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It's not hard to believe that at just 19, Tavi Gevinson is already an esteemed fashion blogging vet with Broadway and silver screen stints under her belt—a quick chat with the brainiac style star will reveal why she's earned accolades like "wise beyond her years" and "wunderkind" among the press. We caught up with the Rookie editor on the penultimate stop of her Yearbook 4 tour, which invaded Los Feliz's Skylight Books this past weekend (and on Halloween, no less).
With pals like Lorde, Kiernan Shipka, and Willow Smith—who are also contributors to Rookie 4—and her "yes, you can sit with us" ethos, it's no wonder fashion folks of all ages (including us) are lining up to join Gevinson's dance party-obsessed girl gang. Case in point: when Hunger Games star Amandla Stenberg arrives Skylight, she reveals her recent run-in with her incredibly cool crewmates in New York this summer.
"The last time I saw you I remember I walked to your apartment, and then Willow and I saw each other from across the street," Stenberg tells Gevinson, who's offering everyone candy backstage before the event starts. "Later Willow messaged me—she was like, 'I just have to say how special that moment was. You guys are my true friends...I walked down the street outside of [Tavi's] apartment and then we said 'goodbye' across the street and just head-nodded." (Yup, we're jealous.)
Out on digital and IRL newsstands now, the last and "senior year" edition of Gevinson's teen-focused magazine ($29.95) is packed with 350-plus pages of stories, interviews, editorials, collages, and more, including an adolescence survival guide penned by Rashida Jones, a glimpse into Charli XCX's wardrobe, a teen bedroom diorama, stickers, and other cool print-only exclusives.
We caught up with pint-sized EIC (and face of Clinique) to find out if she still plans on moving to LA, how she feels about being a role model, why Drake makes her "incredibly" sad, and more. Read on below and pick up Rookie Yearbook 4 at Skylight Books or online now.
The last time we sat down together, you mentioned that you wanted to move to LA. Is that still in the plan?
Pfff, I don't know when [now]. I love it here; I spend a lot of time here. I have a friend who lives on the [Venice] canals and I really like to stay with her because it’s just really beautiful.
Are there any shops you make it a point to visit when you're in town?
Shareen's [in Downtown]. I just like really like to see my friends out here and relax and not leave the house. In New York, you’re never in your apartment—actually that’s not really true. But here [in LA], it's much more of the culture of people who take pride in their homes and how they decorate their house.
How has Rookie evolved from Yearbook 1?
We have a lot more contributors; a lot of the first contributors have gotten older. I would hope that it feels this way to our readers that a lot more different kinds of experiences are represented in the later books, especially the fourth one. To me, that's been the biggest thing. It's been such a literal growth with more people and more voices.
Anyone in particular that you find the most inspiring?
So many people all the time! There was a girl at a Rookie event recently a couple of weeks ago, but she was dressed as Halloween. She [told me], "I dress in orange and black every day because I love Halloween so much, and my dad as a gift painted my rotary phone orange and black." I extend so much admiration and respect for anyone who's that devoted to things that make them happy.
But in terms of public people, Amandla Stenberg, [who] is doing a Q&A [today]. She inspires me because she's just so the authority on her own life and cares about other people her age. I feel like most social media interactions are kind of frivolous, but she's there for people who look up to her in such a real way.
You stopped blogging about fashion in 2011. What's your relationship like with the industry now?
Fashion Week in September for me just meant seeing my friend's shows who also happen to be some of my favorite designers—Rodarte, Creatures of the Wind, Rachel Antonoff. Maybe going to their parties, but I didn't feel like I was at Fashion Week. It's really nice with all of these sorts of worlds that I'm minorly a part of to get to drop in, get what I want, tailor it to what I care about, and then leave.
I love shows like theirs because they're really beautiful, and they have good taste in music and they always choose something really interesting and the clothes are beautiful in person. Rodarte, especially. It's just more enjoyable.
Are you excited about their collab with & Other Stories?
I didn't even know about that! I'm excited for their movie.
Speaking of fashion, what are you into these days?
I was never into pants [but I] recently got super into trousers. And feeling basically like Oliver! the musical version of a young person. Comfy clothes—that's what I'm into right now.
There are a ton of great costumes here today. What are you dressed as?
I'm Drake's "Hotline Bling" video—but I'm gonna ask someone here to draw me a Drake to affix to this. I was watching [the music video] in the car just to figure out what I was going to look for in the store and it created this incredible sadness inside of me. That video and song are both so sad. It's also that feeling when it's so good, it just hurts, and I'm like, "How can I live my life in service of this video?"
Now that you're in the "adult" world, do you feel like you need to find a way to relate to Rookie's younger fans?
I don't really feel like I have to "find a way" to relate to them, I just kind of do. I also think that it's okay to not relate to someone. I love reading things by people whose lives are nothing like mine and there's still something in the emotional plane that I relate to, if not the experience. Last night in San Francisco, a girl asked me what's the biggest lesson I've learned since moving to a big city because she's about to start college.
The first thing out of my mouth was, "People are terrible," and then I felt really bad. I was like, I don't mean to be dark, I don't want to bum you out; it's been my experience that you just come into contact with a lot of people and naturally a lot of them don't share your values.
But then people kept saying, "Thanks for saying that. I know you felt bad because it's negative but it's actually good to talk about." It's kind of like being the big sister in a unique way without sounding bitter, hopefully.
On that note, do you ever feel pressure to be a role model?
No, I mean it's only when there are parents at Rookie events and I'm like, Oh right, these are people's daughters. But I'm also like, "Well they're my peers; they think for themselves." If anything I do feels not right for someone else, I trust that they know that. But I also don't think that I've set myself to not ever be able to fail.
It's not like I'm a Disney star and people are like, "I like her because she doesn't stumble out of clubs wasted." People [say] "I like her because she does her thing." If you don't have stuff like that, people are like, "So do you have time to make mistakes? Do you get to mess up and have time to be normal?" So you can't really win. And I can basically forgive myself for any mishaps, I don't know. Not that I'm a crazy partier, I think it's fine.
You once wrote that you wanted to be a cat and live nine lives. Now that you've tackled movies and Broadway, what's next for you?
There are lots of types of writing that I want to try and I feel like I have ideas that would actually make a better short story than an article, or a better film than a short story. I am just trying to learn as much as possible so I can try different things, but it's not like I have a master plan. I also want everything to be good in itself and not just a matter of checking off something on a list.
Now that you're on the second to the last stop on the tour, what's been one of the most memorable things so far?
Oh, man, every stop on this tour was amazing. I was so moved by just the basic fact that I can go across the country and live a pretty different life than most high schoolers do. My life changed really quickly through my adolescence but especially once I moved to New York; I'm not in college [and I've been] working full-time in somewhat high-pressure situations.
The most heartening thing is that I feel like we're cut from the same cloth in a way and have the same values. One girl said to me, "You're so good at being yourself." I thought, Oh right, that's all I have to do; that's why people liked my blog, that's why people read Rookie—not because I'm some huge personality but because I listen to myself and follow that voice.