9 Gems From Tavi About Fashion, Feminism, & Life

by Jodie Layne

Tavi Gevinson has lived a whirlwind of a life by 19: She's started her own magazine, published three anthologies, appeared on Broadway, starred in a film, sat front row at Fashion Week, given a TED talk, and made friends with Anna Wintour and Karl Lagerfeld. And this week, Tavi Gevinson spoke to The Daily Mail about her views on fashion, feminism, and about how she stays productive while balancing all of the aspects of her career(s) and having a life. As usual, she dropped some major truth bombs and proved why she's a a force to be reckoned with. Not to mention, she reminded us that fashion and feminism go hand in hand.

Gevinson's creative feats, and her outspoken feminism, have made her one of the faces of Clinique's new "Face Forward" campaign, which features accomplished young women. Starting her own fashion blog — Style Rookie — at only 11 years of age, Gevinson was one of fashion's runaway successes from that tender age. Her couture-esque fashions, designed by her in the suburbs, caught the attention of the fashion elite and she was watching Fashion Week from the front row shortly thereafter. Most young feminists are probably more familiar with her publication Rookie, though.

After becoming disillusioned with her insider's look at fashion, Gevinson launched Rookie to the tune of a million views within its first six days. The online magazine is famous for focusing on the actual issues that young women face — like sexuality, race, heartbreak, feminism, and friendship — and prominently featuring the voices of actual young women. The site is both critically renowned and beloved by its readers. Oh yeah, and Gevinson's also an actress who has starred on Broadway and alongside Julia Louis-Dreyfus in the film Enough Said.

Here are nine of the best moments from The Daily Mail interview:

1. When She Recognized What Beauty's Really About

"My beauty icons are women who have remained beautiful and true to themselves through the years. Cate Blanchett and Tilda Swinton seem so comfortable in their own skin and have iconic presence."

"When I’m really blown away by a woman’s beauty in a movie, it’s because she’s really giving herself to the performance. My friends are beautiful to me when they’re being funny, sweet, and sincere."


2. When She Talked About Her Form Of Resilence While Getting Teased In High School

When talking about her first NYFW experience, she said:

"I was, like, this is it. I got this one cool experience and now I was back to school, where I was made fun of for what I wore."

"In the beginning I was inspired by theatrical designers, and I’d try to replicate those looks. If I got made fun of, I’d try to look even weirder. Sometimes fashion is my outlet but sometimes I just wear a comfortable white shirt so that I can go about my day and put my energy into making other cool stuff."

It's always reassuring to remember that even those people who have made their reputation — and created platforms and jobs around fashion — don't feel like going all out all the time.

3. When She Looked At The Fashion Industry Through A Critical Lens

"Sometimes I worry that people think I’m shallow because I write about fashion, or used to. I think that fashion can be friends with feminism and it can be a tool for self-expression and empowerment. But there are flaws in the industry that grind my gears."

Being able to see past the glitz and glamour or enjoyment of something and look at it critically is such an important life skill to have.

4. When She Talked About Being Disillusioned After Meeting Anna Wintour

"I sat next to Anna Wintour at a Band of Outsiders show, and she asked me, 'When do you go to school?' I just felt like saying, 'When do your models go to school?' In a way, fashion had been this magical thing that I was obsessed with. But then I got too close to it, and that was kind of saddening."

5. When She Talked About Her Self-Image Struggles And Triumphs

"I did have an experience [during] my first year of high school where I realized how that world can make you so anxious about how bad you come off that you can’t really see outside yourself."

"I’ve wondered why I don’t have worse body issues; I think it’s because [when I started blogging at 11] I saw myself as a child. It would have been weird to compare myself to models."

It's always nice to remember that everyone's journey to better self-image looks differently and that no one's immune to the sting of other people's words and opinions.

6. When She Talked About Not Limiting Herself And Taking Risks

"I just don’t want to limit myself. I’m not fearless, but for me the fear of holding myself back always outweighs the fear of what could happen by doing something. The first year of Rookie, I did not sleep at all, and I got horrible grades for the rest of high school. But I felt I had done this thing that was satisfying for me in a way that schoolwork never was. So when you take chances like that, there’s risk and there’s fear and there are compromises, but the thing you find could be so incredible."

While Gevinson has certainly opened a bunch of doors to her dream career early, it wasn't just luck: She worked hard and took risks.

7. When She Reminded Us That Feminism Needs A Multitude Of Voices

"I remember when the first Rookie Yearbook [the annual printed compendium of the best of the year’s online content] came out, there was a lot written about me as 'Girl Power’s last hope.' That felt like so much responsibility. One person can’t be the face of feminism. There have to be many different people, with their own relationship to the version of feminism that they identify with."

Being basically called "The Savior Of Feminism" is a lot of pressure to put on anyone and also an incomplete paradigm. Gevinson has always ensured that Rookie is as inclusive and representative as possible. It's refreshing that she realizes that she is but one of many voices and has had one of just as many experiences as a girl and young woman.

8. When She Talked About Productivity And Priorities

On her shared apartment with photographer Petra Collins:"When I come home, we get crafty, and watch TV and order pizza. Both ends of the scale of productivity and laziness are covered. I am so intense about time, and I don’t have the patience to cook — knowing that if I order dinner there will be more time to do other stuff."

Hi, can I come over?

9. When She Reminded Us That "Having All The Answers" Is Overrated

"Girls look up to me, maybe, but they know that I’ve never said I have the answers. Rookie isn’t about having the answers — it’s a place where we can discuss issues and work them out."


Images: Getty; Giphy