My name is Tavi. I started a blog called Style Rookie when I was 11. When I was 15, I started, an online magazine for teenage girls. I am also an actress and appeared in Enough Said, and on Parenthood. I am currently on Broadway in This Is Our Youth alongside Michael Cera and Kieran Culkin.



Update: I'm out, but thanks for all the thoughtful questions!

Comments: 140 • Responses: 29  • Date: 

Maddwithherbox17 karma

What is your perfect pizza?

How do you deal with the pressure of being looked up to/a role model?

Also, since you've been producing content and publishing things from such a young age do you ever regret things you said/posted/etc. When you were younger?

Also I really want to thank you for creating Rookie, a place where I go everyday, over and over again it makes me feel a little bit less alone and a little more understood. You are someone I really admire and having met you briefly at a Rookie yearbook halloween party last year I want to also say thanks for being even more ridiculously cool than I'd expected. Your dancing was so on point, jamming out with you is definitely on the highlights reel of my short life! essentially you rock don't ever change…. (please get lizzie mcguire reference) … or do because change is growth or something …… yeah

TaviGevinson12 karma

  1. Thank you for reading Rookie, for coming to our event, for writing this really nice note about it, and for including the Lizzie McGuire yearbook reference!
  2. Perfect pizza...just pepperoni.
  3. I'm comfortable with my relative role model status as it relates to my creative pursuits. But I'm very happy that it doesn't seem contradictory to the work that I do that I should also have space to experiment and make questionable personal life-related decisions like anyone else my age. I'm pretty pleased to meet girls at Rookie events who feel inspired by Rookie to make their own shit but aren't looking to me as like, a beacon of purity.

Frajer10 karma

you started blogging about fashion at such an early age, and I was wondering if there was anything you found fashionable then that you look at now and wonder why you liked it?

TaviGevinson28 karma

I was such a grump/crank/angsty teen about what it meant to be "fashionable" that everything I wore was like, decisively unflattering. Like, "Ooh, this resembles a Muppet soaked in salad dressing, how cool that I get to sport it on my bod!" So even if I see an old photo of myself and know that I wouldn't wear that now, I'm glad I gave myself permission at that time to go for it because it made me more confident and it was just really fun.

minnesconsin9 karma

Given that your rise to fame has connected you in a gajillion cool ways, I'm wondering what's it like to go from celebrating and collaging your inspiration and nostalgia to actually being immersed in it. How does your feeling about someone/something you adored within your bedroom or with your circle of friends change when you have the opportunity to personally interact with it?

Thanks for doing this AMA. :)

TaviGevinson10 karma

This is a really good question!

Compartmentalization? I don't know. I haven't been disappointed by many people. But should I find myself becoming close to someone I used to idolize beyond just a brief introduction, I quickly crystallize/mentally archive whatever relationship I had to their work before and start to see them as a person instead. Like, say Dan Clowes had been a jerk when I'd interviewed him -- he was LOVELY, but hypothetically. That still wouldn't take away from what Ghost World meant to me when I was 14. That was its own magical happenstance entirely. So yeah, compartmentalization.

mangoesmangoes7 karma

How are you liking New York City? What drew you here and what do you like to do in your free time?

TaviGevinson10 karma

I love it! I'm here to do the play but I was gonna move here anyways. In my free time...Rookie staff hangouts. Projecting movies on our roof. Taking long walks while listening to the Royal Tenenbaums soundtrack. I'm very happy here.

coypolloi5 karma

Hi Tavi! I watch your hilarious beehive hair tutorial probably once a month and crack up every time you say "A GUN." I heard you say that again in an interview recently... would you say it's A Thing You Do?

TaviGevinson1 karma

I don't know why I keep pulling out the gun jokes? I should probably stop!

auberjean5 karma

(I'm sorry I'm posting again, I just realised I forgot a question!)

I was also wondering what your favourite guilty pleasure sort of film is - i.e. what is your favourite crappy film?? This is a super important q.

thanks so much!! keep on being awesome tavi !! <3

TaviGevinson14 karma


elysiazz4 karma

Tavi--as a young 21yo woman, myself, I admire you so much. It's amazing to watch you accomplish such great things, so early in your life and so quickly.

I'm always curious about the consequences of fame, in all of its forms, and I've read a few of your interviews in which you've mentioned imposter syndrome (which was astonishing and touching to read about, coming from you and Emma Watson, btw, because it's always a little bit impossible to imagine someone so successful feeling inadequate), and I'd love to hear about what coping/dealing mechanisms you have for those feelings?

I'm sorry, uber personal, I know, but it'd mean the world to me to hear some real and honest and applicable dealing strategies you've had.

TaviGevinson24 karma

Impostor syndrome is the bane of my existence. I look to my role models and remember that nobody, no matter how "aw shucks" they seem in interviews, can get anything done without, well, ~believing in themselves~. I try to stay so inspired to get work done that there isn't even time to be insecure about it, I just have to do it. (That means...watching movies, reading books, consuming, finding out what Rookie readers want to see on our site.) I also have playlists (mostly Kanye, also some Fiona Apple and Eve and Kelly Rowland and much more). Also mantras. Kate Nash told me to say to myself every morning: "I'm a badass bitch from hell and nobody can fuck with me." Saying it out loud makes it more true than if you just told yourself it in your head. So I recommend that. You got this.

unachance4 karma

How do you prevent inspiration from becoming imitation? I’ve been inspired by so many great writers and bloggers at Rookie, xoJane, etc to work on my own online magazine project, but it’s difficult to stop my role models and muses from swamping my own unique ideas.

TaviGevinson8 karma

auberjean4 karma

Hey Tavi!! I have so much respect for you, and it makes me so happy seeing you being you and being successful. Rookie has been one of the best things to happen to the internet and is such a good place for teen girls, thanks for creating it!

My question is: does it scare you thinking about how you will have to transition one day from being a "teen sensation" into someone in their twenties, their thirties.. etc. and so on?

Thanks, Tavi! :+)


TaviGevinson10 karma

Sometimes it scares me, but I try to remember that there won't be this ONE DAY when that transition takes place. It's all gradual, one day at a time, etc. So I just try to take everything as it comes, work on stuff that is exciting to me, and eventually people will stop focusing on my age, and I actually really look forward to that.

totallymorgan3 karma

Hey Tavi, I think you're awesome. I was interning at Fallon when you came on, really inspiring. How is working with Lonergan? Has he talked to you about Margaret?

TaviGevinson5 karma

Thank you!

Kenny Lonergan is a beautiful man. He was really involved in our rehearsals in Chicago and in New York, and getting insights from him directly added ~14 layers of depth to the show and to how I play my character. When I first read the show, I interpreted it as a kind of Whit Stillman-y, semi-bleak, "Gee, aren't privileged white New Yorkers the worst but also kinda funny!" work. I went through and marked off every few lines as a whole beat. Kenny went through every word with us. I saw how no matter how colloquial the language is, it's all so charged with intention. And I developed a lot more compassion for all the characters, and saw how it didn't just have to be a funny play about semi-horrible people, but could actually be somewhat devastating and bittersweet, and that Warren, Dennis, and Jessica are all kind of heroes in their own way.

I told Kenny I'd watched Margaret and felt very affected by it and had lots of deep questions. Then, to belittle his life's work, I texted these q's instead: "Are those Matt Damon's real glasses? Is Anna Paquin tall or short? Was Matthew Broderick really drinking that orange juice or is he just a really good actor?" I was just being a pain in the ass since I knew he was so passionate about Margaret, but he thought I was serious and generously wrote back (I don't think he'd mind if I shared): "Those are not Matt Damon's real glasses--that was my idea. Anna Paquin is short. Matthew was really drinking the orange juice. It was his idea, because he remembered our English teacher was diabetic, which I'd forgotten. Which is why he's a really good actor. I have lots more trivia if you're interested. I.e., the rock where Matthew catches the girls smoking pot is the exact same rock where our English teacher actually caught me and Matthew smoking a joint in 11th or 12th grade in 1979 or 1980, and told us we can't be smoking a J on the way to a school ball game."

SO. Long answer, but. Fellow Margaret fan.

HarrisonFordFocus3 karma

If you could interview anyone for Rookie (living or dead, because zombies are people too), who would you choose and why?

TaviGevinson13 karma

Oh shit. Um. Probably Beyonce. Because her visual album left me with SO many questions, and she seems to have come into her own (even more so than before) lately in a really special way, and I think it would mean a lot to our readers.

mangoesmangoes3 karma

How and what could I pitch to Rookie?

TaviGevinson1 karma

October's theme is The Other. Email to submissions at rookiemag dot com. :)

mangoesmangoes2 karma

Thank you! I thought there used to be a section of the site that listed what the upcoming month's theme is but I can't seem to find it now. Has it moved?

TaviGevinson3 karma

Erm, no, we just have to update it!

ivyleet3 karma

How in the hell did you come up with Rookie? I mean, what 11-year-old is in their room thinking, "Yeah, I'm gonna do a style blog and then maybe this magazine down the road." What inspired you? What were you reading at the time? What did you feel you were bringing to the table when you created this empire?

TaviGevinson10 karma

The magazine didn't cross my mind when I started my blog. At the time, fashion blogging was a more insular community, just lots of other young women sharing what an article of clothing meant to them or screenshots of their favorite film characters or that sort of thing, and I just wanted to be a part of it. My friend's older sister had a fashion blog and I thought she was cool, and she sent me links to her favorites and told me which magazines she liked (so at the time I was reading: Lula, i-D, Dazed and Confused, Nylon, international Vogues). It was a nice secret community to be apart of, away from middle school. And then when I wanted to start Rookie, I already knew lots of other young women online who wanted the same thing and wanted to be a part of it, so I don't know that I felt I was bringing a lot to the table of like, the Media Landscape, so much as I was just trying to give us all a home base, and see if it could expand to make more girls feel included.

BiniahCara2 karma

Aren't you currently taking a gap year? What do you view as the value of a college education? It seems like you already have a huge social network and a lot of professional success, so I was wondering what your thoughts on college's value as whole is, seeing as how people are trying to reform it and it seems outdated to some people. Do you think taking time away from the rhythm of school will make you less motivated to return, because you might not have the incentive that "normal" people have?

Thanks for the AMA, found Style Rookie as a late teen male, and was really inspired by it. Happy for all your success!

TaviGevinson5 karma

Already, being away from school while all my friends are going back makes me feel a little behind, like I need to be growing my brain more, and like I need to be on someone else's curriculum instead of just sticking with whatever novel I'm into at the moment. I have the rest of my life to focus on my career; I want to take advantage of this time to learn from professors and other students my age. Thank you!

TrevTrev4Ev2 karma

Hi Tavi! Over the past few years you've been a fashion blogger, an editor and writer, and now an actor.

How have your ambitions shifted, and what brings you the most satisfaction of all these creative pursuits?

TaviGevinson4 karma

I get different kinds of satisfaction from all of it. Editing Rookie is extremely gratifying because it's something I needed in high school and still need to this day, and to be a part of that community and witness girls forming friendships at our events is very rewarding. (Plus I like the creative aspect of art directing our books, planning big projects with our other editors, etc.) Writing is something I have concluded is not actually good for me but that a massive chunk of my brain is unsettled without. I've been writing every day, for the internet or for myself, since I was 12, so I feel adrift when I don't do it, but doing it regularly makes me less "present" (urgh) because it puts my brain in a constant mode of narration and reflection. Acting balances that out, especially onstage, because it requires being really in the moment, not self-conscious, not evaluating your own behavior as it happens.

purplenightsky2 karma

Hi Tavi! I saw the show at Steppenwolf in July. How much has the show changed since it moved to Broadway?

TaviGevinson2 karma

What a lovely name. The Steppenwolf theater sat about 300, I believe the Cort on Broadway seats around 1000. Steppenwolf was in the round, Cort is proscenium. So while in some ways the layout has gotten less intimate, the play is so damn well-written and the dialogue is so colloquial that it keeps us pretty grounded in reality even as some of the physicality has gotten bigger.

Ballacaust30002 karma

You have done more at 18 than I have in my entire life. My question is:

How do I make my parents proud of me?

Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.

TaviGevinson11 karma

It could very easily be that your parents are withholding, not that you're undeserving. Sometimes with family members we just kind of have to be like, "We happen to be related, but your approval is not relevant to my life." It may be time for that? I wish you the best of luck.

vanillabearsays2 karma

Will you continue to write for Rookie after you've left your teen years?

TaviGevinson5 karma

If not write then definitely continue as editor-in-chief. We have a huge team now that I trust but I still feel tied to it. I don't feel done with it. At all.

lunarsymphony2 karma

hi, Tavi. i just want to say thank you for being such an amazing inspiration and someone to look up to for young girls. my question - you were pretty young when you started Rookie - how do you think that whole expirience changed you, and is there anything you would do differently?

TaviGevinson7 karma

It's impossible to imagine my life without Rookie so it's hard to say how it changed me. I just feel impossibly lucky that I got to have this space to think about the madness of high school as it was happening to me, and to be surrounded by such a supportive community of other young women looking for the same kind of connection I was.

Anything I would do differently...I feel like I'm constantly learning ways that we can and should improve. My deepest regret is every oversight I've had, especially early on in Rookie's life, regarding the experiences of other women and not understanding that they were different from mine, that my feminism is specific to the privileges and circumstances of my own life. I regret ever limiting Rookie or our readers or our definition of feminism to something closer to my own very specific experience. And I'm glad that our staffers and readers have expanded it so that it can mean something much more, to more people.

albacassandra2 karma

Hey Tavi! the artwork on Rookie mag is amazing and you have such a strong, singular eye for curating beautiful things. Was wondering what your favorite visual artists are? living or dead.

ps- favorite thing about Kieran and Michael ??

TaviGevinson3 karma

Thank you! Oh man. Joseph Cornell blew my mind when I was 12 and is still really important to me. Favorite thing about Kieran...he has a very flexible face and is good at making expressions that terrify me. Favorite thing about Michael...All my scenes are with him, I interact with Kieran onstage very briefly. I'm really appreciative of how responsive/sensitive/attentive Michael is in moments that are harder to play or harder to make real. That trust is the engine of our scenes.

oscarveli2 karma

Hello, how are you? I saw that you used to have a fashion blog, which is imdressive, sew I have come to this thread to ask you a question. This might seam random but we should go on a date. What time would suit you best? Sorry for the puns, I guess it is just in my jeans.

TaviGevinson2 karma


bkoron1 karma

Dear Ms. Gevinson: In your self-description, why does "editor" come before "writer"?

TaviGevinson2 karma

Lately I haven't been publishing a lot of my writing. And at Rookie, for a while now, I've been more running it as editor than I have been contributing written posts like I did early on.

two_off1 karma

Do you play video games with Michael and Kieran after the show?

TaviGevinson5 karma

Yes! Every intermission=Rainbow Road on Mario Kart.

swellvintage1 karma

What was it like working with the late but very great James Gandolfini?

TaviGevinson4 karma

I only had a couple scenes with him, but he was really warm, wonderfully sarcastic, and generous in regards to making me feel comfortable on my first film set.

jesumaria1 karma

Hey Tavi! I have a couple of completely unrelated questionzz-

Why do you think girls are ridiculed for everything? A boy literally questioned why 'all you girls carry bottles round' when I drank some water today at sixth form (I nearly poured it on his head).

What has been the most surreal moment of your career?

What are you listening to at the mo?

also, rookiemag has literally been pivotal in my journey to dealing with mental health shit and learning to love my self (AND do eyeliner) so I can't even begin to thank you. Thank you!

TaviGevinson4 karma

  1. I feel like your first q needs like, a gender studies lecture, and not this measly answer! But in regards to that boy, he's probably mad in love with "all you girls" and doesn't know what to do about it. I know it's pretty cliched to just be like "it means he has a crush on you!!" but I feel like that's the basis of uh a lot of misogyny. Admiration then feeling threatened then acting out. But I'm being reductive in the interest of brevity.

  2. Opening night of the show was the most surreal moment. I was so happy to share this story with the people in my life and with people I admire, and then I came home and sat on my roof and looked at the NYC skyline and thought of when I was in high school and got myself through the day by thinking of NY and knowing that I'd end up here. Because the play has so many of the same themes I've written about on Rookie, it felt not only like all this hard work of the past few months in rehearsing the play and doing it in Chicago had come to fruition, but also like my Rookie feels had come full circle, as well. I can't even describe it. I will feel that high again maybe once in my life if I'm very very lucky.

  3. Right now I am listening to the Strokes. I was told to do that when I first moved to New York and it's been going well.

Thank you for reading Rookie!

courtiebabe4201 karma

Hey Tavi, thanks for joining the IAmA Community today!

What was it like to work on the set of Parenthood? It seems like it would be a crazy atmosphere with all those people on set, pretty much like a big family. Just wondering if it actually works that way in reality!

TaviGevinson4 karma

I had the best time! Super familial vibes over there. To this day I am a happy participant in a group text with Sarah Ramos, Mae Whitman, and Miles Heizer, filled with sad selfies.

Sarahisenburger1 karma

also how did you survive jr year without having your head explode??? I need some good tips for handling stress

TaviGevinson3 karma

Hi Sarah! Thanks for coming to all our LA Rookie stuff. Junior year sucked. Tips for handling stress...just know that however hard you're being on yourself is much harder than is necessary. I didn't get great grades in high school. 1/3 of the people I admire did great in school, 1/3 did fine, and 1/3 dropped out. I'm not saying it's arbitrary, just to remember as often as possible that you're much more than a student. Also that at a certain point sleep will help you more on a test than eye-melting studying.

lyingtechnique1 karma

I remember reading a lot about you in blogs about how you're just a flash in the pan or whatever bitter phrases people use. And now that you've started a pretty bad ass online magazine and have a huge following, what do you say to your naysayers now?

Ps, I'm a huge "fan" of one of your contributors, Arabelle. Her fashion and beauty blog has completely changed the way I approach looking at others and myself.

TaviGevinson4 karma

Hahahah. Um. I don't say a thing. Eyes on the prize, etc. But I also feel like time spent dignifying h8ers is time better spent dignifying people who are supportive.

I saw Arabelle the other night! She saw the show and then we ordered Chinese food and hung out for a while. She'd be happy to know you feel that way.