The Guardian Reports on Rookie's 'Ask A Grown Man'

“Tavi Gevinson's Rookie mag wants to ask Barack Obama some questions” / The Guardian / Amanda Holpuch / September 20, 2012

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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