Tavi and Rookie

Tavi Gevinson (photo by Emily Berl for The New York Times)

Each year I give my students a personal survey, a list of many questions I want them to answer that help me learn who they are. On several of the completed surveys this year, I learned of a website for teenage girls started by a 15 year old (now 16), Tavi Gevinson, from Oak Park Il, which had a million hits after its first 5 days. Granted, the founder of the site already had been blogging since she was 11. She is a precocious but grounded fashionista, who has independently created her own style and has been adopted by the fashion world as a creative genius. She seems utterly unaffected, in fact quite unpretentious, by all the attention she has generated and the celebrity status she has achieved. She is remarkably genuine, nonplussed, authentic, still a sophomore in Oak Park Illinois getting her homework done.

I have only just begun to explore her second site, Rookie, but it seems to set just the right tone, is edgy and counter-cultural, stylish. Articles connect to issues important to teenage girls, but I might say, a particular kind of teenage girl. There are articles ranging from fashion to politics, from sexuality to DIY craft projects, from music to feminism, but it is not glam or commercial, definitely not Seventeen Magazine. Perhaps it is because the tone and energy comes from a real teenager working through real teenage issues, who just also happens to be incredibly articulate, sensitive, bright, confident, and poised. Many of the articles are submitted from her readership but also from a team of young female (with one exception) writers. Tavi Gevinson remains the editor but she uses the talents of Anaheed Alani (married to Ira Glass) as her story editor.

A couple of my students told me that they have submitted articles but none of them have ever been published. Not yet at least. They talk about Tavi like she is a rock star and there is something incredibly sincere about their connection to the candid and empowering voice she has given to teenage girls and teenage concerns. It’s remarkably refreshing, positive, and constructive. My students seem pretty excited I have been exploring Rookie. I look forward to getting to know the site better and getting to know my female students better because of my time spent there. After all, it has been quite a while since I was a teenage girl.

Perhaps I should let the site’s founder discuss the blog herself in the Ted Talk below which she gave when she was 15.

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4 Responses to Tavi and Rookie

  1. I am impressed. I think she has something that can be applied to everyone, man and woman. I am 67 years old and still trying to “figure it out!” Thanks Tavi.

  2. She is just amazing. So natural. This is the first I’m learning about her. Thank You! My daughter will be ready for her site in a few years I think!

  3. Jan, I do love your posts. I have heard a bit about Tavi and am sharing your post and the video with my FB people and my 14 year old. I don’t think I can be Stevie Nicks because all those ribbons and lace will get caught in my washer soap drawer as I fill up another load…but I can surely consider being ‘apologetically me’. Just like you. xo S

  4. Jerome Bloom says:



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