Tastemaker and teenage prodigy Tavi Gevinson has taken the fashion world by its lapels and is shaping up to be a major player in new media. Growing up in Oak Park, Illinois, in 2008 Tavi was an eleven year-old blogging at her online destination Style Rookie. Her crisp and cultivated commentary on couture skyrocketed the tween sophisticate to the front row at runway shows across the globe. She’s earned invitations to write for aesthetic authorities like Harper’s Bazaar and Barneys.com, rubbed elbows with Vogue editor Anna Wintour, and even garnered praise from fellow fashion plate Lady Gaga, who prophetically called her “the future of journalism.”
Taking a tip from the fickle fashion world, savvy Tavi capitalized on her blog’s success and spun the spunky endeavor into an expanded online magazine including fashion, pop culture, and a fresh feminist dialog for teenage girls. In 2011 she became the founder and editor-in-chief of the web monthly Rookie Magazine.
For the past two years she’s found herself on the Forbes “30 Under 30 in Media” list. Her stable of celebrity friends and contributors grows constantly. Rookie, for example, was originally a partnership with revered editor and curator Jane Pratt, responsible for glorious glossies such as Sassy magazine and Jane. Tavi oversees Rookie solo without Pratt, but instead took on counter-culture hero Ira Glass as a mentor. Her reach has resonated with celebs such as Judd Apatow, Miranda July, Lena Dunham, Paul Rudd, Joss Whedon, Jon Hamm, and John Waters, who have also contributed.
But the pragmatic journalist doesn’t seem to have grown jaded from the superstar status her youthful triumph is building. Appearing on The Colbert Report earlier this year, Tavi was captivating: shy, yet eager and audacious. The Colbert appearance was fitting since she’s shown herself to be politically motivated. Supporting the 2012 Obama campaign, she made an appearance in a women’s rights PSA, mouthing the words to Lesley Gore’s “You Don’t Own Me.” Last year, she spearheaded a “get well” card drive for Malala Yousafzai, a fourteen-year-old Pakistani teen shot for demanding equality in education for females.
In a cultural climate where we shake our fists at the evils of internet and the lazy tech-obsessed zombie kids it’s producing, it’s easy to point to fashion blogger turned entrepreneur Tavi Gevinson as a shining example of what can be achieved with ambition, enthusiasm, and compassion. —Casandra Armour