCTOBER 12TH, 2012

Okay, don’t freak out. Okay, maybe do, because if you’re as big of a fan of Tavi Gevinson as we are, this is day making. The 16-year-old blogger turned editor-in-chief of Rookie Mag, will be in Toronto on October 27 to read from Rookie Yearbook One.

Rookie celebrated its first year on the Internet by creating Rookie Yearbook One (which may be one of the most beautiful books ever) and Tavi will be reading passages from it at the Indigo at Yorkdale Mall at 2pm–hopefully she teaches how to bitch face like she did with Jimmy Fallon. She’ll hop over to Magic Pony at 7pm, where there will be more book signings and dancing.

This seems like a pretty good opportunity for Rookie fans that may be a little older than the target demographic to relive their high school days (good or bad) and to see the wunderkind at work (and making us all feel old and unaccomplished).

Fingers crossed that Rookie contributors like Toronto based photographer, Petra Collins, and writer, Anna Fitzpatrick, make appearances as well. See you in line, Toronto rookies!
 
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  The Horn Book on Rookie Yearbook One- "what more could any burgeoning fashion icon want?"

Updated January 14, 2013


Rookie Yearbook One
OCTOBER 12, 2012
BY ARIEL ROSEN

I’ve been a steadfast follower of blogger Tavi Gevinson and her fashion/feminist escapades for years now, so perhaps I am a biased reader, but I absolutely loved Rookie Yearbook One (Drawn & Quarterly, September 2012), a massive compilation of all of Rookie Mag‘s brightest moments.
Rookie Magazine, an online magazine aimed at teenage girls, was created to address the lack of teen magazines that “respect reader’s intelligence,” as Tavi writes in the introduction. Rookie attracts more than teenagers though; Tavi and the rest of the Rookie Mag board snag interviews and essays from Joss Whedon, Lena Dunham, Miranda July, Aubrey Plaza, David Sedaris, Dan Savage, and Zooey Deschanel, among others.
Rookie Yearbook One is organized by the online magazine’s monthly themes such as secrets, transformation, and exploration. Fresh, unapologetic articles and personal stories cover movies, music, style, relationships, drugs, and general interest (for example, the “Literally the Best Thing Ever” series of articles, featuring deep-sea creatures and outer space). Two of my favorite pieces were “How to Not Care What Other People Think of You,” and “How to Approach the Person You Like Without Throwing Up,” both rife with advice that would have made my high school days easier. Fashion photo shoots and clips of style icons, movie characters, and music moguls mix with wallpaper flowers, lace, and glitter in the collage-style design. Yearbook photos, signatures, and notes fill the inside covers. And this compilation includes stickers, a plastic record of Rookie tunes, and a paper crown—what more could any burgeoning fashion icon want?
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Rookie calls The Book About Moomin, Mymble and Little My "just SO GOOD-LOOKING"

Updated January 14, 2013


All Work and Lots of Play
Books and comics that are fun, funny, or otherwise delightful.
10/11/2012
Tavi Gevinison

The Book About Moomin, Mymble and Little My
Tove Jansson
1952, Ernest Benn Limited
EVERY Moomin book is good, but Moomin, Mymble and Little My has paper cut-outs, so I chose this one to recommend. It is a Finnish picture book from 1952 about these little hippo-looking trolls who live in a tall house with ghosts and a brat named Little My, to whom I was constantly compared as a 50% Scandanavian child with older sisters. The COLORS are such a delight, and the handwritten text gets all topsy-turvy, and it’s just SO GOOD-LOOKING. It is the Channing Tatum of Finnish children’s books, and I’m sure Tove Jansson would be psyched to hear it. I also know it’s for children, but it’s so lovingly written and illustrated that I end up letting myself get lost in it each time without even a pinch of irony. —Tavi
 

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  Tavi Gevinson in Lucky- quirk embracing and hurdle tackling

Updated January 14, 2013


Rookie's Tavi Gevinson on Her New Book, Love of Beyonce and the Designer She'd Wear for the Rest of Her Life
Oh, and she also has an unusual pick for her favorite Disney princess.
12:30 PM, OCTOBER 2 2012
BY Stephanie Sporn

We always hear that middle school is about finding yourself and running with your first taste of freedom and self-expression. For me, sixth grade meant showing off my moves to the “Cha Cha Slide,” meeting my friends to sneak into PG-13 movies and most commonly gushing to my best friends about my crushes on Seth Cohen and Stephen Colletti (watch out LC!) Sure fashion interested me, I had matching shoes for all my school polos, but I spent more computer time playing on Icy Tower and AIM rather than fashion blogs.

For eleven-year-old Chicago-native, Tavi Gevinson, now sixteen, reaching double digits meant soaking in the world of fashion surrounding her and using a blog, The Style Rookie, to express her thoughts on growing up, fashion and what happens when the two intertwine. Initially intending to be something personally gratifying, her blog became a viral phenomenon when she was just thirteen. It wasn't long before she caught the attention of Karl Lagerfeld and Karlie Kloss and sat in the coveted front row amongst the fashion elite. Everyone from teenage girls to designers and fashion editors adored Tavi for her raw and lovable personality. Unlike most middle schoolers whose insecurities pique as they become more aware of how others perceive them, Tavi remained no one but herself.

Tavi’s admiration for vintage clothing set her apart from other students. Soon John Galliano flew her out to attend the Dior Haute Couture show, and she even got her own column in Harper's Bazaar, proving just how vast her fashion knowledge truly is. Believing there to be a hole for teenage girls in terms of age-appropriate media free of condescension, Tavi, at fifteen, launched Rookie Magazine. The site features whimsical yet practical columns like “Live through this,” which gives readers personal insight on coping with obstacles like getting rejected from your dream college. In “Dear diary,” Rookie writers open up and share their week’s experiences. A personal favorite is “Literally the best thing ever,” where the writers post about their favorite pop culture obsessions which might include anything from Lisa Frank school supplies to Toddlers & Tiaras. The first print edition, Rookie Yearbook One, was recently released, and it has received major praise. With a heavy artistic influence, Rookie is deeper than Seventeen and less self-consciously cool than Nylon which leaves us at Lucky wishing we had it to turn to when we were teenagers.

We love how Tavi embraces her quirks and tackles the hurdles of awkward adolescence with style and sincerity. Tavi’s charm is her authenticity, and Lucky believes that’s a message girls of all ages can benefit from. Read on to hear straight from Tavi herself:
This is Rookie's first time in print. Do you plan on doing this book yearly, or maybe even more frequently?
Yearly for sure! We haven't thought beyond that for now, though.

Being a teenage girl is real, real hard. (We're old, and we still remember!) Do you think, looking back over the past year, that you've made it easier for some of your peers through publishing Rookie?
Looking at feedback and remembering what it was like to meet readers at various Rookie events, I would say our whole staff and community have. I'm lucky that I get to set the tone each month and oversee everything, but what seriously makes Rookie special is the support among our contributors and readers. Without it, it would be much harder to share the experiences and opinions that are least talked about elsewhere but which end up helping girls the most.

What was it like to be on Jimmy Fallon's show? “Bitchface” is becoming somewhat of an internet meme.
I was very nervous but he was so delightful that I forgot what was going on, and before I knew it, it was over! And I have to point out that I was not first to coin the “bitchface” phrase, though I am proudly credited for the Rookie how-to.

Because this is Lucky: Where do you like to shop? The mall, online, or at boutiques?
Etsy, mostly. Lately I haven't had the patience for the clothing section of thrift shops (and I've learned that no matter how many times I vow to, I will never hem anything, ever) so the pulp fiction novels and records are now my first stop at any secondhand shop.

Do you have any career/life regrets thus far? Anything you would do differently?
I mean, yeah, my face is in an almost constant state of cringing just from remembering things I blurted out earlier that day, but generally I don't have many huge regrets, and when I think back to those I do have, I just can't imagine that I would've known or thought to handle whatever situation differently then, so I don't get too down on myself as long as I feel I've learned something.

You've collaborated with some pretty major people: Jon Hamm, Amy Poehler, Lena Dunham. Who's the one star you'd absolutely love to work with—but haven't yet, (besides President Obama)?
I have a long wish list, but Beyonce is basically ruling the world and my soul right now. I think I watch her "Love on Top" VMAs performance and baby bump reveal (and Jay-Z's reaction) weekly to maintain my faith in humanity.

Say you hadn't decided to start a blog that launched a lifestyle site, book etc. What would you be doing right this second if none of "this" had happened to you?
It's very hard to imagine since my blog was so much a part of how my taste developed in basically everything. I would probably be more involved in extracurriculars at my school like the theater department and choir. It's very hard to say though.

You've sang for several projects in the past. Any plans to pursue a music career/record an album?
No plans! I just like making music with my friends and being creative in different ways.

You signed on to Nicole Holofcener's upcoming movie. What made you want to be a part of it? And do you see your future as evolving in a more behind-the-scenes direction, or as a public figure, or both?
I was very much drawn to the script for the portrayal of female friendships and mother-daughter relationships and the sense of humor, which is sort of subtle and a little awkward and basically everything I like. My character Chloe was endearing to me as well, but I could write a whole essay about that. I think if I do more acting, I'd like to evolve the same way a more behind-the-scenes person would. That was the fun part of shooting—crafting a story, working with and learning from such talented people.

Which Disney princess do you most identify with? No, really.
Probably Lucifer the cat from Cinderella, who is a princess in his own right. I also really love Belle.

If you could pick one designer to wear for the rest of your life, who would it be and why?
Probably Creatures of the Wind. Normally I like feeling like a different person with every outfit but I feel very much myself in their designs. And there's a wide enough range of minimalist and maximalist that it would last me through every mood.

What's the biggest misperception people have about you?
That I am 12 and have gray hair.

You're already a very successful entrepreneur. Is college definitely in your plans? You've mentioned school in California. Have you thought anymore about where you want go or what your want to study?
I haven't looked at specific schools yet but I know I'd like a liberal arts education and probably to design my own major or something that gives me a lot of freedom. I'm just excited to read lots and get to really delve into classes I truly care about and just learn and absorb everything.
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Chicago Business- hardly sick of Tavi Gevinson

Updated January 14, 2013


Teen fashion blogger Tavi Gevinson handles stardom with style
By BRIGID SWEENEY
September 21, 2012

I wanted to be tired of Tavi Gevinson.
As just about everyone who follows fashion (along with an increasing number of people who don't) knows, she's the 16-year-old who began the massively popular Style Rookie fashion blog from her Oak Park bedroom in 2008. Invitations to attend Paris couture shows and a New Yorker profile quickly followed.
With all this white-hot attention, and given her past penchant for posting unsmiling photos of herself on Style Rookie, I wondered if she might be an angsty teen who took herself too seriously.
But after attending Ms. Gevinson's book reading in Oak Park last night, I can definitively say: She's pretty delightful.
Recently, Ms. Gevinson has moved away from fashion blogging into online magazine editing, putting together a site called Rookie that tackles issues from high school drama to Shakespeare. The site hit 1 million pageviews within six days of its launch last fall.
Two weeks ago, she released a book, "Rookie Yearbook One," a collection of the magazine's best pieces from its first year. It contains many articles written by teens and twentysomething writers, but also includes interviews with and pieces by people ranging from actresses Zooey Deschanel and Lena Dunham to humorist David Sedaris and sex columnist Dan Savage.

Last night, she read an ode to the television show "Freaks and Geeks," and three fellow contributors followed up with essays ranging from grieving the death of a close friend to the movie career of the guy who sings "Holly Jolly Christmas," aka Burl Ives.
Dressed demurely in a marigold-colored blouse buttoned up all the way, with black-framed glasses and sideswept blond hair, Ms. Gevinson answered questions from the 150-person crowd. (Her camp declined an interview, citing school work.)
"I don't sleep, I don't procrastinate and I periodically schedule time to listen to Taylor Swift," she said when asked how she accomplishes everything without losing her mind.
Most of her answers were similarly self-effacing, thoughtful and funny.
Despite her time mingling with fashion designers and Vogue editors, she told one teenage interlocutor that she buys most of her clothes from the vintage section of Etsy.com and loves the Salvation Army on Roosevelt Road in Oak Park.
Regarding "Ask a Grown Man," a popular Rookie feature in which well-known men including actor Jon Hamm and movie producer Judd Apatow answer reader questions about relationships, she said, "We're campaigning on Twitter to get Obama to do one, because that should obviously be his top priority right now."
The reading ended a 16-city book tour and a whirlwind summer for Ms. Gevinson.
Going forward, she'll continue to juggle monthly online issues of Rookie while balancing her junior year school load.
Another challenge: figuring out how to make Rookie profitable.
For a time last year, Ms. Gevinson was in talks with Jane Pratt, founder of iconic magazines Sassy and Jane, to launch the venture with backing from Say Media.
But Ms. Gevinson and her father, who acts as her business manager, pulled out at the last minute in order to retain creative control.
According to a recent Chicago Magazine profile, the Gevinsons have hired New York Media, which also sells ads for New York magazine. But Rookie's editorial director, Anaheed Alani, a former Chicago Reader editor and wife of NPR's Ira Glass, told Chicago Magazine, "We say 'no' to a lot of ads, which means we are still broke.”
 
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  Tavi Gevinson's blog listed in Washington Square News' top five

Updated January 14, 2013


Top five blogs to satisfy sartorial cravings
Posted on October 3, 2012 by Kaitlin Christy

www.thestylerookie.com
Tavi Gevinson’s blog, The Style Rookie, was the inspiration for Rookie Mag, a magazine for youths interested in style, culture, music, movies and creativity. Gevinson’s blog features a wide array of artistry, modernizing styles from old movies. It is one of the most original blogs out there and has garnered a huge following and is now partnered with Urban Outfitters for the Rookie Road Trip. Encouraging everyone to be unique, this blog gives you everything you need to embrace your own personal style and give you insight into a different fashion perspective.
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The Hollywood Reporter calls Tavi Gevinson "levelheaded, unfailingly articulate"

Updated January 14, 2013


Rookie's Tavi Gevinson Talks 'Bitchface,' James Franco Encounter (Video)
by Erin Carlson
9/22/2012
The wunderkind blogger celebrated the first-anniversary of her buzzy website for teens with a school dance-themed party in New York.

Tavi Gevinson is only 16 years old, and she's already a household name in the fashion world: when she was 11, she created a blog, "Style Rookie," that captured the attention of designers, editors and industry insiders in addition to a cult audience of young readers who obsessively followed the Chicago-area native's sophisticated commentary and quirky-cool wardrobe updates.

Gevinson soon received invitations to New York Fashion Week, appeared on artsy magazine covers (Pop, L'Officiel) and struck up a friendship with Kate and Laura Mulleavy, aka the Rodarte sisters. (She helped promote and inspire their 2009 collection for Target. In an interview with Style.com, the avante-garde duo described Gevinson, then 13, as "a mix between J.D. Salinger, Dorothy Parker and Cindy Sherman.")
Gevinson attended the Mulleavys' Spring 2013 runway show earlier this month and also attended a downtown bash for the hipster clothing emporium Opening Ceremony. She appeared on Jimmy Fallon's late-night show, where she effortlessly engaged in banter with the host (even showing him her patented "bitchface").
STORY: UTA Signs Web Publishing Phenom Tavi Gevinson
The main reason she in New York, however, was to celebrate the one-year anniversary of Rookie Magazine, her irreverent website geared toward young women that spans the subjects of fashion, pop culture and true-life confessionals. Gevinson is Rookie's founder-editor, and her imprint is everywhere, from a DIY tutorial on "How to Turn Your Tights Into Knee Socks" to an ode to the Bard called "Literally the Best Thing Ever: Shakespeare." Her celebrity no doubt helped lure the likes of Jon Hamm and Paul Rudd to participate in the popular video feature "Ask a Grown Man." (Her next target: President Obama, the subject of a Twitter campaign to recruit the commander-in-chief as the next famous male to answer readers' questions.)
At a school dance-themed party at the Ace Hotel on Sept. 12, Gevinson also feted the release of her first book, Rookie Yearbook One, a collection of photos and essays written by Rookie writers and celeb scribes including Miranda July. Gevinson included her amusing article on "How to Bitchface," or recreate her stone-faced expression (it could also be dubbed, "Fashionface").
"It's kind of just a face I make a lot," she said in an interview with THR, laughing while explaining that the site's editorial director came up with the idea because of "my, like, constantly looking irritated when I'm like talking about my day or whatever."
Before Rookie's launch in September 2011, Gevinson stipulated that writers would post stories during three key times of the day (including after dinner, prime Facebook-stalking time) and would avoid talking down or preaching to readers.
"Probably my favorite thing ever was my friend's little brother recently went to his first school dance, had his first kiss, and his family later told me that he was telling them about the girl and he said, 'She looks like she reads Rookie.' And that was like a good thing," she said. "And his other guy friends, they're like, 12, were like, 'Yeah, yeah, she had like shiny red shoes!' And It just made me happy that being a girl who reads Rookie was like an attractive quality to these young men."
Despite her high profile, the levelheaded, unfailingly articulate Gevinson seems to make an easy transition between her double lives as student (she lives at home with her parents in Oak Park, Illinois) and media darling (who was also just cast in her first feature film role in writer-director Nicole Holofcener's untitled new film at Fox Searchlight).
She did admit to being nervous before her Fallon sitdown, and when we put her on the spot to give her most memorable celebrity encounter, she conceded to geeking out somewhat during an encounter with James Franco.
"I did meet James Franco once and I said I was a big fan of Freaks and Geeks and he was like, 'So are you a freak or a geek?' And I was like, 'I'm kind of both' and probably went into my life story, which he probably didn't care about, and he was like, 'Yeah I feel like I'm both too sometimes.'"
 
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  Boston University's The Quad calls Rookie Yearbook One a "refuge for teen girls everywhere"

Updated January 14, 2013


Tavi Gevinson: A Bastion Of Hope In The Fashion World
By Sharon Weissburg
Sep 28th, 2012

As a fashion writer, I have the privilege of writing about fun and beautiful things every week. I love the endless possibilities of fashion, and I stand behind the opinion that personal style is an important, beautiful, and relevant part of one’s identity. Sometimes, though, the fashion world bums me out with its various evils–sweatshop work, enforcement of body-hate, racism, excess, general misogyny, and, as I recently wrote about, sexual assault, among many other sins–and once in a while, I get truly disillusioned.

What saves me from Bummersville, USA, though, is when I see people in the fashion world who do what they do not only with panache but also with kindness, empathy, and soul. One person who does this is the sixteen year old wunderkind Tavi Gevinson. Starting off in the blogging world at the tender age of 12 back in 2008 with her blog The Style Rookie and gaining great acclaim for her eccentric style and wry, precocious voice, Tavi has since attended multiple fashion weeks (even sitting next to Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour at one show), been the face of several ad campaigns, and become a voice for young girls everywhere. She’s got her hands in a lot of pies: starring in her first film, recording music , giving TED Talks, and touring all across the nation.

Her crowning accomplishment, however, has been the creation of Rookie Magazine, an online magazine written exclusively for teenage girls that covers every topic a girl could wish for– not just fashion, but also music, movies, love, beauty, art, literature…even big life stuff like adjusting to adulthood and decisions about drugs, alcohol, and sex. Segments like “Ask a Grown Man” with celebs like Jon Hamm and Danny Pudi and “Damn Girl Ya Look Good” enforce good stuff like positive body image and girl power while remaining down-to-earth, acknowledging and embracing the awkward parts of life as a young girl with humor and empathy. The site does not shy away from fun either, providing tutorials and inspirational collages for everything from flower crowns to room decoration to mix tapes to killer care-package assembly. It is a refuge for teen girls everywhere, saying exactly what girls need to hear so much more so than any other “teen” magazine ever could–because it’s made by teenage girls, for teenage girls.

Why is Tavi important, then, for the adult set and for the fashion world in general?

I believe that Tavi represents a level of honesty and creativity that the fashion world has been sorely missing in recent years. Her unique personal style, candidness about her own youth and inexperience, and unwillingness to deal with any of the fashion world’s misogynist, body-shaming crap are more than admirable. They’re revolutionary, and the thing is, Tavi is only sixteen. There is so much more to come from her and the generation of thoughtful, savvy young women she influences in the fashion world and beyond.
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Montreal Gazette says Rookie Yearbook One "gives kids credit for brains"

Updated January 14, 2013


For Kids: Tavi takes her smart web prose to print
By Bernie Goedhart, THE GAZETTE
September 28, 2012

When I was a teenager, many decades ago, Seventeen Magazine was the go-to publication. That, and fan magazines like 16 or Tiger Beat. They contained plenty of photos and what now looks like superficial fluff but, other than letters to the editor, I don’t remember there being much content that was actually written by teenagers. I think only adults edited those publications.

Not so with Rookie: Yearbook One.

Oh, it has its share of adult involvement. But the single most influential voice behind this hefty paperback volume is definitely a teenager’s. An unusually resourceful and productive teenager, but a teenager all the same.

Tavi Gevinson, 16, who lives in Oak Park, Ill., began making a name for herself in 2008, when she was just 11 years old and started a personal blog called Style Rookie. Clearly, it spoke to other young fashionistas, because within two years it was averaging many thousands of hits a day. Famous designers took note and began inviting Gevinson to their fashion shows and parties. Her interests have grown beyond fashion into culture and feminism since then; last year she launched Rookie, a website for adolescent girls where they can share “a bunch of writing and art we like and believe in.” Turns out that makes for quite an eclectic mix, consisting of monthly themed content (e.g. Beginnings, Secrets, Home, Obsession, Power) that includes memoirish material, music lists, style and fashion photos, real-people profiles and revealing interviews with such luminaries as filmmaker John Waters, graphic novelist Daniel Clowes and author/humourist David Sedaris. Clearly not just fluff stuff.

Team Rookie has built up a loyal following online and now takes the best of that material and presents it in book form, published by Montreal’s own Drawn & Quarterly. Generously illustrated, it comes with such bonuses as a stickers page, pop-out crown and bright red audio flexi-disc featuring the Dum Dum Girls.

Rookie — both in print and online at www.rookiemag.com — is the voice of smart, creative young girls on their way to becoming confident, unique young women. It celebrates the individual. It applauds standing out from the crowd, and it deals with issues that crop up in teenage lives: everything from dating, unrequited love, body image, drug use, eating disorders, sexual harassment, alcohol, masturbation, fashion, music, film and literature. It does so without talking down to young people and sometimes in ways that could make parents squirm. But it gives kids credit for brains and, as such, is credible with its target audience. And fun. And thought-provoking. Wish I’d had a copy during my high school years.

Ages 13 and up

Rookie: Yearbook One, Edited by Tavi Gevinson, Drawn & Quarterly, 352 pages, $29.95

© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette
 
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  Newsweek posts video of "style icon," Tavi Gevinson

Updated January 14, 2013


Tavi Gevinson (16-year-old style icon, editor-in-chief of Rookie Mag, and creator of the viral ‘Ask a Grown Man’ series) steps in front of the webcam to answer questions from readers, including whether ‘The Virgin Suicides’ offers a good relationship model (um, not really).
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ModCloth calls Rookie Yearbook One, "smart, stylish, and bitingly sincere"

Updated January 14, 2013


Rookie Yearbook One

Amidst all the glossy, commercialized interpretations of teenagehood, Rookie, the smart, stylish, and bitingly sincere online mag created for and by the young at heart, offers girl-to-girl realness with a sassy smile. To commemorate their first year of work, the Rookie team, lead by America’s It teen, Tavi Gevinson, has produced this irresistibly cool compilation. Within its lavishly decorated pages, contributors dish on social frustrations and first kisses, celebrities share secrets and insecurities, and fearless femmes confront tough issues with grace and uncompromised honesty. Throw in dreamy collages, fun how-tos, vibrant sticker pages, lush fashion spreads, and a tear-out 7-inch of Rookie theme songs, and you’ve got enough girl power to inspire you all year ‘round.
 
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  The Chicago Maroon calls Tavi Gevinson a "child prodigy of an editor"

Updated January 14, 2013


Rookie hits home run for young, fashionable feminists
The popular online magazine, started by teen prodigy Tavi Gevinson, celebrates its first anniversary.

by Jordan Larson - Oct 5, 2012 2:10 am

I stumbled upon Rookie’s website about a year ago, just as it was getting started. An online magazine dedicated to giving teenage girls a little more to work with than beauty tips and exercise routines, Rookie promised to be “a magazine for teenage girls that respected its readers’ intelligence.” I remember thinking it was an intriguing project and wishing I were a few years younger so I could better enjoy it (or at least feel less guilty about doing so). I had completely missed the point.
Sure, it can get annoying having my Tumblr dash flooded with post after reblogged post about the Rookie crowns people have made (one of the magazine’s signature styles and the product of one of its more popular DIY features). Not to mention that the cutesy aesthetic—plenty of glitter, floral patterns, and anything found in The Virgin Suicides—sometimes grates on my nerves. Yet even given the sometimes childish, cloying designs, Rookie is more than the sum of its eclectic parts, and Tavi Gevinson, the magazine’s child prodigy of an editor, is after something bigger.
There are a lot of things Rookie does well. The very best thing it does is show teenage girls (and all its readers, really) that it’s fine to be feminine, that it does not exclude you from being a feminist, and most importantly, that it does not exclude you from being a person that is taken seriously. This single solid point is what makes Rookie so notable and so novel, and the release of Rookie Yearbook One is a big step in the magazine’s impact.
The September release of the Rookie Yearbook marks the magazine’s one-year anniversary, and its staff has pulled out all the stops. A huge, colorful book of illustrations and designs, the Yearbook is a collection of the best features, interviews, and photoshoots from the past year, supplemented with stickers, a 7-inch flexidisc, and other ephemera. Arranged by month, the themed spreads contain everything from doodled heart decorations and cut-out tiaras to interviews with directors John Waters and Joss Whedon, articles about deep-sea creatures, and photo spreads of pastel proms. There are probably a few good reasons the Yearbook was made, not least of which is that it’s a good way to snare new readers and catch you up on all the great stuff all the cool girls have been reading and you’ve been missing out on.
Well, that tactic kinda worked on me. I didn’t realize I was a Rookie fan until I actually held the 352-page behemoth in my hands. The wide range of content Rookie puts out is made even more apparent by transferring its web presence into print, where seemingly disparate elements are constantly rubbing elbows. Even though the Yearbook contains a fraction of the content Rookie published this past year (the site posts new content three times a day, five days a week), the single book serves as a veritable bible to those it interests, the most comprehensive girl guide created of late.
Weaving through this plethora of content is the usual feminist and body-affirming fare; there are articles on the best late night junk food to consume (“best” being the most delicious, not necessarily the most healthy), tips on masturbation, and, my personal favorite, how to bitchface (it’s harder than it looks). While these inclusions are incredibly necessary, the sort of feminism employed by Tavi & Co. tends to skew in certain directions. Given Tavi’s background in fashion blogging, much of the empowerment in the Yearbook happens through fashion (especially telling is her article “How to Not Care What Other People Think of You,” which is divided into three components: “wearing what you want,” “liking your body/face,” and “liking your brain/personality/soul/that stuff”).
Given this variety, it seems hard to believe that there could be some critical things missing. Unfortunately, this is the case. A very particular aesthetic dominates the project, snaring in the same type of reader: someone who likes foreign films, sassy dresses, and uses Instagram all the time. While I love it for what it does, I wish there could be more room for other aesthetics, other tastes, and other people. What if I don’t like vintage stores, having séances, or wearing Halloween costumes to school? Am I still the reader Rookie wants, the reader that’s still deserving of smart, empowering content? The Yearbook seems a little unsure.
Whether or not you can really enjoy Rookie’s particular brand of cutesy girl power, its ultimate aim (to provide teen girls with a smart, feminist counterpoint to teen mags like Seventeen and Teen Vogue) is pretty hard to argue with. This conversation pertains to all of us, and the very existence of Rookie should be fascinating to everyone. It’s only one step and one development, but it’s a necessary, if imperfect, one. I only hope that its existence can lead to other projects, that one day it won’t be the only place to go for an interview with David Sedaris, tips on how to make a zine, and other content that makes teenage girls feel like a little more than walking Barbie dolls.



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HelloGiggles reviews Rookie Yearbook One, a "special treat"

Updated January 14, 2013


ITEM OF THE DAY: “ROOKIE YEARBOOK ONE” BY TAVI GEVINSON
by Chrissa Hardy

I’m honored to share this special treat with you today. The tiny yet commanding force that is Tavi Gevinson has assembled an amazing team of writers, photographers and illustrators in the creation of, “Rookie Yearbook One.” To say that this book is the essential companion to navigating your teen years, is an understatement. I’m almost thirty years old and to me, this book is as much an endless source of fun as it is a collection of instructions on how to survive our ever-changing world.

Tavi, Editor-in-Chief of Rookiemag.com, pulled the best pieces and content from the site during its school year, September 2011 to May 2012 and featured it in this book. The book includes everything from: high school tales from our very own “adorkable” Zooey, Jack Black, Joss Whedon and others, to Halloween hi-jinks, to tips on “How to Be a Happy Homebody” to… everything. Why am I even trying to list the topics that are covered when the book covers basically everything? Well, not EVERYTHING. But it covers a wide range of topics.

My favorite section, and apparently Jimmy Fallon’s too, is the photo tutorial on “How to Bitchface.” Tavi teaches you how to showcase your passive aggression with specific facial expressions. In her interview with Jimmy Fallon, she shares her struggles with “chronic bitchface” and talks about how her teachers are frequently asking if she’s okay. To which she brilliantly replies “I’m okay, it’s just my face.” Boom. I suffer from this too, Tavi. Friends and acquaintances have always asked why I’m upset or if there’s anything wrong, because apparently I “always look pissed off.” Tavi, I thank you for my newly found freedom to say to the world, “I’m fine, not pissed, this is just my face.”

I hope to one day replace my obsolete encyclopedia collection with “Rookie Yearbook One” – “Rookie Yearbook One Hundred”

Begin your collection by picking up a copy of “Rookie Yearbook One” today.
 
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  The Chicago Tribune reviews Tavi Gevinson's brilliant accomplishments

Updated January 14, 2013


Teen fashion maven Tavi Gevinson is 16 going on 30
With a new book to show for a summer of work and reflection, Oak Park high schooler ponders what's next

Christopher Borrelli
4:54 p.m. CDT, September 18, 2012

Tavi Gevinson, for whom we will all work one day, was walking home from school, books pressed to her chest, skirt swishing. It was a portrait of suburban idyll, the first day of class at Oak Park and River Forest High School. And yet, during the first two class periods, she held back tears, she said. She didn't have friends in those classes and couldn't help thinking she had a great summer and now, with the start of her junior year, it was gone.

Plus, in a way, she hadn't had a summer: She spent June in the library compiling "Rookie: Yearbook One," her first book; then edited it; then Rookie, her online magazine for teenage girls, hit its creative stride, drawing hundreds of thousands of readers a month. She also acted in her first feature film and went on an Urban Outfitters-sponsored, 16-city road trip with Rookie staff, meeting the community of independent-minded teenage girls who've come to regard the 16-year-old as a droll, discerning impresario of teendom.

More important, it was the summer that Gevinson began to transition from novelty to established voice — from being an unnervingly precious middle-school fashion blogger, profiled by the New Yorker at 14 and feted by the fashion industry at 12 (so self-possessed that she turned down "The Oprah Winfrey Show"), to being an unnervingly incisive and poised media brand with staying power. (Thursday at 7 p.m., she will discuss the "Rookie: Yearbook One," released this month, at Unity Temple in Oak Park.)

CHRISTOPHER BORRELLI

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And now, transformative summer kaput, she had English again.

Her teacher asked students to stand and say something about themselves. Gevinson, joking, said she was disappointed her required summer reading, "Montana 1948," was unaffiliated with Hannah Montana. But then another student introduced himself by saying something quasi-shocking/thoughtless and the exercise curdled. She became glum. She remembers thinking: "After a summer of being around people who are sarcastic but positive and not going out of their way to be provocative … really? We are really doing this? It's so immature."

Then again, Gevinson is uncommonly mature, said Steve Goldberg, her former philosophy teacher: "Part 16-year-old, part 30-year-old sophisticate. I had a lovely, smart student who confided in me she was jealous of Tavi, a little intimidated. She wanted to hate Tavi, but as she got to know and talk to Tavi, she found it impossible."

On that sunny first day of school, Gevinson came home to a dining room full of boxes. She had shipped them back from Los Angeles a few days earlier. Tavi has a wide face, dark eyes, yellow bangs and the husky voice and deadpan manner of a character in a Wes Anderson movie. She guided me to the boxes. "This is partly why I've been feeling emotional," she said. Each box overflowed with handmade presents that fans gave her on the road trip. She reached into a box and pulled out a furry blue diary with a metal clasp.

She reached back in and pulled out a small booklet.

"This is a zine about 'Twin Peaks.' It's nice to know there are girls across the country who like the things I like. This reeks of nail polish in a good way. This has sequins. This also has sequins. This" — she held up a coat with "2 Kool 4 Skool" stitched on the back — "is from these girls who asked me to join their girl gang."

She paused to explain: The tour ended in Los Angeles, where Rookie staff, working in a gallery owned by Urban Outfitters, created an art installation of a teenage girl's bedroom. They asked fans to contribute stuff from their bedrooms. The theme was friendship and fandom, "which are big when you're a teenager," Gevinson told me. "They can seem otherworldly and powerful. But then everything is so new when you're a teenager."

She reached back in the box.

She pulled out a pin reading "Riots Not Diets," and a recipe box with her name scrawled across the top in glue and glitter. She unfolded a letter and read: "Tavi, the memory of a bunch of Rookie girls in a circle after the 'Freaks and Geeks' marathon, sharing blankets and memories and languages and how Justin Bieber is underrated and Taylor Swift is amazing, is a memory I will always keep close to my heart." Gevinson said, "That is so sweet," then sighed and added: "I've read things on blogs that Rookie is for, like, weird girls — 'I'm sick of this weird girls trope, blah blah.' That's just lazy."

I said she looked tired.

"I am. I mean, obviously I have been lucky, but it's not like someone's given me Rookie and can take it away. That also means Rookie, everything, I'm responsible for it now. I'm responsible for keeping all this going and staying inspired to do this because I am responsible for jobs now. Which is fine but intimidating."

A few days later, she was back in Los Angeles. She was finishing her part in the still-untitled film from director Nicole Holofcener, whose observant indie hits such as "Lovely & Amazing" and "Friends With Money," often about thoughtful, fretful women navigating the shoals of everyday drama, play somewhat like grown-up addendums to Rookie. (Gevinson, who plays the best friend of Julia Louis-Dreyfus' character's daughter, has "an uncanny ability to bring pop culture into discussions without oversimplifying," Goldberg said. Gevinson told me her character is in "one of those 'Ghost World' relationships with her best friend, growing apart.")

A few weeks after LA, she was in New York for the book party for "Rookie: Yearbook One." Emma Straub, 32, a celebrated fiction writer who counts herself among four dozen or so Rookie freelancers, told me she had never seen the McNally Jackson bookstore in Soho more crowded: "There were no chairs left, people sat on the floor, the room was full of engaged, fashionable girls. And grown women. Though the core were teenage girls who've come to see Tavi as a beacon of awesomeness. It was a serious love fest."

During her New York trip, Gevinson also took in Fashion Week and went on "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon." "You grew up outside Chicago?" Fallon asked her. "I'm still growing up outside Chicago," Tavi replied. Steve Gevinson, Tavi's father and business adviser, said later that Tavi missed nine of her first 15 days of school.

A month after school started, I went back to the Gevinson household to watch Tavi clean her room. She told me she had to. Their home is modest, on the corner of a middle-class block, surrounded by overgrown grass and trees. Her father, a retired Oak Park high school English teacher, was sitting on the porch with a laptop. Her mother, Berit Engen, a weaver who grew up in Norway, answered the door. By now familiar with press coming to the house, she smiled, turned and shouted: "TAAAVVVIIIIIIII!!!!"

"Coming!" Tavi yelled.

She is the youngest of three daughters. She began her fashion blog, Style Rookie, at 11. Her parents weren't aware of it until she came to them and said she needed permission to be interviewed by The New York Times. The rest is well-documented: Tavi became a fashion-world celebrity. She was flown around the world to fashion shows, invited to write for magazines, asked to appear in commercials and give a TED Talk. Her blog, which often featured an unsmiling Gevinson modeling couture sent by designers, was so perceptive and lucid that New York magazine insisted she was a fashion-world hoax. It was also getting 50,000 readers a day. Jump forward to 2010: Gevinson announced she would start an online magazine for teenage girls, inspired by the original, feisty Sassy magazine — opinionated, idiosyncratic and partly driven by what Tavi likes now.Rookie launched last September using a bank loan obtained by Steve Gevinson. A year later, it has four employees (including Gevinson) and made smart use of Tavi's connections, attracting contributors such as Zooey Deschanel and Judd Apatow. It's advertiser supported, though Gevinson runs the show. Her father said that "as painful as it is to see money going away," Tavi does turn down advertisers she considers a compromise of Rookie's integrity. Ira Glass of "This American Life" is an adviser. Anaheed Alani, 42, Glass' wife and a former Chicago Reader editor, is a Rookie editor. "I always said I wouldn't work for anyone who isn't smarter than me, and it's still the case," Alani said. "I just can't wait until Tavi turns 18 and people stop treating her like a talking dog."

For instance: a newspaper reporter who wants to see a smart, thoughtful magazine editor clean her room. When Tavi came to door, she said she didn't want to clean her room now. When I saw it, I understood.

"Step on anything," she said, as if this were an option. Her bedroom floor was a landfill of posters and books and clothing and glitter and records and magazines and torn pages and scissors and letters and DVDs and cards and CDs and clothes hangers and clothing baskets. She said she came in to start cleaning the other day, but just moved stuff from one shelf to another, defeated. An old turntable sat in a corner, across a pink desk covered in stickers. Strung across the windows, letters from friends. Strung across her bed, a "Sweet 16" banner from her birthday party (for which the dining room was decorated to look like a prom). There was a wreath of paper flowers, bookshelves overstuffed with Nick Hornby, Lynda Barry, Bob Dylan. On the walls, a Mary Ellen Mark photo, music video stills, a Sonic Youth album cover, a Japanese poster of "The Virgin Suicides."

CHRISTOPHER BORRELLI

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Her room is so full of old things newly discovered it looks Instagrammed — like a 3-D collage of aesthetics and influences. (In fact, that's sort of what Gevinson sends Alani for editorial direction, a monthly thematic art collage.) Not unlike Rookie, the room speaks to her tastes, and these days she is less obsessed with fashion, more smitten with art, books, music, movies. She doesn't want to be the Fashion Girl of Oak Park anymore. Style Rookie is mostly mothballed. "It was fun when I was dressing for myself. I'd get bullied (at school) over it but held this weird little secret that, actually, a big community outside of school knows me."

Halfheartedly filling a plastic shopping bag with trash, Gevinson said, "See my bunk bed? I wish I could get a real bed again, but this place is so disgusting. I haven't slept in here in a year and a half. I sleep in my sister's bed or on the couch. Plus, I'm also just sick of seeing this stuff. I think every time you change as a teenager you become annoyed with the person you used to be. When I was a sophomore and a freshman I had more time to channel my creativity into what my room looked like or putting together awesome outfits that I would wear to school. Now I value sleep more and would rather wear a pair of jeans."

Alani, who lives in New York, said her time on Rookie doesn't really kick in until Gevinson gets home from school. Gevinson does her homework, then Alani and Gevinson work (remotely) on Rookie into the wee hours.

Gevinson told me she is planning to take a year off between high school and college, probably to make movies. She said she walked by an apartment building the other day and thought for a hot minute about getting her own place. She worries, though, that she'll get permanently derailed and never go to college. She worries about being stuck in her teenage years with Rookie. And, until recently, she worried about her honors math class. "I switched out the other day," she said. "I'm already taking three honors classes. I know it's cliched and I hate perpetuating a stereotype, but I hate math and I'm not good at it and I don't want to get better. I don't need the extra stress in my life. My dad and I argued about it. I said, 'I'm responsible for people's jobs! Rookie has to be good. If I don't do my math, it hurts me. But if I neglect Rookie, it makes other people's jobs harder!' He said no, it makes my job harder, and I said, 'No! It doesn't! I have no interest in math, Dad!'"

For his part, Steve Gevinson said he hates seeing the weight of pressure bearing down on his daughter. He would like to see her to go to college, but also admits: "Unlike our other daughters, unlike a lot of people who go to college, Tavi doesn't need to go to college to figure out what she wants to do or figure out who she is. Tavi knows all that. If anything I want her to go to get a liberal arts education and read good books."

As for the room …

Tavi said, "It'll be new crap, just different crap. The guy in 'High Fidelity' says books, records, movies — these things matter. If you raise yourself on pop culture, you get attached to memories you don't want to get rid of. I'm not ready to move on. I just think I want a room to remind me of all the good things people create."

A week later, I got an email from Gevinson: She was dressing up again. "I also don't think I want to make films when I grow up anymore. I think I want to do, like, eight things, but it's probably better not to say what they are."

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Vice Magazine reviews Rookie Yearbook One.

Updated November 21, 2012


ONE WOMAN'S FIRST HAND ACCOUNT OF RECEIVING THE ROOKIE YEARBOOK IN THE MAIL
By Kelly McClure

Maybe you have heard about Rookie, and maybe you haven't. I, personally, have had my eye on the site since before it launched, and have a undulating snow globe of emotions about it. Basically, it's a general purpose fashion, entertainment, sexual/emotional health, etc. site for teenage girls that's run by Tavi Gevinson, a teenage genius who sprouted up in the suburbs of Illinois, and has since made every female journalist feel a wonderful mix of inferior, and awe - all in the best possible way. She's referred to as "young boss," or "tiny boss" by her staff, and, just as an aside, has what I consider to be the coolest voice in the history of voices.

I have felt the need to take a few steps back from my public love of Rookie, because a certain someone who I used to touch parts with writes for them. (You didn't think I WOULDN'T bring that up, did you)? But then I decided that was stupid because my needs and interests trump everything else, and I'm compelled to share them with the world, whether people care or not. When I found out that they were releasing a book, I had to have it, so I emailed Anaheed Alani, Rookie's Editorial Director, and she passed me along to Lauren Redding, the Managing Editor, and within a few days, a big, beautiful box landed on my desk at VICE HQ. At first I didn't know what exactly was going to be in the box, because I get a shit ton of mail, and it really could have been a blonde wig made out of human hair, a chicken foot, or a paper mache craft of some sort - sent from someone on death row. It ended up being the Rookie book! When I opened it, the girls sitting near me actually made noises of joy with their mouths, and Ben, my man friend who sits to the left of me, made a "pffft" noise.

This book is beautiful, and is quite thick. It also includes a page of stickers, and a paper crown, which made me delirious with pleasure upon discovering. Normally, when reading a large anthology of writings, varied in length, it's normal to sort of jump around and read whatever immediately catches your eye, but I've been reading this book cover to cover like it's the Bible, but real, and more relevant. My favorite so far, if I had to pick one thing, has been Hazel's interview with John Waters.

I interviewed a few of my co-workers to get a better grasp on what emotions they experienced when I received the book in the mail. Here's what they said:

Julia:

I can't recall any emotion other than insane jealousy. Of you for getting the coolest shit in the mail, and of Tavi who, at her 14 or 15 years of age (how old is she now?), is already more accomplished than I will ever be. And then flipping through the book I was all like, "Man, I kinda wish these girls were my friends when I was in high school. Would've been a step up from the emo crazy cutting chicks I was hanging out with back in the day. Actually, they may be cooler than most of my current friends..."

Kathleen:

It's always fun when the mail comes by because, hands down, you get the best stuff in the office ie. Debbie Harry Barbie, death row fain mail, etc., and the gamut is always so wide. When the Rookie book came in I felt the green monster rise inside of me, but then I was just in awe. You always get cool shit.

Sasha:

It's like Tavi waited until I became a "20-something" to make being a teenage girl something that isn't disdainful. Whatever, Tavi. I'm still the "Girl Reporter" around here, and if I want to squee at the Rookie Yearbook until my elderly lungs give out, that's my inalienable right.

So, there you have it, I'm special. But more importantly, the Rookie Yearbook is as impressive as it is inspiring and entertaining, and you should own it. Buy one HERE.

Ps. Tavi, we want to be best friends with you, and it is real. Come to VICE and have snacks with us.
 
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  The Hollywood Reporter on Tavi Gevinson

Updated November 21, 2012


Rookie's Tavi Gevinson Talks 'Bitchface,' James
9/22/2012 by Erin Carlson

The wunderkind blogger celebrated the first-anniversary of her buzzy website for teens with a school dance-themed party in New York.

Tavi Gevinson is only 16 years old, and she's already a household name in the fashion world: when she was 11, she created a blog, "Style Rookie," that captured the attention of designers, editors and industry insiders in addition to a cult audience of young readers who obsessively followed the Chicago-area native's sophisticated commentary and quirky-cool wardrobe updates.

Gevinson soon received invitations to New York Fashion Week, appeared on artsy magazine covers (Pop, L'Officiel) and struck up a friendship with Kate and Laura Mulleavy, aka the Rodarte sisters. (She helped promote and inspire their 2009 collection for Target. In an interview with Style.com, the avante-garde duo described Gevinson, then 13, as "a mix between J.D. Salinger, Dorothy Parker and Cindy Sherman.")
Gevinson attended the Mulleavys' Spring 2013 runway show earlier this month and also attended a downtown bash for the hipster clothing emporium Opening Ceremony. She appeared on Jimmy Fallon's late-night show, where she effortlessly engaged in banter with the host (even showing him her patented "bitchface").

The main reason she in New York, however, was to celebrate the one-year anniversary of Rookie Magazine, her irreverent website geared toward young women that spans the subjects of fashion, pop culture and true-life confessionals. Gevinson is Rookie's founder-editor, and her imprint is everywhere, from a DIY tutorial on "How to Turn Your Tights Into Knee Socks" to an ode to the Bard called "Literally the Best Thing Ever: Shakespeare." Her celebrity no doubt helped lure the likes of Jon Hamm and Paul Rudd to participate in the popular video feature "Ask a Grown Man." (Her next target: President Obama, the subject of a Twitter campaign to recruit the commander-in-chief as the next famous male to answer readers' questions.)
At a school dance-themed party at the Ace Hotel on Sept. 12, Gevinson also feted the release of her first book, Rookie Yearbook One, a collection of photos and essays written by Rookie writers and celeb scribes including Miranda July. Gevinson included her amusing article on "How to Bitchface," or recreate her stone-faced expression (it could also be dubbed, "Fashionface").
"It's kind of just a face I make a lot," she said in an interview with THR, laughing while explaining that the site's editorial director came up with the idea because of "my, like, constantly looking irritated when I'm like talking about my day or whatever."
Before Rookie's launch in September 2011, Gevinson stipulated that writers would post stories during three key times of the day (including after dinner, prime Facebook-stalking time) and would avoid talking down or preaching to readers.
"Probably my favorite thing ever was my friend's little brother recently went to his first school dance, had his first kiss, and his family later told me that he was telling them about the girl and he said, 'She looks like she reads Rookie.' And that was like a good thing," she said. "And his other guy friends, they're like, 12, were like, 'Yeah, yeah, she had like shiny red shoes!' And It just made me happy that being a girl who reads Rookie was like an attractive quality to these young men."
Despite her high profile, the levelheaded, unfailingly articulate Gevinson seems to make an easy transition between her double lives as student (she lives at home with her parents in Oak Park, Illinois) and media darling (who was also just cast in her first feature film role in writer-director Nicole Holofcener's untitled new film at Fox Searchlight).
She did admit to being nervous before her Fallon sitdown, and when we put her on the spot to give her most memorable celebrity encounter, she conceded to geeking out somewhat during an encounter with James Franco.
"I did meet James Franco once and I said I was a big fan of Freaks and Geeks and he was like, 'So are you a freak or a geek?' And I was like, 'I'm kind of both' and probably went into my life story, which he probably didn't care about, and he was like, 'Yeah I feel like I'm both too sometimes.'"
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The Guardian Reports on Rookie's 'Ask A Grown Man'

Updated November 21, 2012


Tavi Gevinson's Rookie mag wants to ask Barack Obama some questions
Online publication for teenage girls has started a Twitter campaign to get the president for their Ask a Grown Man feature

Tavi Gevinson, founder of Rookie, at New York fashion week in 2010. Photograph: Rex Features
In the past month, swarms of mouse clicks and keyboard taps convinced the White House to surrender their prized beer recipe and motivated the president to answer questions on Reddit, but can the internet get Obama to answer questions for teen girls about boys and kissing?

Rookie, an online publication for teenage girls, began a Twitter campaign Sunday to get President Obama on their Ask a Grown Man feature. In the feature, celebrities including Jon Hamm, Paul Rudd and Judd Apatow record videos of themselves answering readers' questions.

Abigail: "At what age do you think boys turn into men so they are not immature?"
Paul Rudd: "I don't think there is actually an age, and I think Abigail that you would find that there are also many men, who you would consider men, who are actually still boys."

It's the site's most popular feature and #obama4grownman tweeters hope to add the first father to the star-studded crew of advice-providing grown men.

The hashtag quickly spread across the world – and beyond Rookie's target demographics – with young men, older women and fathers joining in on the campaign.

Rookie editorial director Anaheed Alani created the hashtag which attracted more attention than she expected.

"I just decided to start a Twitter campaign to ask Obama to do Ask a Grown Man with no expectations beyond that it would be fun for me and our staff and that it would be funny and that it might get us five new Twitter followers," Rookie editorial director Anaheed Alani told the Guardian.

Rookie also received a supportive tweet from what appears to be the Twitter account of the White House Liason to Young Americans, Ronnie Cho.

AMP@all_ages 17 Sep 12
@RookieMag (he's the White House liason to Young Americans)
Ronnie Cho@RonnieCho
Moreover, I'm big fan @tavitulle fan. @all_ages @RookieMag
17 Sep 12 ReplyRetweetFavorite

@tavitulle refers to Tavi Gevinson, the 16-year-old editor-in-chief of Rookie, the publication she founded on the heels of her enormously popular blog The Style Rookie. Using cred and connections from the blog, Gevinson founded Rookie in September 2011 as an antidote to glossy teen magazines that spotlight airbrushed models and top 40 music hits.

Now-defunct teen magazine Sassy was a prime inspiration for Rookie and its former editor Jane Pratt was involved in the early stages of the online publication's development. Sassy's Dear Boy feature inspired Rookie to make one of their own with a 21st century video twist.


Jon Hamm on Ask a Grown Man: "Don't go around trying to please guys, it's impossible. It's like going around trying to please girls, you'll never do it."

Rookie picks candidates for the Ask a Grown Man feature who they think are smart, funny and receptive to the questions of teen girls. The latter quality being especially rare among celebrities.

One unidentified movie star agreed to do a video, but felt unqualified after reading the questions. Comedian Mike Birbiglia asked for new questions because some of them made him nervous.

"Which is so funny to me, it seems like the easiest gig in the world," Alani said. "We've all been teenagers. It's not like they're a foreign species."

Rookie also has an Ask a Grown Woman feature, which puts out about one video for every three male ones. Alani said it's more difficult to find female stars willing to contribute, because there are few famous lesbians who are out and willing to talk about sexuality.

Rookie did manage to land former Saturday Night Live writer Paula Pell for an Ask a Grown Woman feature in the coming months and next week Rookie will release their newest Ask a Grown Man with Community's Danny Pudi.

They also have a batch of comedians lined up to make videos and Alani's husband Ira Glass has been begging to do one, though she said they keep putting him off
 
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  UPI Reports on Rookie's #obama4grownman Campaign

Updated November 21, 2012


Teen mag Rookie wants Obama for 'Ask a Grown Man' feature
Sept. 20, 2012 By KATE STANTON, UPI.com

Launched as a thoughtful alternative to mainstream teen magazines, Tavi Gevinson's Rookie wants an interview with President Barack Obama.

Tavi Gevinson, the precocious teen style maven who's more accomplished than you, started her own fashion blog, Style Rookie, at the age of 11. By the age of 15, she had become a fixture at New York fashion shows, the subject of numerous style profiles and editor-in-chief of her own magazine for teenage girls, Rookie. Now, Gevinson and Rookie mag have launched a Twitter campaign to score an interview with the president of the United States for their popular "Ask a Grown Man" feature.

"Ask a Grown Man" solicits dating advice via web video from respected celebrity men-du-jour. Here's Jon Hamm ("Mad Men") dispensing tips on everything from fashion to farting ("I was under the impression that girls never farted").


Besides Hamm, BJ Novak, Judd Apatow and Paul Rudd have also participated. So why not President Obama?

Using the hashtag #obama4grownman, Rookie employees and readers are calling on the nation's most famous "grown man" to get in on the fun.

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Lovage reviews Rookie Yearbook One

Updated November 20, 2012


ROOKIE YEARBOOK ONE
By Stacey Paton / September 12, 2012

Tavi Gevinson has taken another step forward into total teen world domination by releasing a book version of her amazing online magazine Rookie. Rookie Yearbook One is a 352 page collection of articles, interviews, photo editorials and illustrations in print from Rookie’s first year as an online magazine.

Rookie is Tavi’s brainchild. Whilst growing up surrounded by the success of her blog Style Rookie Tavi’s interests were expanding into culture, arts and exploring the trials and tribulations of being a teen girl in suburban America who didn’t quite follow the status quo. She aimed to fill a gap in the publication industry by launching her own online magazine. In September 2011 Rookie was launched bringing individual, intellectual and free thinking content to the modern and sometimes nostalgic American teen girl. To justify the need for something that spoke to this significant demographic: Rookie had over one million page views within six days of its launch.

Now Tavi can add author to her list of achievements for a 15 year old. So if you want to get back in touch with your teenage self, read articles written by famous contributors including Zooey Deschanel, Elle Fanning and Amy Poehler or appreciate some cool artwork then check Rookie Yearbook One out!
 
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  The New York Observer at McNally Jackson for Rookie Yearbook One

Updated November 20, 2012


Girl Power as Rookie Magazine Celebrates First Birthday
By Kara Bloomgarden-Smoke 9/10

They grow up so fast. Rookie, the online mag founded by Tavi Gevinson, the former tween fashion blogger turned editor and patron saint of alt girls everywhere, turns one this month.

Girls between the ages of 12 and 20, as well as a smattering of boys and grown-ups, filled the downstairs of McNally Jackson last night to meet the girl who started a style blog when she was 11 and now seems to be heading a feminist resurgence, infused with 90’s nostalgia and go-girl self-acceptance, at the release party of Rookie Yearbook One. The book is a collection of pieces from the site’s first year, edited by Ms. Gevinson.

“I feel so old,” hissed a woman in her early twenties.

“She might be like 16, I don’t know,” we overheard someone say, referring to Ms. Gevinson. She is.

“Everyone has Tavi’s haircut,” noted someone else in the crowd. Ms. Gevinson wore her blond hair in braids pinned atop her head, so we couldn’t actually see her haircut, but the crowd’s sartorial inspirations were obvious. Floral crowns (a Rookie DIY project from last year) dotted heads in the audience, who sat cross-legged on the floor.

Soda in fun flavors like pineapple and orange, candy necklaces, blow-pops and other assorted candy stood in for the usual book event wine.

Contributors to the magazine read their pieces from Rookie Yearbook on subjects like hooking up with a guy over a shared love of the Smiths, dealing with a mother’s disappointment after coming out and the stupidity of calling things “guilty pleasure” and liking things ironically (“Cool and interesting are in the eye of the beholder, and that is you.”)

“I hope that I have daughters and I hope that they grow up in a world where this exists. And thank you Tavi for doing this,” said guest reader Lena Dunham. Based on the crowd’s enthusiastic response to Ms. Dunham, they must have HBO. Ms. Dunham read from her recently found “millennium journal” to people who were either toddlers or in utero at the end of the millennium. She also read a new piece about running away from home off of her iPhone.

Tavi Gevinson stood in the corner of the room throughout, looking proud. When it was her turn on stage, the applause and cheers swelled, which was notable since teenage girls clap and cheer a lot.

“My face hurts from being in permanent heart-melt,” she said, before reading an essay she wrote called “How to Not Care What People Think of You.”

Novelist Emma Straub wore a floral crown as she read a piece about her memory of high school friendships. Sarah Sophie Flicker, the trapeze artist, writer and style icon, before reading from a piece about not being a perfect mother or person. She ended by advising the crowd to talk to their moms. Grown man and comedian Dave Hill read a piece about asking a girl out in high school.

The final act was a Q&A. The audience asked the Rookie staff and contributors for advice about life, feminism, family and friendships (boys, relationships, and sex didn’t come up, which is not how we remember high school).

One girl asked for hair advice (“wear it curly!). Another asked for advice on staying close to a friend who moved away (make mixed cds and talk on the phone a lot). A middle-aged man asked for writing advice and got cheers when he told the crowd that he had recently come out of the closet.

A 12-year-old girl said that after she told a middle school boy that she was a feminist he kept bringing it up. She wanted to know if people are afraid of her for being a feminist. “Yes! They are afraid,” was the consensus.

Lena Dunham wanted to know what people want to see on television. “When your parents find your sex toys,” suggested one Rookie contributor. “Female jealousy,” suggested another.

We slipped out as the crowd jostled into an orderly line to get their books signed by Ms. Gevinson. As we left, we felt our own cynical heart melting from the contagious, rah-rah, “You go, girl!” earnestness, and wondered whether we will ever be as composed and mature as Ms. Gevinson and her fans.
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Fashionista at Rookie Yearbook One Launch

Updated November 20, 2012


Tavi Gevinson Launches Rookie Yearbook One
by NILINA MASON-CAMPBELL

Like many other high-school students, Tavi Gevinson has been working on her yearbook. Unlike most however, it’s 352 pages and was launched at a bookstore with press and Lena Dunham in attendance.

The Rookie Yearbook One hit shelves last night and boasts a collection of articles about the nitty gritty of being a teen, penned by various contributors and culled from her website. Like Tavi herself, the stories are fun, unconventional and definitely non-cliched. The contributors who read them to the crowd were pretty special (and stylish), too. The ukelele group Supercute performed a theme song penned specially for the Yearbook before Tavi and friends took questions and signed copies for a crowd that snaked between two floors of the venue.

[Ed. note: I stopped by McNally last night, too--and though it was too packed to see or hear anything, I did note how stylish Tavi devotees are in their own distinctive way. Shaved heads with vintage '50s dresses. DIY purses and stickers on backpacks. It was a good scene.]


 
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  Bust reviews Rookie Yearbook One

Updated November 20, 2012


Not Even Surprised That Tavi Gevinson's New Book Is The Raddest
Michelle - Sep 05, 2012

I tried to fight it, and I tried to deny it, but I can't. I love Tavi Gevinson (Maybe you've heard of her? She was on the cover of some magazine called BUST) . Even more than Tavi, I luuuurve Rookie, which is why I was sure to preorder Rookie Yearbook One. For those of you who don't know (shame on you!), Rookie was founded a year ago today by Ms. Gevinson to give teen girls content that they weren't being given in, say, Seventeen or Teen Vogue.
.

Although I'm no longer a teenager, I was instantly captivated by the site's aesthetic, as well as its poignant personal essays, funny videos, and honest discussions on everything from drugs to masturbation to ice cream. Yes, it's a wide range of content over there on Rookie.

The print version of the magazine is packed with inspiring images, stickers that I've already put all over my iPhone case, and how-to guides. In short: It rules. Now, I'm not in the business of telling people want to spend their money on, but ya'll need to get this book I'm serious. I'm serious about being serious.

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PinkME reviews Tavi Gevinson's Rookie Yearbook One.

Updated November 20, 2012


Rookie Yearbook One edited by Tavi Gevinson
AUGUST 31, 2012

Here's something I would not have expected, certainly not on a night when I have a deadline looming on another project - I opened the mail after work and found a copy of this fat book, the first print product of Tavi Gevinson, aka The Style Rookie, and I opened it up and read the first couple of pages... and then I read the whole thing straight through for like five hours.

Tavi - don't you know who Tavi is? Tavi is this wonder-child. Only 16 years old now, she started blogging about style and fashion when she was like eleven and quickly became a fashion world darling. She wore her hair in a faded blue-gray bob, sometimes with a giant bow. She was, by all accounts, enthusiastic and questioning, eager to learn, a total fashion fan, but always with a point of view. I never read The Style Rookie, though. Really, I spend so much time keeping up with children's lit, all I have time for is Go Fug Yourself and sometimes Lainey.

I had heard that last year she enlisted some kid cronies and some Big Cool Friends (a little Jane Pratt here, a little Ira Glass's wife there) and created an online teen magazine, kind of a wistful avant-garde version of Sassy, called Rookie. I never read that either. "Godspeed, Tavi, you nonconformist Rodarte-meets-thrift-store brainiac," I thought, "but I am not your audience."

After all, I'm old enough to be her mother. I love the idea of young people finding and exploring the things that turn them on intellectually and visually, and if I actually had a daughter, I would expect her to be exhuming old clothes from my closet and dressing like a kook for several years just like I did when I was fifteen. It's a developmental thing. All kids should go through that phase. Rookie celebrates the hell out of it.

So I was kind of blown away when I found myself unable to put Rookie Yearbook One down. Sure it's full of cartoony illustrations and bits of collage and scrawled playlists and daydreamy photo layouts, but all that is just cool-kid window dressing. What is spectacular here is the writing.

This writing is... well, damn, it's just some of the most honest, nonjudgemental, positive writing I have ever seen aimed at teens. The Rookie writers explore their passions (Heart - YES; Hanson - GOD NO), their failures and heartbreaks, their rites of passage, and the things that make them swear and rage - oh the multipage conversation in which they share tales of public sexual harassment, published here in its entirety, including the comments from readers relating their own stories of humiliation, should perhaps be required reading in all high school sociology classes for all humans of any age.

They drop things like cutting, food abuse and alcohol - topics the mere mention of which cause parents to cross themselves and reach for the Xanax - into their articles in this very natural, a-lot-of-kids-have-tried-this-and-it-doesn't-work-out-that-well way that I know regular young people will appreciate.

There is flat-out advice: how to tell someone you like them, do eye makeup like Twiggy, make a zine, masturbate, and to not give a damn what people think of you. There are appreciation essays, titled "Literally the Best Thing Ever," on subjects like Joni Mitchell, glitter, and deep-sea creatures. There are guest posts by Miranda July and Paul Feig (whom they probably love for Freaks and Geeks but whom I love for Ignatius MacFarland).

And my goodness, Tavi does terrific interviews. She asks all the right questions of Aubrey Plaza, David Sedaris, and Joss (JOSS!). Her pal Hazel gets John Waters to reveal that he secretly loves art films. The prose itself is conversational and sincere, but also clear and succinct. For all their youth, the junior journalists of Rookie are very accomplished essayists.

In the end though, what kept me reading, what I kept not being able to get over, was this uncompromising, very specific expectation of and demand for consideration and respect. Tavi and her ladies understand what it is to be female in this culture - they embrace the girliness (to varying degrees), and they articulate very clearly how girls can enjoy their femininity while maintaining a firm grasp on the nature of true beauty. While they acknowledge that watching fashion can be a really fun hobby (oh it is - I have bought and kept every September issue of Vogue since 1978), they remind girls that each model has spent three hours in a makeup chair and been Photoshopped all the way to Jesus and back.

They are incredibly clear on why women should not have to put up with unsolicited comments on their appearance, and they back these statements up with rebuttals to the defenses that men sometimes counter with.

"I want these guys to know that they're able to be so cavalier because they don't hear unsolicited opinions on their bodies and alleged sex lives all the time. Because the changes they noticed in the mirror a year or two ago were not interpreted as permission by strangers to offer an opinion on their bodies." -- Tavi, from the essay "First Encounters with the Male Gaze"

I feel sure Tavi would be ok with me saying: STEAL THAT AT WILL.

This book belongs on a very short list of books that offer actual, non-wimpy, un-fake shoring-up of the adolescent female psyche. That list also includes All the Wrong People Have Self-Esteem: An Inappropriate Book for Young Ladies*, which is, probably not coincidentally, similarly funny, well-designed, and full of cool things to look at.

No stickers though. Tavi's book has stickers. DAMN, Tavi.
 
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  Refinery29 calls Rookie Yearbook One 'The Solution To All Your Problems"

Updated November 20, 2012


Tavi's Rookie Yearbook One Is The Solution To All Your Problems
By Us

Tavi Gevinson, how do we love thee? Let us count the ways. She's the ultimate wunderkind, penning prodigious posts at a very tender age on her personal blog, the now-famous Style Rookie. She's sat front row at more shows than most industry insiders, and she's tackled every big issue faced by women and fashion people alike. We would be jealous, except we love her way too much. And now, we have a piece of paper to prove it. No, we didn't head down to city hall and marry the girl! We're talking about Rookie Yearbook One, the fabulously heavy, action-packed book that arrived at our offices this morning.

While we love our Teen Vogue (even in our 20s, 30s, and 40s), there's a lot to be said about a magazine for young girls that offers fun but informative treatment of issues, from owning your sexual pleasure (seriously, one lengthy piece is called "Do It Yourself: What We Talk About When We Talk About Masturbation") to "Literally The Best Thing Ever: Deep Sea Creatures." In a world of Photoshop, glossy pages, and scripted interviews, this matte, lo-fi book is more than refreshing. It's what we always wanted, and now we can, finally, hold it in our hands.

Hit the slideshow for a look at our favorite pages — although it's literally impossible not to love each and every one.
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Tavi Gevinson and Ira Glass interviewed by The Wall Street Journal

Updated November 20, 2012


The Blogger and the Radio Star
By ALICE GREGORY

BOTH IRA GLASS AND TAVI GEVINSON are fascinated by the magical realism of everyday life, whether it's first encounters with the unknown (Glass) or the daily eccentricities of Midwestern teenage-hood (Gevinson). As host of the much-adored, long-running radio show This American Life, Glass has become something like our national storyteller, providing a forum for highly personal yet idiosyncratic stories concerning everything from gossip to gambling. In roughly the same amount of time his show's been on the airwaves, Gevinson, a junior in high school, has come of age. Last year she launched Rookie, her feverishly read online magazine for girls who are, like its editor, precocious, fashion-obsessed and a little offbeat. In her inaugural editor's letter, she issued "infinite big fat thank-you's" to a roster of facilitating adults that included Glass, whom she referred to with affectionate mockery as "Cool Dad."

Gevinson and Glass's generation-straddling friendship began when they were introduced through Glass's wife, Anaheed Alani, who is now Rookie's story editor. As a media veteran himself, Glass acted as a sort of protector for Rookie, encouraging Gevinson, now 16, to pursue sole ownership and helping her to navigate industry perils.

Still, Gevinson was hardly new to life in the spotlight. By the time Rookie launched last September, she was already famous, thanks to the personal blog she started at age 11. The fashion world was smitten with her oddball dressing and dyed-grey hair; here was a prepubescent wunderkind who looked a bit like Miss Havisham. Seemingly overnight, Gevinson received windfalls that typically come to those many times her age: a column in Harper's Bazaar; coveted front-row runway seats; a collaboration with avant-garde label Rodarte—and then the inevitable ire of jealous detractors. But now, with Rookie thriving, Gevinson's status as an Internet stalwart seems firmly secure.

These days, Glass and Gevinson mostly talk at Rookie parties or on conference calls—Gevinson sitting atop her daisy-print bed in Oak Park, Illinois; Glass padding around his kitchen in New York. His jokes are met with a not uncommon eye roll, but their rapport is a sweet one. After discovering that Gevinson was using her computer's internal mic to record herself singing and playing the guitar, Glass gave her one that was able to capture high notes. As thanks, she sent him a heartfelt rendition of "Moon River."

Ira on Tavi
The first time I met Tavi was during a breakfast meeting in New York at Le Grainne, one of those faux-French places where you can get omelets and crepes. She looked really tiny and really young, and she was still dressed like a little kid—this was before Tavi had decided she was going to dress "pretty," like a more typical teenage girl. She would explain that she was giving a talk at the Met or MoMA or something, but then her father would interrupt to be like, "Okay, Tavi, here are the things on the menu that you would eat." I think she got hot chocolate. It was like, "Oh, right. You're a child."

Pre-Internet, my guess is she would have been just a really bright, nerdy kid who was into lots of stuff and made little things that some people in her circle would see. But John Waters wouldn't be quoting her. Lady Gaga wouldn't be quoting her. She's invented her own paradigm, like all the people who do the best creative work: They invent their own paradigm and then they inhabit that paradigm better than anybody else could.

“I wasn't that confident at her age, and I'm not that confident now. I'm a reporter—if I don't interview someone, I don't have much to say.”
Tavi is capable of both melancholy and fantastic optimism. It's weird to say, but she seems like a peer, like a fully developed writer, editor and maker of things. She absorbs things and has figured out how to render it in prose that's fun to read—it's impressive as a real-time documenting of a teenage girl's thoughts. And her pop-culture knowledge is weirdly encyclopedic. I remember her writing in some post a few years ago, "This reminded me of a Joni Mitchell song." And I was like, "Why is anything reminding you of a Joni Mitchell song? You're 13! Why is that even happening?"

One of the things that's really terrible when you're a kid is that you can't just go out and get a drink. I mean, Tavi can't drive, she can't just get in a car and take off. She has all the adult work without any of the adult freedoms. I don't even know if she has a bank account. I guess she must? I told her that by doing the Web site, she was saying goodbye to being a kid. Her time wasn't going to be her own, and she was going to be working constantly. She chose that with open eyes and has been very grown-up about it in a way that is really impressive and sobering.

I wasn't that confident at her age, and I'm not that confident now. I'm not being facetious. I'm a reporter—if I don't interview someone, I don't have much to say and I definitely can't just sit down and knock out 800 words on any subject you give me. On a school night. With trig homework. I mean, respect. I wish there was a way to punctuate that, so it's like someone in a rap video. Re-spect.

Tavi on Ira
I can only imagine how weird it would be for your wife to come home and say she's going to start working for a 15-year-old, then look up this kid online and see photos of what looks like an 80-year-old granny wearing bag-lady layers.

There's a line in my May editor's letter about Sex and the City, where I reread it and was like, "That joke's too out there." I considered taking it out, but you know it was 1 a.m., so I just went with it. The next day I considered taking it out again, but then Anaheed forwarded me an e-mail from Ira where he had just pasted that line and wrote "Funny!" so I left it.

Talking to Ira is really interesting because he tries to refrain from saying things that are stupid or a waste of time. Not like an obsessive dictator, but like someone who only wants to share what he thinks could be insightful to another person, and aside from those things, he just wants to listen to other people and not be a ham. He likes puns and people being peculiar. Sometimes he tells a hilarious story and when I try to retell it to a friend, I realize that whatever happened wasn't actually that funny or interesting, or even a happening at all. He's just really great at talking.

I had always thought of business and creativity as being totally separate, but Ira helped me to see that they're actually really related to one another. He never told me what to do but acted as a guide, helping me figure out what I wanted, and in a way, that's what we want to be for readers of Rookie. It's not about us granting anyone permission; it's about letting girls know they can grant themselves permission. That spirit formed when Ira made me reconsider what I truly wanted the site to be.

“Like me, Ira's interested in stories about normal humans being incredible, about magical things happening in places that might seem boring.”
Ira continually has really great insights about being independent but mainstream. Like me, he's interested in stories about normal humans being incredible, about magical things happening in places that might seem boring.

He's been the ideal mentor for Rookie, offering advice, support and an understanding of what I want the site to be, but editorially, he doesn't claim to understand the mind of the teenage girl. After we published a post about stickers, he was like, "Is that the name of a drug? Are you speaking in code?" So I covered a piece of paper completely with stickers and gave it to him. I made sure there wasn't any white space.

Anaheed and I are working on the proposal for a Rookie book, and Ira was like, "It needs to be a girls-punch-you-out kind of thing," so now we just refer to the book as the girls-punch-you-out thing. I actually do think we should call it Girls Punch You Out Thing, just so it will follow him around forever.

—Edited from Alice Gregory's interviews with Tavi Gevinson and Ira Glass.



 
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  Tavi Gevinson interviewed by the Ace Hotel

Updated November 20, 2012


Ace Hotel Blog
September 14th, 2012
INTERVIEW : TAVI GEVINSON

Tavi Gevinson is starting to become just Tavi — like Cher. She could be a Bob and would still be THE Bob. She’s just insanely special, and we were head over heels honored to collaborate again with Tavi and her team at Rookie for Fashion Week this year to celebrate Rookie’s one year anniversary and the launch of their new book, Rookie Yearbook One, at Ace Hotel New York. Bob took some time out of her creative hurricane to talk to us about what Rookie means to her, trying to relax and what the future holds.

You’re living an unconventional life for a teenager — absorbing and experiencing stuff way beyond the confines of what high school can offer. If you were to invent a Rookie school, what would the curriculum be like? How do you think elements of that could be imbued into normal, every day high schools to change the lives of teenage girls, boys and everyone else?

I’m not comfortable even theorizing about How to Change the Schools of America, but Freaks and Geeks and Daniel Clowes’ work each blessed me with a sense of appreciation for human misery, and that outlook certainly changed what I get out of my school experience. Also, one of my teachers once told a story about his dad taking him shopping at Wal-Mart when everyone else in his school wore Ralph Lauren polos. He was horrified by the prospect of someone from his school seeing him there and him feeling embarrassed, but realized that in order for one of his peers to see him at Wal-Mart, they, too, would have to be at Wal-Mart. High school is terrible but learning is good and people are interesting and we’re all in Wal-Mart together.

Rookie has had a couple of articles that mention transgender, gay, lesbian and queer folks, but not a huge amount of content. The magazine is “for teenage girls” — does this ever feel clunky or ill-fitting when you think about reaching a trans, queer or gender variant audience of young people?

We’re always looking to expand the definitions of what girls can do and be, and looking for readers to share their stories through Rookie as well, so while our first year has meant a lot of figuring out who our audience is and what they would like to see from us, it doesn’t feel clunky at all to welcome all kinds of people into Rookie. Supporting girls also means sometimes questioning what it means to be a girl (or a boy), and we’ll keep on doing that.

How do you make time to daydream, create, space out and do nothing/everything with such an insane schedule? A lot of people don’t have to learn that skill until they’re much older, and most of us still struggle to figure it out, present company included. Do you think “success” ever takes a toll on your creative life or your psyche?

For each day I have different time units, like Hugh Grant in About a Boy: school, Rookie, friends, relaxing, my own creative projects, etc. I usually have to sacrifice at least one of these units on a regular school day. I’ve learned that I prefer the stress of trying to do everything I want, to the stress of wondering if I should do everything I want. I’ve also learned that it’s better to just do things all the time than sit around and think about how much shit I have to do and what to do next.

I asked S.E. Hinton a similar question when I interviewed her for Lula, not about her schedule specifically, but about the downsides of success in general. She said simply that success didn’t feel like as big a burden as no success would feel. My life is very stressful, but a lot of it comes from expectations I have for myself. I don’t feel like I got talked into anything or signed up for something I didn’t know I couldn’t handle. The fact that I even get to do all this and people will look at it is an extreme privilege, so it’s stressful, but I’m not complaining. I don’t really feel like my “success” takes a toll on my creative life or my psyche because all the projects I do that technically make me successful are my creative life and psyche — they’re creative outlets and places for me to express myself.

Tell us about some of your hopes and dreams for Rookie in year two.

I always want us to be bigger and better and all of that stuff, but it’s too scary to delve into the details right now.
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Racked talks with Tavi Gevinson

Updated August 23, 2012


Tavi Talks LA, Screens Wren Fashion Film at TenOverSix

Monday, July 30, 2012,
by Natalie Alcala

"It's really sad; I've cried a few times," Tavi Gevinson tells us in a quaint back office at TenOverSix. Prior to arriving at the Melrose boutique, she and Petra Collins of The Ardorous officially packed up their "Strange Magic" installation at Space15Twenty. "It felt so weird listening to songs that I normally play in private moments as I packed up all this stuff from my room and gifts that girls gave us on the road. It was all very emotional."
While the end of her Rookie Road Trip was certainly bittersweet, the 16-year-old style phenom still had one more LA event to host before hitting the road back home. She joined friends and fans at TenOverSix last night to screen a new fashion film for LA's own Wren. Directed by Sarah Sophie Flicker and Maximilla Lukacs, the two-minute video features Gevinson dressed in a variety of Wren fall looks while singing a delightfully haunting rendition of Dory Previn's "Beware of Young Girls."
Before saying farewell, we had to ask Gevinson if she really wants to move to LA, per that Bust interview. "Absolutely," she confirmed. "Los Angeles is my favorite city, which is why [Petra and I] wanted to end our road trip here. I love the weather and the fact that you could go to both the beach and the desert within the same day. I'll also miss going for late night drives and eating at Mel's Drive-In [1660 N Highland Ave] and Cafe 101 [6145 Franklin Ave]. I'll definitely be back."
 
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  NBC Chicago features Tavi Gevinson

Updated August 23, 2012


Teen Blogger Completes Nationwide Tour
Tavi Gevinson launched her magazine, "ROOKIE" in 2011

By Mitchell Grogg
Monday, Jul 30, 2012

She's run a blog since 2008, sat in the front row at various fashion shows, and just weeks ago finished up a New York to Los Angeles tour put on by her magazine, "ROOKIE" -- and she's just 16.
At the helm of the tour called the "ROOKIE Road Trip," Tavi Gevinson hit the road to "meet up with you guys and do stuff like get ice cream and make zines and talk about our feelings," she said on the magazine's website.
That tour was featured in a profile by The New York Times. At an event along the tour in New York City, Gevinson arrived to a dozens of admirers. The profile described the fans as "precocious, indie-minded, with a D.I.Y. fashion sense and a belated love of the slacker cartoon 'Daria.'"
By age 13, Gevinson's writing had appeared in Harper's Bazaar. She had also done a video for Target.
Last year, Gevinson also announced an intention to write a book, due out in September, according to Canada's National Post.
Looking back as the tour neared its end, Gevinson noted on her magazine's website, "I'm not prepared to reflect on any part of this yet, and I will wait until our events here in L.A. are over to even try."
One place nobody will find those reflections when they do happen, however, is Gevinson's Facebook page, as she notes on her blog, "i do not have a facebook page or profile."
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Tavi Gevinson on Fashion and Style

Updated August 23, 2012


Tavi Gevinson on the Fashion Industry: "I got a little too close to it, and that was kind of saddening", Teen Blogger Covers Bust Magazine

By Kadia Blagrove
Jul 30, 2012

No that isn't Michelle Williams; it's the famous teen fashion blogger, Tavi Gevinson. The 16-year-old fashion maverick covers the August issue of Bust, a feminist magazine. Bust is known for highlighting off-beat ladies like Gevinson.
The once gawky red-headed tween is now a mature chic blonde (a blonde for now anyways). The shoot features the petite blogger in trendy fall looks in an outdoorsy setting.
Gevinson is a wunderkind indeed. Besides being a front row staple at fashion shows around the world, the teenager has also published her own magazine, Rookie. One of her editors (who is significantly older than she) interviewed Gevinson for the cover story. The young fashionista discussed her life since fame, her changed perception of fashion, and her plans for the future.
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On asking her parents for permission to be in the New York Times at age 12:
"I think I was like, 'So, this is something I've been doing on the Internet, and I just post about what I like and, blah, can I be in this thing?' They were in total disbelief, because that is just not our world. They didn't think that their kid would randomly ask, 'Oh, by the way, can I be in The New York Times?' They didn't really know that I was interested in fashion."
On getting over the major criticism made by older fashion professionals:
"I came to realize that this was just a dumb thing on the Internet. I felt like, ultimately, these are people who are sitting at computers forming very angry opinions about a 12-year-old. I think I was confusing to people, because it wasn't like I was a child actor or whatever. There hasn't been a
well-worn trajectory for me to follow. I've never been able to be like, 'Oh, I can't make this move because when this other 12-year-old fashion blogger did that, this happened'."
On making her parents understand her creative dream:
"I think my mom said, 'Tavi, I think it's so great that you come home and you do creative things instead of all these kids who are just hanging out'."
Does she find fashion superficial?
"In reality, everyone thinks about how they look. And it's silly to expect anyone to completely disregard the ways in which they're compelled to look a certain way. It's better to turn it around and make it about expressing yourself and feeling comfortable with yourself. If you don't want to think about what you look like at all, I also think that's great!"
On her "I'm not really that into fashion anymore" blog post that angered many of her followers:
"The more my blog's audience has grown, the more I've had doubts about what I write. But I've always ended up happy when I've been honest. That one was the kind of thing where I just felt weird sitting down to write my blog all of a sudden. Something felt insincere about it. Basically, in this blog post, I talked about how I sat next to Anna Wintour at a Band of Outsiders show, and she asked me, 'When do you go to school?' I just felt like, When do your models go to school?"
On her realization of the real fashion industry
"There's a lot of hypocrisy. In a way, fashion had been this magical thing that I was obsessed with. I was just such a fan. But then I got a little too close to it, and that was kind of saddening. [...] There wasn't any real enthusiasm coming from the people who were there for what was going on around us, even though it should have been this exciting, creative thing. I felt funny about that experience. I wanted to start writing about other things on my blog, branching out from fashion."
On her college plans
"It just has to be a situation where I don't have to take classes I don't want to take. College is for studying things you are truly interested in. I don't want to have to take another math class, and I don't want dorm life. I know that much."

 
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  The Daily Mail profiles Tavi Gevinson

Updated August 23, 2012


How 16-year-old super-blogger Tavi Gevinson juggles tenth grade with her media empire (and it doesn't hurt that her teachers are huge fans)

By OLIVIA FLEMING
30 July 2012

After starting a fashion blog at age 11; Tavi Gevinson has revealed how the now 16-year-old juggles school with building a media empire.
The tenth grader, who has her own online magazine, Rookie, admits some teachers 'seem kind of resentful' that she misses a lot of school, but others are covet fans.
Jay Lind, her freshman English teacher, told the New York Times: 'She couldn’t keep coming in saying, "I’m a fashion blogger, do you mind if I turn this in two weeks late?" But...she figured it out.'
At the start of each school year, Miss Gevinson's father, Steve, warns her teachers in their hometown of Oak Park, Illinois, about her extracurricular pursuits, but she says she still gets her homework done.
Five years ago, she started The Style Rookie, a blog where she shared her thoughts on topics ranging from Prada to school art projects, illustrated with plenty of self-portraits.

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Her meteoric rise has seen her become the 'darling' of those she had previously revered, like Miuccia Prada and Rodarte's Mulleavy sisters.
Soon she was sitting front row at fashion week, featuring on the cover's of both Pop and Love magazines, interviewing Rei Kawakubo in Tokyo and drawing praise from Lady Gaga.
'A lot of people wouldn't be comfortable taking direction from a 16-year-old. It can be a compromise of pride.'
However she was also condemned by established editors, from a Grazia editor who complained her bow was blocking a Dior runway, to Elle magazine's Ann Slowey, who doubted her blogs authenticity.
She said: 'She's either a tween savant or she's got a Tavi team.'
Proving all her skeptics wrong however, in 2010, the teenager announced a new project, the online teen-focused magazine with a nostalgic Nineties vibe, that within six days of its start, broke one million page views.
In reaching out to young girls like herself, Miss Gevinson has successfully positioned Rookie in the 'written for young girls, by young girls' editorial realm.
In a recent interview with Racked, she criticised one of her competitors, Seventeen magazine, saying: 'I feel like if I followed their articles about boys and truly believed it was as important to do certain things or avoid certain things as they say, I would probably go crazy.
'Sometimes their "embarrassing" stories are literally about boys finding out that you have your period,' she added.
With contributors like comedienne Sarah Silverman and Girls' creator Lena Dunham, to Mad Men's Jon Hamm, and actor Paul Rudd, the industry, and her teachers, are now taking her online empire seriously.
Each month, Miss Gevinson chooses a theme for the online magazine, July's theme is Freedom, and creates a digital 'mood board' that she sends out to her contributors.
The site updates three times every weekday, and though Ms Alani and another editor oversee the content, Miss Gevinson has the final say.
She explained: 'A lot of people would not be comfortable taking direction from a 16-year-old. I can definitely see it being a compromise of one’s pride.'
Miss Gevinson's parents: Steve Gevinson, a retired English teacher who now acts as her unofficial manager, and Berit Engen, who weaves Judaica-inspired tapestries, are encouraging, but have little involvement in their daughter’s career.
Radio personality Ira Glass, who is married to Rookie’s story editor, Anaheed Alani, intervened on her parent's behalf when it came the business dynamics of the new site.
He said: 'None of them had been involved with setting up a business or an intellectual property deal like this,' convince the family that they could operate independently, instead of signing a 'disheartening' contract with Say media.
Her father said: 'We just want her to grow in as healthy a way as possible and make sure she’s got a realm of normalcy in her world, which can be a little nutty.'
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Stylite calls Tavi Gevinson "Awesome"

Updated August 23, 2012


Tavi Gevinson Chills With Fans, Continues To Be Awesome

by Samantha Randazzo
July 30th, 2012

16-year-old Tavi Gevinson just wrapped a 16-city tour across America to promote Rookie and, well, just hang out with fans.
The New York Times did a profile of the blogger on the road, as she drove around the country in a 12-seater van with her Rookie contributors, stopping for impromptu photo shoots, and meet-and-greets with readers at arcades and ice cream parlors. Writer Michael Schulman recounts how Tavi breaks the ice at her get-togethers:
“Introduce yourself with an adjective that’s an alliteration of your name.’ Ms. Gevinson began. ‘Like, I’m Terrific Tavi.’ They went around: Luscious Liz, Nice Nicole, Jammin’ Jessica, Happy-to-Be-Here Heather. ‘This is like the first day of school,’ Ms. Gevinson said.”
She talked about switching up her look, ditching the crazy-colored hair, and growing out of teenage phases:
“With every phase you go through as a teenager, you have a little bit of resentment for whoever you were before. I would not want to dye my hair blue now, because I got so sick of it.”
And if you, like us, have ever wondered how Tavi maintains such a normal lifestyle, this is what her father had to say about it:
“We just want her to grow in as healthy a way as possible and make sure she’s got a realm of normalcy in her world, which can be a little nutty.”
‘A little nutty’ could even be considered an understatement, as Tavi has achieved serious celebrity status, is friends with people like Sofia Coppola and Winona Ryder, and employs people well over twice her age. Then again, if she’s willing to drive across the U.S. just to sit down with the girls who admire her like it’s the most normal thing in the world, her parents can’t have all that much to worry about.
 
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  Los Angeles Magazine interviews Tavi Gevinson

Updated August 23, 2012


Tavi Talks L.A. Style, Cartoon Palm Trees and Her West Coast Move

Elizabeth Johnson
7/30/2012


We caught up with Tavi Gevinson at TenOverSix on Sunday, where she hosted a party to celebrate Wren’s Fall collection. Guests included Jenny Lewis of Rilo Kiley, Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter as well as filmmakers Sarah Sophie Flicker and Maximilla Lukacs. The duo directed Wren’s short film "Beware of Young Girls," which was screened at the event and stars Gevinson. In the film, the 16-year-old blogger dons Wren’s new collection and contributes some major singing chops to Dory Previn’s song “Beware of Young Girls.”
At the laid-back event, guests sipped drinks from Sofia Champagne and checked out select pieces from Wren’s '60s-inspired collection, which included striped sweater dresses and double-breasted coats. Music curated by Gevinson provided the soundtrack for the evening.
After taking a break from the party for a quick bite of In-N-Out, Tavi, sporting a blue and white striped frock from Wren’s spring collection, gave us her take on L.A. fashion and why she finds the city a little spooky…

What do you find inspiring about L.A.?

It kind of looks like a cartoon. The palm trees look like tall skinny people with giant heads, and then there are crosses everywhere in the sky and it’s like a weird place of worship. I like the combination of the Hollywood sign with all these candy colored houses, but then there’s this underlying history of crime and Hollywood mysteries and there’s something spooky about all the psychics.

How would you define L.A. style?

It’s really spread out. Whenever I go to Family or Supreme, I guess skaters here have a cool style. It’s definitely more relaxed than where I live [Chicago], or New York.

Do you dress differently when you come here?

Yeah, I like to break out the '60s, '70s prints and silhouettes and colors, like pink and green and yellow, and kind of match all the candy colored houses.

Are there any preconceptions about L.A. that you have found not to be true?

I think it’s very easy for a lot of people who’ve never been here to know this one idea of L.A.that’s really just one pocket of the city and one group of people. But I think coming here the surprise was that a lot of people are really different from each other.

What are your favorite L.A. shopping spots and restaurants?

I like In-N-Out, I like Umami…I went to this vintage store Playclothes the other day that I really liked. I’ve been meaning to go to Shareen’s, and I promised my friend she would be the first one to take me to Amoeba, so that’s still on my to-do list.

Who are some of your favorite L.A. designers?

Well I love Wren and Melissa, obviously, and Kate and Laura of Rodarte, and I love Patrik Ervell.

Do you want to move to L.A. after you graduate?

Yeah, I plan on taking a gap year, and I just think it would be nice to be out here. I have to get better at driving first, because I’m really bad.
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Fashionista aspires to be more like Tavi Gevinson

Updated August 23, 2012


Six Reasons 16-Year-Old Tavi Gevinson is Cooler Than You’ll Ever Be

By HAYLEY PHELAN
Monday, Jul 30, 2012

Most 16-year-olds’ greatest accomplishments involve acing their chem final and finally getting their driver’s license–but suffice it to say, Tavi Gevinson is not “most teenagers.”
From becoming a blogging sensation (at aged 13), attending fashion weeks around the world (in the front row, to the chagrin of some fashion folks), covering major fashion magazines, then starting her own successul magazine, Rookie, and rubbing shoulders with A-listers, Tavi is pretty much killing it. This fact was further underscored by the New York Times‘s recent profile of the teenage wunderkind, which detailed all the ways in which Tavi is basically the smartest, most successful, coolest teenager working in fashion today (sorry, Lindsey Wixson).
Read on for the six reasons why Tavi is cooler than you’ll ever be (and one reason why she’s not), as came to light in the NYT piece.
She has groupies:
It was a Monday afternoon in early July, and about 200 teenagers had gathered at Littlefield, the Gowanus performance space, to see the 16-year-old fashion blogger turned online impresario.
She’s the boss of a super-successful site:
The site updates three times every weekday, and though Ms. Alani [Rookie's story editor] and another editor oversee the content, Ms. Gevinson has the final say. “A lot of people would not be comfortable taking direction from a 16-year-old,” she said. “I can definitely see it being a compromise of one’s pride.”
A-listers want to work with her:
Sarah Silverman, Lena Dunham, Jon Hamm, Paul Rudd, Judd Apatow and John Waters have all contributed to her site.

She’s pals with Winona Ryder:
(Winona Ryder once gave her a painting of Stevie Nicks.)
…And Sofia Coppola:
“I actually made a zine about all [my interests, including The Twilight Zone, Fleetwood Mac, and 90s movies] called Strange Magic,” she said, “but so far I’ve only given it to one person.” The person was Sofia Coppola.
She gets to go on a road trip with her friends…for “work.”:
The Brooklyn event was the kickoff of the inaugural Rookie Road Trip, a 16-city tour across America….The road-trippers were Hazel Cills, [a Rookie contributor]; Petra Collins, 19, a photographer from Toronto; Petra’s sister, Anna Collins, 16; Petra’s boyfriend, Avery Hunsberger, 32, the sole male traveler and designated driver, quietly resigned to both roles; and Anaheed Alani, 42, acting as adult chaperon.
And one reason she’s sometimes–sometimes–just like us? She still has to answer to her freshman English teacher.
“She struggled a little bit early on,” said Jay Lind, her freshman English teacher. “She couldn’t keep coming in saying, ‘I’m a fashion blogger, do you mind if I turn this in two weeks late?’ But I think she figured it out.”
(Hopefully this will make you feel slightly less inadequate.)
 
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  Tavi Gevinson on Jezebel

Updated August 23, 2012


Tavi Gevinson Graces Cover of Bust, Talks Feminism and Mean Girls
Jenna Sauers
16-year-old Tavi Gevinson is on the cover of Bust magazine and this week's New York Times Style section. The blogger and Rookie editor talks to the former about her interest in fashion, feminist conversion experience, and college plans. The Times tagged along on Rookie's recent road trip of readings and events across the U.S., which ended last week in California.

Tavi tells Bust about how at age 12 she convinced her parents to let her skip school to line up for the Chicago launch of H&M's Comme des Garçons collection. Gevinson pleaded her case at the family dinner table. "I just said that I thought [Comme des Garçons] was really interesting and that it meant a lot to me," says Gevinson. "Because it was not about looking attractive or looking cool or looking pretty. In retrospect, that must've been really comforting to parents who had a kid in middle school, when everyone else has, like, humping parties or whatever."

Gevinson also explains why she now spends less of her time writing about fashion and attending fashion week events. It's that mean girl Anna Wintour's fault, basically:

"I sat next to Anna Wintour at a Band of Outsiders show, and she asked me, "When do you go to school?" I just felt like, When do your models go to school?...There wasn't any real enthusiasm coming from the people who were there for what was going on around us, even though it should have been this exciting, creative thing. I felt funny about that experience. I wanted to start writing about other things on my blog, branching out from fashion."Never meet your idols.

Although Gevinson's ardour for fashion has cooled somewhat, and Rookie, the online magazine Gevinson founded at 15, is a general-interest site aimed at teenage girls, Gevinson still thinks a lot about clothes and their meanings. "Fashion can be used to assert your individuality and your control and power over how you perceive yourself and present yourself, and it can be a form of expression."
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"Rookie Number One" in The Oyster

Updated July 23, 2012



Tavi Gevinson's 'Rookie: Yearbook One' Book Will Be Out This September

It will be "SUPER GOOD-LOOKING AND SPECIAL."

Jul 06, 2012
Dijana Kumurdian


Last month, Tavi Gevinson (who contributed to Oyster #99 alongside bestfriend Petra Collins) told the Observer that she's been working on a print edition of Rookie. In her most recent Editor's letter she revealed more details about the project. The debut issue will be called Rookie: Yearbook One and will feature the best content from the 'school year' (cute!) spanning September 2011 to May 2012.

Tavi assures us that it's not going to be "a lame website-to-paper copy-and-paste situation" and that it will be "SUPER GOOD-LOOKING AND SPECIAL". The book will be full of Sonja Ahler's collages, Tavi's doodles and extras like a Meadham Kirchoff paper crown and a disc of previously unpublished contributions.

"I have a very soft spot in my heart for print magazines... If any of the articles or photo spreads from Rookie in our first nine months meant something to you, it might be kind of nice to have it in a 296-page book that you can always go back to and, I don't know, maybe even hug or feed little cookies to or something," she writes.

It'll be available to purchase this September online, in big bookstores and "a few 'finer' bookstores, like the kind where they sell zines and vegan things." Tavi, we love you.
 
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  Racked.com looking forward to "Rookie Yearbook One"

Updated July 23, 2012


School Days

Thursday, July 5, 2012
by Tiffany Yannetta

This fall, Tavi Gevinson will put out a print edition of her website, which will be called Rookie Yearbook One. And yes, it's on a sixteen-year-old's time frame: She wrote in July's editor's letter that the magazine will be "the best of the best of Rookie's content from the school year, starting in September 2011 and ending in May 2012." The $29.95 issue will also include a few "extra goodies," such as a paper crown by Meadham Kirchhoff. [The Cut]
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Tavi Gevinson

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Rookie Yearbook One




Tavi Gevinson's "Rookie Yearbook One" on Planet Notion

Updated July 23, 2012


Tavi Gevinson’s Rookie Yearbook is on the way

Planet Notion

Cute as a button and infuriatingly young, Tavi Gevinson is undeniably brilliant. And so is her online magazine for teenage girls, Rookie. It’s so good that there’s going to be a yearbook, edited by Tavi herself. Finally there’s something decent for teenagers that doesn’t have the moralising voice of Sugar or the pornographic slant of Cosmo. Hurrah! It’s due out in September, which feels pretty far away. Until then, watch Tavi talking through her wardrobe here.
 
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Tavi Gevinson

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  New York Magazine anticipates "Rookie Yearbook One"

Updated July 23, 2012


Tavi’s Print Project, Rookie Yearbook One, to Be on Sale This September

By Hilary Moss
7/5/12
New York Magazine

At a reading in Brooklyn last month, Tavi told the Observer "that she's been hard at work on Rookie’s first print edition, which should come out this fall," and in her July editor's letter on RookieMag.com, she explains more about the project, which will be "the best of the best of Rookie's content from the school year, starting in September 2011 and ending in May 2012, plus a few extra goodies, including a paper crown by Meadham Kirchhoff, a 45" flexi-disc, and more previously unseen contributions from Rookie friends." A paper crown by Meadham Kirchhoff!
She continues:
It is not, however, a lame website-to-paper copy-and-paste situation. Considering it is mostly content you can read for free online, we knew we had to really take advantage of the print situation and make sure it's SUPER GOOD-LOOKING AND SPECIAL [...] I have a very soft spot in my heart for print magazines, and I believe in the power of writing and art that you can hold in your hands, and I promise that looking at all this stuff in print is a different experience from reading it online.
Tavi adds that Rookie Yearbook One will be published by Drawn & Quarterly and priced at $29.95, before signing off, "Thank you for existing." No, thank you.
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Tavi Gevinson

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Rookie Yearbook One





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