Here’s Why We Think Tavi Gevinson Is An Awesome Role Model For Teen Girls

Tavi Gevinson

Forget all the high profile celebrities out there who are singers, actors, sports stars etc, because there is a new breed of role model in town! They are bloggers and cultural influencers, and they come in a range of ages, shapes, sizes and nationalities. They are the tastemakers, the trend setters, the mind blowers and the self-starters showing millions (yes, they usually have millions of fans…) of people around the world how they can break the mold and do something unique and creative.

Meet Tavi Gevinson, if you don’t already know her. She is the raddest 17 year old we’ve ever heard of and we only just discovered who she is. This teen prodigy fell in love with fashion at the age of 11 and decided to start an online fashion blog called The Style Rookie, and is also the creator and editor-in-chief of Rookie Mag, which is an online mag for teens filled with a random array for everything they could possibly be interested in, with a Tavi twist. She describes herself as a bit of a pop culture nerd and you can definitely see a huge difference between her curated website and all the other celeb-based websites aimed at teens.

Check this out: Rookie Mag attracted one million views within six days of launching in 2011. Clearly what she has to say, plenty of young minds and ears want to take in!

It’s no wonder she is hailed by many around the world as a teen prodigy, simply for being herself and creating a business where other teens can be inspired to stay true to themselves and not conform.

Lady Gaga once called her ‘the future of journalism’, and Tavi counts the likes of Zooey Deschanel ad Taylor Swift among her friends. But she is still a normal girl, a senior in high school from Chicago who plans on attending Brown University (where Harry Potter’s Emma Stone also went) after graduating. This week she flew out to Australia to do a series of talks and workshops, and everyone from men, women and tween girls turned up to the famous Opera House in Sydney Harbor to hear the self-confessed “fangirl” speak words of truth and wisdom (we wish we were there!).


During her early teen years Tavi discovered feminism and suddenly her perspective widened in a whole new way. She constantly came up against the idea that you can’t love fashion and feminism at the same time, AND be a teen role model, but the millions of visitors to her site seem to show that what she is doing is resounding quite clearly in the hearts and minds of young girls. The constant search of what makes a strong female character is the central focus for her personally and what drives her to be able to marry her love of fashion, feminism and pop culture together nicely. Here is her description of feminism:

Feminism according to Tavi Gevinson

Rookie Mag has a mixed bag for everything for today’s teen, from awesome recipes, funny videos, guest blog posts, celebrity interviews, and yes, even sex and relationships. Why avoid something that is a huge issue for teenagers?

“Relationships and sex and sexuality are universally and perpetually confusing for teenagers,” she said to Nick Galvin from the Sydney Morning Herald while on her Australian tour.

She does receive criticism and negativity, but Tavi doesn’t let that bother her nor stop her from doing what she loves. Overall, she wants to inspire other teens to cultivate an attitude of self-acceptance rather than self-loathing. She is showing young women especially, that you can be interested in so many different things, and still be normal.

You don’t need to be labeled, or fit into someone’s narrow perception of teens. “The most helpful thing I could have heard at 13 was just to keep good people around you … and surround yourself with things that make you happy and inspire you because it’s a very confusing time and there’s a lot going on. You just have to do your own thing” is her advice. Tavi’s idea of a modern woman is that we are more than just a one dimensional person where only one of our talents of traits define us. And we need more strong female role models in society and the media for young women to realize how beautiful all our different facets are.

Tavi says Rookie Mag is not a guide to being a perfect teen girl. “We just want to help represent girls in a way that shows those different dimensions.”

During her talk at the Opera House in Sydney, Australia, she candidly spoke about her battle with depression, being labeled a “cliche” as a young girl and how staying busy means less time to procrastinate and indulge in meaningless activities. This is great advice for her generation who are so used to having everything instantaneously and are glued to some device whether it be a phone, a console or a tablet. We should all take Tavi’s advice, no matter what your age, and create something special.

Overall, she wants teen girls to be unapologetic for who they are, and to acknowledge it’s ok to admit you are still “figuring things out” (aren’t we all). One great piece of advice she gave to her 1000+ audience in Australia was that it is never too late to do what you love. Out of the mouth of a 17 year old, and into the very souls of all of us!

Check out Tavi’s TED Talk from April 2012, and fall in love with her like we have. Goosebumps and giddy hearts!

Tavi Gevinson, Oyster Mag


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