Tavi Gevinson in Vogue Australia

“Tavi Gevinson on feminism, sacrificing procrastination, and creativity” / Vogue Australia / Zara Wong / 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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