Tavi Gevinson Talks Rookie, Which Launched Today!


Tavi Gevinson‘s new teen-targeted site, Rookie, launched today. And while we spent the morning poking around and waxing nostalgic about our high school years, two of our favorite fellow style sites spoke with Tavi about the idea, ethos, and inspiration behind the e-zine.

First up, our thoughts. The site is clean, easy to navigate, and the type of site a teenager currently obsessed with decades past might build. There are grainy photographs, hand-written fonts, and enough contributors to make sure there’s absolutely something for everybody. It is, first and foremost, absolutely a teen site. But that doesn’t mean those of well north of 18 should feel left out. If anything, a cursory read just made us think back somewhat fondly about those five years where both nothing and yet absolutely everything matters.

There’s a collection of essays on the first day of high school, a piece deconstructing the great expectations one can’t help but have for the mythologized experience that is High School, and a cute list of cartoon characters re-imagined as iconic teens from film and TV. The fashion inspiration story falls a bit flat (hint: more photos please!), but Tavi’s editor’s letter more than makes up for it as a beautifully written and reasoned essay on her new endeavor that we hope she keeps on her future list of clips for years to come.

We’ve included a few excerpts from Tavi’s chats with MTV Style and The Cut that really highlight how thoughtful she’s been about creating the site — and also help set the standard for how one should view it. Take a look, take a read, and let us know how you feel about Rookie. Because we’re on board.

On the name:

Ew, yeah. Can you imagine? What if we’d called it… bloss… I was going to say ‘Blossom’ and then remembered the TV show. That was different though, that was her name and the premise was very much about her blossoming. I just didn’t want to call the site one of those weird words you only hear when you go to the doctor and talk about “developing.” Or those words that only family friends use when they’re telling you you’ve grown up.

On the content:

I’m not making, like, an “it gets better” video. That would be kind of annoying from your peer, and I don’t have the experience to do that. To me, what I’m writing for the site and how I’m overseeing it, a lot of it is really almost selfish because it’s really just what I like or what I think maybe doesn’t get said enough. But there are some things that are just universal amongst teenage girls, and I don’t mean, like, slumber parties. I mean something like when you first start noticing other people noticing your body, that is a weird experience and is part of every culture somehow. I also don’t think the average American teenage girl really exists, I just think that there are shared qualities and experiences.

On editing an entire website:

A lot of websites run on a system of having to get a post up every half-hour, and a lot of those end up being filler posts because they don’t actually have that much to say. Rookie is kind of my response to that because we have three posts a day, and we plan everything a month ahead of time. And I like that. After being in all these meetings with publishing companies and advertisers and stuff, it’s like everyone just wants to trick people into reading their website. If the content is good, people will read it — you don’t have to create some funny little “trying to be cutesy” gadget or whatever to coax them. We don’t really have snappy names for our categories, they’re pretty straightforward: “Movies and TV,” “Sex and Love.” I guess a couple of the more abstract ones would be “Eye Candy,” which is a photo story by one of our photographers, or “Dear Diary,” in which four of our contributors submit a diary entry each week.

[Rookie, NY Mag, MTV Style]

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