She first came to our attention as a twelve-year-old style blogger. Then she became an online magazine writer and editor, since which time we've also seen her flex her political muscles and take on acting roles. At the ripe old age of 19, the one-time fashionista is Portland-bound to talk about the fourth Rookie yearbook and why she keeps returning to Stumptown.
Rookie began as your personal blog and has spiraled into so much more. Do you feel yourself separating from it as it grows or does it still feel very personal?
That’s a great question. I’m still dealing with a lot of stuff from high school. Dealing with anxiety and other things. But I don’t need Rookie as an outlet the way I did when I was 15. It’s a blessing to have that separation. It makes me want to know about what we can do better for our readers and be more receptive to feedback. I want to know what do other people need to hear about. I’m gaining more of a perspective.
Now that you are out of high school do you think the concept of Rookie’s yearbooks will change?
No, the voice of Rookie is there are many voices. We don’t want it to just be about me and my experiences. It’s never good to get into a Face of Feminism/Voice of a Generation thing. We’re about finding a common thread.
You talk about being a feminist and many of your writers do as well. Do you think that word has been embraced more by your young readers or become more controversial?
I think it’s becoming less stigmatized. It’s hard to generalize thousands of people’s views, so I don’t want to speak for all. I’m not interested in forcing that narrative; I just can’t remove that filter from myself and how I see things. I also think it’s just being used more, and becoming more a part of mainstream culture.
When you’re planning the stories, do you think about your teen demographic of who to write for or do you want Rookie to grow in age with you?
It begins with me asking, “What am I interested in?” We do have an editorial agenda, but we try to start with what we’re interested in. I have other outlets for how to process my thoughts, but I don’t have it all figured out and I think that’s the consensus with becoming an adult. I don’t think I’ll ever be someone who doesn’t need to examine what’s wrong with me or wrong with the day. I think by being creative, I can continue to progress and grow. I don’t want you to have to be a fan of me to be a fan of Rookie. I never want to write something that’s too specific to my life that it doesn’t resonate.
I like that Rookie is a space that’s about trying things out, including style. How much do you think your personal style reflects who you are?
I like that sometimes your outfit is who you are, and sometimes it’s an escape from who you are and sometimes you find out the escape is actually who you are. It’s nice to be able to have it change your day. Sometimes I am so stoked that my brain has a doll to dress up, being my body. If my day is bumming around NYC, going to museums or out, then I want to dress it up and make it an adventure. But when I’m acting I don’t like to come with much of an identity, I want just be comfortable and open.
Do you think costumes influence your acting a great deal then?
I just have so many personal attachments to my stuff, pieces that remind you of things. It’s great to have something that isn’t a story to you, it’s just clothing that someone hands you for the role. That being said, I don’t want to jinx myself that I can’t wear whatever. I never want to have certain rituals that I feel I have to believe that no matter what.
You’ve been to Portland before, what are you looking forward to in our city?
Oh yeah. I was just in Austin and saw they had some and almost grabbed one, but then remember I am about to go to Portland figured I should wait for the source. And of course, our readers really show up and are welcoming, but we are lucky to have that in many places. Sometimes I feel Rookie could be its own little city.
Tavi Gevinson will be at Powell's Cedar Hills Crossing on Sunday, November 1 at 2pm.