If you want to know what’s going on in your teenage daughter’s mind, move your mouse on over to Rookiemag.com. The site is run by Tavi Gevinson, a former fashion blogger from Illinois who realized there was a cyber need out there for young women to not only vent but also get informed.
The general theme: If you’re experiencing weird feelings and are confused by life, you’re not alone. Since its 2011 inception, the colorful site has grown to include such famous guest contributors as Paul Rudd, Joss Whedon and Lena Dunham, and Gevinson has become a force to be reckoned with. Time magazine named the 19-year-old one of the 25 Most Influential Teens of 2014.
We spoke to the sometime actress (Enough Said) during a Monday evening stop at Books & Books Coral Gables for a Q&A about her latest book, Rookie Yearbook 3. It was her first trip to South Florida.
What do you want readers to know about this book?
There’s a wide range of topics and it’s also long, so you might have to dig around for the topic you’re looking for. So many different life situations are covered. But I think there’s also a great deal of work in there that is not necessarily about relating to someone else’s situation or getting answers for something you are going through — there’s just really beautiful writing, photography and artwork, as well.
You’ve accomplished so much in your 19 years. Who inspires you?
So many people! Right now I am really inspired by comedian Tig Notaro because besides being so funny, hearing her on her podcast makes me feel remarkably sane. Love her attitude toward success, relationships and health. I’ve also been reading Renata Adler, and she is changing how I see the world and New York, where I now live. There are young women in my life like [singer] Lorde and [Colombiana] actress Amandla Stenberg, whom I strongly identify with and take after because they deal with being young, independent people in adult industries with such grace.
This is your third “Rookie Yearbook.” What is your writing/editing process?
I try to feel not self-conscious — this usually means starting it as an email to a friend I trust and don’t feel the need to explain or qualify anything to — and write out everything I know that I need to say. Then, depending on where the piece will end up, I might edit it, and take out anything that’s in there for my personal need but not because it strengthens the piece. I also have a library card catalog in my apartment full of notecards for material to pull from or random thoughts I have that can find a home in a new piece of writing. There are drawers for strange social tics I notice in myself and other people, for funny stories that happened, for word vomit/poetry/one-liners, and for notes on individual essays I’m working on.
What do you think is one of the biggest problems facing teens/tweens/young adults these days?
It’s different for everybody, but one thing that’s drastically different from when my parents were growing up is the volume of information available online. I see this as largely a positive thing, but can also be scary, like when I think about the number of straight young men who are now learning about sex through highly unrealistic porn. I hope Rookie can act as the antidote to that for someone. That’s why it’s so important to me that we have articles about sex and relationships that might seem really explicit, but are really trying to correct some of the potentially damaging information girls are given about how you ‘should’ become a sexual person.
What are your plans while here?
Chilling in a hotel room alone seems like an appropriate thing to do. Or recreating the Miami episode of Louie.