Tavi at the House

I typed these notes hastily on my smartphone whilst expericiencing Tavi at the House (Opera House). This was an event sponsored by the Melbourne Writers’ Festival and the Opera House.

The blurb says…

Meet Tavi Gevinson. She’s been called the future of journalism. A style icon. A muse. Oh, and she’s still in high school. Having gone from bedroom blogger to editor-in-chief of influential online magazine Rookie, her truly unique voice reveals a keen intellect that considers everything from feminism to pop culture to the teenage condition.


Although she was first noticed in the media by attending fashion shows, she realised that she was happiest reading style.com, and being a fangirl.

After five or so years in the media spotlight: with at first being the youngest style guru and then an editor of rookie mag, she was diagnosed with depression at 16.

During her initial speech she displayed some pictures of her diary:

Tavi's Journal

still hand writing in journals! Love.

and listed some books that she found very inspiring whilst growing up:

Mr Wilson’s cabinet of wonder, Lawrence Weschler
I love Dick, Chris Kraus
Franny and Zooey, JD Salinger

I can’t quite remember the influencing factors that these books had on her, except that she ended up interviewing Lawrence Weschler for Rookie; that I Love Dick prompted her to know her herself based upon her reflections/projections upon other people, and that Franny and Zooey emphasised that you should see yourself through your own perceptions rather than the exterior you see in the mirror and that others see of you.

This turned into a discourse on ‘fangirling’. What does it mean, and why it’s not such a bad thing.

Wants Attenborough to do documentary about fandom. Can you imagine? Here is fangirl no. 1, lurking behind the trees, stalking her prey. Her heart rate pounces as she spies her quarry: Justin Bieber!

However, be warned! There are dangers of internal fangirling – hiding behind your tastes rather realising the meaning behind them. Pushing it as a positive force rather than negative or snobbery.

She shared some more pictures of her ‘inspiration obsessions’ such as her walk to school:

Tavi's Walk to School

She now finds with so many demands on her time, that she now has no time to procrastinate. She schedules in tv watching time to destress, and then does her homework at a certain time so that she can spend time on Rookie, which is what she wants to do.

Her no. 1 want as an Editor: Neil deGrasse Tyson to do the “ask a grown man segment” on Rookie. Also Obama.

What’s next?
She feels like she spends too much time doing big picture thinking, so much so that she forgets the small stuff like school starts this week. World domination.

At the moment, Rookie is making enough in rookie to pay contributors and editors. No more money for herself. If you contribute to something (not neccessarily rookie) – it’s okay to ask for credit, if you can’t get payment.

Go for the longer gratification items rather than band aid instant gratification. E.g wasting time online. Getting jealous of people – turning it into a an attack on them rather than your jealously is about you. => This reminds me of the marshmallow experiment. Children were asked to chose whether to eat a marshmallow now, or if they waited 15 minutes, they would get an extra marshmallow. Those who chose to delay their gratification – i.e. waited the 15 minutes, tended to have better life outcomes such as better school performance. Thus: delay your gratification!

Freedom is about options to do whatever you want.

Be selective about the other people’s opinion that you take on.

Don’t forget to give yourself permission to change.

Some more inspiration – What about the colour Red?
Tavi's Red

I find it interesting that the colour red as an inspiration, is written and drawn in black and white.

I had to keep reminding myself that Tavi is only seventeen. I don’t think that I was that articulate or widely read when I was that age. I got really annoyed by the doofus people who probably spent a week thinking about what “really important question they were going to ask Tavi”, didn’t listen to her talk, and then asked her a question which she had already answered! GRR. I find it interesting that she had a rant about falling for instant gratification, and yet was a product of this herself with a diagnosis of depression. Is it because in the USA, it “can be cured with a pill”?

I am also impressed by her collection of journals. I only ever write in a journal when I’m on holidays. Imagine finding them… you’d think that I didn’t do anything barr travelling.

Of course, the best bit about this sort of event is the people watching. We had a few disagreements about the fashion plates turning up. You not only had to look like you had made a lot of effort, but look good in it. At least we agreed on this lady:

People Watching

Were you there? What were your impressions?


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