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When you were 16 years old, how adept were you at evading the ever-present threat of procrastination? Even better, how many times did you scramble to get your homework done in lunch or half-ass a history paper after you overslept (probably because you were too busy talking to your crush on AIM) just to avoid turning it in late? And how many times were you excused from 7th period because you had to sit front row alongside Chloe Sevigny at the Rodarte show? If you answered "terribly, at least a dozen, four, not even once," then it sucks to be you because you're not Tavi Gevinson.
As if she needs an introduction, Tavi is a 16-year-old self-made media mogul whose career ignited in 2008 when she was just an out-of-place 11-year-old taking photos of her grandma outfits in her Chicago backyard. In between going to school and having a social life, Tavi runs online mag Rookie, which registered more than 13 million pageviews in its first 6 months. To celebrate her sweet 16, Ms. Gevinson sat down with Business of Fashion editor Imran Amed to talk about how she finds a balance in a mixed up world of metrics and feminism. Check out my favorite quotes below.
On how she does it all:
I divide my day up in two. I have school and I have Rookie, work related commitments, homework time and I have sleep, and then I have a slot for time to myself, or time to hangout with friends, or time to just relax and that kind of thing. So I just try to make sure I go through all of those without getting distracted or without procrastinating or starting on another thing too early and just try to do one thing at a time. My schedule also happens to be [the] schedule of all of our readers so [I post an article] once right after school, once at dinner and once right before bed, and that works out. I think it’s nice, it’s all about the reader’s schedule in a way.
On the notable shift from fashion to pop culture (and the like):
I haven’t purposely distanced myself from it, my interests have just shifted a bit. I still love clothes and fashion. I guess it’s just for me to create my own world and I’m now more interested in music and in movies and in other kinds of writing. Also with Rookie, I don’t have time to keep up with a lot of fashion stuff. I feel when I was once obsessed with fashion, I was more defensive of it – the modeling, the weight standards, the beauty standards it sets, and how young the models are."
On how she makes money:
Advertising is our main source of revenue and right now we are looking into ads on the site that aren’t just the banner ads. We do sponsored content that doesn’t alter the editorial content at all. There will just be a logo and then at the bottom it will say "this post was sponsored by whatever," but they didn’t tell us how to write it.
On her stance on feminism not being just a teenage phase:
Personal beliefs change as you change as a person, but because feminism is a conversation and a process, and not rule book and leads the way for those beliefs to change, I know that I will always agree with the basic principles, so that’s why I feel I can safely say this isn’t a teen angst phase.
On what really matters:
It’s really nice to go home to my bedroom and my friends and things that seemed very mundane when I was in middle school, which are very valuable to me now.