Tavi Gevinson, founder and editor-in-chief of the online Rookie Magazine, spoke in Boston to promote her new book, “Rookie Yearbook Four.” Following the high school yearbook tradition, this fourth edition will also be the final one. Gevinson began by reading her letter from the editor that opens the book, which focused on growing up, noting Gevinson’s coming of age along with that of her website and audience. “This book compiles the best of our website’s senior year, and I’ve been graduated from high school and living alone in a new city for the duration of it,” she read.
Gevinson read two more previous letters from the editor, which contained her thoughts ranging from musings on Taylor Swift’s “Style” to the distinction between friendship and romance.
“I worry now that I am doomed to be a fangirl forever,” Gevinson read from her August letter, for an issue with the theme “give and take.” True to her self-assigned fangirl status, Gevinson speaks in a language of pop culture references. She quotes Fiona Apple lyrics, and moments later alludes to the fight between Jay-Z and Solange at last year’s Met Gala. Even her haircut called for a reference, and she called it “the cut that prompted Frank Sinatra to divorce Mia Farrow.”
The majority of Gevinson’s time on stage was spent answering questions. The audience, made up mostly of high school and college-aged girls, asked several questions about how the author deals with being so successful at such a young age. Gevinson responded that she wanted to demystify the myth of success, mentioning that she was more nervous about her website now than she had been when she started it.
Gevinson clarified that there were certain downsides to growing up in the spotlight as she had done. She first gained attention after starting a fashion blog called Style Rookie at just 11 years old. This blog led to interviews in publications including The New York Times and invitations to Fashion Week in Paris and New York. To illustrate her point about the difficulties of growing up with fame, she cited the Britney Spears song “Lucky.”
Gevinson did not refer to herself, as the audience did, as extremely successful. Yet, the 19 year old New York University freshman has an impressive resume. Along with her online presence, Gevinson has acting credits to her name as well. She was in 2012’s Enough Said, and costarred in This Is Our Youth on Broadway alongside Michael Cera. In addition, Gevinson has spoken at TedxTeen and been featured on the cover of Nylon magazine’s “It Girl” issue.
Despite these accomplishments, Gevinson seems mostly unaffected by her fame. When the audience began to applaud midway through reading her letter, Gevinson stopped for a moment and looked genuinely surprised.
“I just touched gum,” she said in mock disgust after placing her hand on the underside of the podium, before laughing along with the audience. Gevinson was careful not to take herself too seriously, and kept the atmosphere light. Rookie Yearbook Four is a continuation of Gevinson’s in-person charm, in which the first section begins with a selfie from Gevinson’s last ever day of high school.
Photo courtesy of stylishofsorts.com.