Chicago Business- hardly sick of Tavi Gevinson

“Teen fashion blogger Tavi Gevinson handles stardom with style” / Chicago Business / 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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