One of my all-time favorite recaps of Parenthood (Oh, you don’t read multiple recaps of Parenthood?) has had a running feature for most of Season 5 called “Did anybody mention Haddie Braverman… Even Tangentially?” Once the beloved eldest Braverman grandchild went to college, and Sara Ramos officially left her recurring role, there seemed to be a curse put upon Haddie’s name, never to be spoke on of again. Not on holidays. Not while her mother was running for office. NEVER! Until now: Haddie has come out of hiding, the curse has been lifted, and the Bravermans are welcoming her back from a long, holiday-less sophomore year at college with open arms. And they better open them a little wider, because she’s bringing her new girlfriend, and that girlfriend is being played by Tavi Gevinson, who's a rather formidable presence herself.
If you’re one of those people who has a hard time liking Lena Dunham because she became successful at such a young age, then you might want to turn tail out of here right about now. While scoring a guest spot on Parenthood would be a huge leap for most 17-year-olds from small town Illinois, it hardly even makes the Top 10 Things I Did in High School for Gavinson.
In 2008, when Gevinson was 11-years-old she started a blog from her suburban Illinois town called Style Rookie. She wrote about fashion – a combination of an expansive couture knowledge and imaginative thrifting reality – with the kind of writer’s voice most bloggers never find, adding to her dream-like posts, self-styled self-portraits fit for the artsy fashion pages of Wonderland or Nylon.
As her blog began to catch the voice-hungry eyes of fashion magazine readers, and buzz reached the ears of fashion editors and journalists, many began to wonder if any pre-teen could write with such assuredness and creativity, and further, once the invites to Fashion Weeks began rolling in, if any 12-year-old with a computer and a camera deserved so much attention. This was, after all, before every fashion blogger began expecting six seasons, a movie, and a book just from posting their OOTD (that's outfit of the day, to those not in the know). But Gevinson just kept writing. With Style Rookie readers came Gevinson profiles and meet-and-greets with Anna Wintour, but as with most teenage girls, Gevinson’s interests began to stray outside of the confines of New York Fashion Week.
In 2011, at the age of 15, Gevinson founded Rookie Magazine as a joint venture with Jane Pratt and alongside appointed managing editor, Anaheed Alani, formerly of The New York Times. Rookie is a website for teenage girls, inspired by Style Rookie’s fashionable beginnings, and even more so by the flower crown-adoring, The Virgin Suicides dream-board-making, teenage loving, high school hating, art promoting, feminist e-zine it became. Gevinson now oversees a staff of over 80, writes essays, pens a monthly editor’s note, interviews the hero likes of Mindy Kaling and Amy Poehler and attends high school, all on a $25/week allowance — her parents, bless them, still try to keep her life “full of normal teenage stuff.”
Among that normal teenage stuff is an interest in acting, which Gevinson first explored in a role alongside Julia Louise-Dreyfus in James Gandolfini’s last film, Enough Said. A successful run there led to her casting in the Broadway debut of This Is Our Youth with Michael Cera in August. So why not tack on a Parenthood guest star spot? And why not on the season finale, and during Haddie Braverman’s long-awaited return home? And why not as her new lesbian college lover? As you may have noticed, whether intentional or not, Gevinson doesn’t do many things without making a splash.