At this point, we know a fair amount about Tavi Gevinson and her evolution from a 13-year-old blogging about her fashion obsession to a 16-year-old (as of Saturday, according to her Wikipedia. Also, what? All this happened in less than three years?) running a successful and awesome editorial site for teens, doing public speaking engagements, singing and starring in films and ad campaigns.
What she hasn't spoken much about is how she monetizes it all or how much help she gets from, you know, adults. In an interview with Business of Fashion's Imran Amed, Gevinson reflects a little more on where she is in her life and how she got there, a largely public process which she describes as "a little weird and embarassing."
On Rookie's following:
Rookie registered more than 1 million page views in the first five days after launch and within its first 6 months had received more than 4 million visits and over 13 million pageviews, according to statistics provided by Gevinson.
On how she manages her schedule:
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.
On monetizing Rookie and sponsored content:
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 future collaborations:
There are plans for monetising Rookie offline as well. “We’d like to be able to start doing events and meetups where we actually meet our readers. [There are] some projects we can’t afford to do without collaborating,” says Gevinson, “but it’s not like we are taking other people’s money and just putting their logos on our site. There are [also potential] collaborations – one might be with a store, but I guess their aesthetic aligns with our aesthetic.”
On her dad-ager:
Many of these activities are overseen and managed by Tavi’s father, who is now retired. “I guess he’s technically my manager or something. He enjoys traveling and wants to keep tabs on everything and wants to make sure everything is fair, so he’s taken to that position quite nicely,” she says.
“I haven’t purposely distanced myself from it, my interests have just shifted a bit,” she explains. “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.”
The distance seems to have given her a healthy sense of perspective. “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,” says Gevinson, reflecting on her shifting interests.
On why being a feminist isn't a "teen angst phase" for her:
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.
[Ed. note: When I was in highschool, I could barely finish my homework on time.] Happy sweet sixteen, Tavi!