Teen Girl-Oriented Magazine Celebrates Print Launch


Rookie Magazine, a magazine for teen girls created by blogger Tavi Gevinson, launched its print version on Sept. 9. (Clint Holloway/The Observer)


Rookie Magazine, a magazine for teen girls created by blogger Tavi Gevinson, launched its print version on Sept. 9. (Clint Holloway/The Observer)

Upon descending the stairs into the basement of McNally Jackson Books on Sept. 9, I immediately came across a sea of girls filling almost the entirety of the room. Sitting cross-legged on the floor and dressed in a variety of calico prints, I could sense the giddiness of these young ladies as they waited for the events to unfold. It was, after all, all about them.

The event in question was the launch of the print edition of Rookie, a magazine devoted to exploring the trials and tribulations of teenage girls. Having begun online and garnering a million hits in under one week, the staff of the magazine worked to publish a print edition, resulting in a 352-page compendium of stories from the site as well as new content. At the core of this ambitious undertaking is Tavi Gevinson. She’s incredibly smart, influential and sixteen years old.

Gevinson’s rise to success and public visibility has been marked by equal parts passion and precociousness. In 2008, she began Style Rookie, a blog devoted to her thoughts on fashion. Gevinson’s writing, a mixture of sophistication and youthfulness, as she may reference a shoe from an old Balenciaga collection in one post and profess her infatuation with Beyoncé in the next, managed to strike a chord with the notoriously hard-to-impress fashion world. By the time she was 13, she was being flown to Paris to sit front row at haute couture shows and getting sent free clothes from Miu Miu.

Since then, Gevinson has expanded her interests beyond fashion to other aspects of culture as well as more personal problems faced by girls her age. Roughly a year ago, she started Rookie. The site features contributors of all ages and covers everything from self-esteem to style tips, all laced with Gevinson’s quirky sensibility. The magazine’s art direction goes to great lengths to make “Rookie Yearbook One” feel like a homemade concoction, with headline text resembling scribbled handwriting and an assortment of doodles and randomly places images that cover the 352 pages of the its totality.

Tavi Gevinson at Rookie launch. (Clint Holloway/The Observer)

While the magazine’s appearance gives off a crafty and down-to-earth vibe, Gevinson has assembled an incredible array of people to contribute to “Rookie Yearbook One.” In addition to Gevinson and her staff of fellow young women, writings from celebrities, including Zooey Deschanel and Jack Black, also make an appearance in the magazine.

To commemorate the release of “Rookie Year One” on Sept. 9, a gathering was held in the basement of McNally Jackson Books in SoHo, where fans were invited to come and celebrate the launch along with the staff. Over the course of the evening, various contributors took the stage to read their pieces from the magazine.

Hearing these pieces out loud illustrated Rookie’s eclectic array of topics, with everyone from Arabelle Sicardi recalling when she came out of the closet to Kevin Townley talking about how The Rocky Horror Picture Show changed his life to “Girls” creator Lena Dunham rereading excerpts from her journal as a child. Serving as a reminder of Gevinson’s fashion-blogging roots, British supermodel Karen Elson was also seen taking in the event.

Rather than just being an outlet for fun and frivolousness, emphasis was put on the power and importance that Rookie has for young girls today as well as the importance it can have for them in the future. Contributor Sarah Flicker noted that as a mother of a 5-year-old daughter, she was worried about how feminism would continue and was moved and excited by the prospect of Rookie being there to play a part in continuing the cause.

By the event’s end, it felt as if the walls of the overcrowded bookstore basement could barely contain the sense of joy felt by its inhabitants. Perhaps the sensation can best be encapsulated by Julia Cumming of Supercute!, the girl-group trio who provided musical entertainment, who exclaimed in the middle their set, “The feeling I have being in this room right now… There are no words!”