Gevinson at the New York premiere of Makers: Women Who Make America in 2013
April 21, 1996
Oak Park, Illinois, United States
|Occupation||Writer, magazine editor, actress and singer|
Tavi Gevinson (born April 21, 1996) is an American writer, magazine editor, actress and singer. Raised in Oak Park, Illinois, Gevinson came to public attention at the age of twelve because of her fashion blog Style Rookie. By the age of fifteen, she had shifted her focus to pop culture and feminist discussion. Gevinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of the online Rookie Magazine, aimed primarily at teenage girls. In both 2011 and 2012, she appeared on the Forbes 30 Under 30 in Media list.
Gevinson was born in Chicago, and is being raised in the suburban town of Oak Park, Illinois. Her father, Steve Gevinson, is a retired English high school teacher. Her mother, Berit Engen, is a weaver and part-time Hebrew instructor who grew up in Oslo, Norway. Her father was born to a Jewish family, while her mother, who was raised a Lutheran, converted to Judaism in 2001. Gevinson and her two older sisters, Rivkah and Miriam, were raised in the Jewish faith.
Gevinson is a student at Oak Park and River Forest High School in Illinois. After high school, she intends to take a gap year before attending an East Coast university "where I don’t necessarily have to break off everything else I’m doing in order to pursue my studies. I feel lucky in that I don’t really have to go to college to study something job-specific. I just want to go to learn about what is interesting to me and learn about the classes that you don’t really get to take in high school because you have to take the basics."
Gevinson started a fashion blog, Style Rookie, in 2008. The blog, featuring photos of the eleven-year-old in distinctive outfits and her commentary on the latest fashion trends, began drawing nearly 30,000 readers each day. Her father "wasn't terribly interested" in her new hobby until she asked for his permission to be interviewed by The New York Times for an article about young bloggers. Because of the blog's success, Gevinson was invited to attend New York Fashion Week and Paris Fashion Week. She made overseas fashion-related trips to Tokyo and Antwerp, funded by Pop magazine, and was comissioned to write articles for Harper's Bazaar and Barneys.com. She styled a shoot for BlackBook magazine, acted as a muse and model for Rodarte's clothing line at Target stores, and partnered with Borders&Frontiers to design and sell her own t-shirt. In 2010, she spoke at a marketing conference in New York and at Idea City, a Canadian version of the TED conference.
There was a backlash to Gevinson's early success in the fashion industry. New York Magazine questioned whether it was possible for Gevinson to write her blog without "some help from a mom or older sister". Sarah Mower of The Daily Telegraph, while conceding that Gevinson had a "truly independent, original voice", criticized her father for taking her out of school "to go to haute couture shows ... It's hard to imagine a kid being able to come back down to reality." A Grazia fashion editor complained on Twitter that a large bow worn by Gevinson had blocked her view of a runway during fashion week. Anne Slowey of Elle felt her success was "gimmicky" and commented, "She’s been thirteen for, like, the last four years." Gevinson later remarked: “A lot of people on the Internet have a problem with a young person doing well. I felt like, there were people who were [at fashion week] because of their name, their money or their family, and I didn’t have any of those things.”
Rookie and acting roles (2011-present)
In early 2011, Gevinson decided to stop writing primarily about fashion: "Lately I've been looking to other places for a creative outlet and for inspiration ... Now I'm more intrigued by mixing fashion with the other stuff I've been enjoying." Gevinson's personal style also became less outlandish: "Before, dressing up was my outlet, and now I’m pursuing other creative things that take up a lot of time and energy, so in the morning I usually want to put on something simple and comfortable." Later that year, she was described by Lady Gaga as "the future of journalism".
In the fall of 2011, at the age of fifteen, Gevinson founded Rookie Magazine. The site was originally conceived of as a joint venture with Jane Pratt but Gevinson ultimately decided to maintain sole ownership. Ira Glass acts as a mentor figure to Gevinson. The website focuses on issues impacting teenage girls and is written mainly by teenage girls. It also features guest contributors such as Judd Apatow, Miranda July, Lena Dunham, Paul Rudd, Joss Whedon, Jon Hamm and John Waters. A one-off print edition of the magazine, Rookie Yearbook One, was published by Drawn and Quarterly in 2012. In 2012, Gevinson spoke at TEDxTeen, with a focus on representation of women in popular culture, and at The Economist's World in 2012 Festival. She is also a contributing editor at Garage Magazine. In both 2011 and 2012, Gevinson appeared on the Forbes 30 Under 30 in Media list.
Gevinson is represented by the Hollywood agency UTA. She first acted in a short film, First Bass, in 2008, but became more visible in 2012. That year, she voiced a character in the animated short film Cadavar, which was long-listed for an Academy Award. Cadavar was directed by First Bass's Jonah Anseel and co-starred Kathy Bates and Christopher Lloyd. In the film, she sang renditions of both Neil Young and Pet Shop Boys songs. Also in 2012, Gevinson also filmed a role in a still-untitled film from director Nicole Holofcener, co-starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus, James Gandolfini, Catherine Keener and Toni Collette. She hopes to act more in the future.
During the 2012 US presidential campaign, Gevinson supported the Democratic candidate President Barack Obama and appeared in a Public Service Announcement for women's rights, mouthing the words to Lesley Gore's "You Don't Own Me". She organized a Get Well Soon card drive for Malala Yousafzai, the fourteen-year-old Pakistani girl whose campaigning for education rights led to her shooting in October 2012.
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- Bloggers turn designers... who's next? Catwalk Queen
- "Meet Tavi, the 12-Year-Old Fashion Blogger - The Cut". Nymag.com. 2008-07-22. Retrieved 2013-05-13.
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- Tavi Gevinson (2011-03-27). "i feel like the photo to accompany this post should be a lot more intense and introspective-seeming but hey! mirrors are pretty introspective!". Thestylerookie.com. Retrieved 2013-05-13.
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- "FIRST BASS - Tavi Gevinson - Style Rookie - Debut Film - 2008". YouTube. 2011-07-18. Retrieved 2013-05-13.
- "Tavi Gevinson 'Cadaver' Trailer Debuts: Teen Style Prodigy Sings Neil Young Cover". The Huffington Post. 2012-02-02. Retrieved 2013-05-13.
- Hilary Moss (2013-01-16). "Tavi Is Animated and Singing Pet Shop Boys for Cadaver". Nymag.com. Retrieved 2013-05-13.
- Christopher Borrelli (2012-09-18). "Teen fashion maven Tavi Gevinson is 16 going on 30". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2013-05-13.
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