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Tavi Gevinson, ‘Rookie on Love,’ at the Cambridge Public Library

By Bobae C. Johnson, Contributing Writer

On Feb. 12, Tavi Gevinson stopped by the Cambridge Public Library to talk about her new book, “Rookie on Love.” Gevinson is a fashion blogger, magazine editor, actress, and author. Between the ages of 12 and 15, she gained international popularity for her online fashion blog, “Style Rookie.” Now, she edits the online magazine, “Rookie,” and is currently promoting her new novel, “Rookie on Love.” She has made Forbes’ “30 Under 30 in Media” list twice. “Rookie on Love” is an anthology, edited by Gevinson, with many contributing writers, including Jenny Zhang, John Green, and Alessia Cara. The book explores the trials of love from the points of view of the contributing writers.

Gevinson is a role model to many young girls due to her success and involvement in the fashion industry. During the event, she portrayed herself as a normal human being—someone who tells the truth about her life and speaks her thoughts. She shared herself with her audience, and her audience seemed to respect and understand her more deeply as a result. Gevinson used direct and unveiled dialogue, speaking to the audience as she would speak to a family member. While maintaining her complex ideas and thoughts, she did not attempt to organize them for any specific purpose.

For much of the event, Gevinson read snippets of pieces she was currently writing. She talked about her experiences as an actress, her struggles in relationships, her thoughts on people and the world, among other things.

Gevinson began the talk simply by saying about her book: “It’s about love, and what it’s like to look at someone and actually see them.” She leapt into narratives about plays she’d acted in, relationships she’d been in, and strange friendships she’d been confused by.

“He told me I was a fantasy. I told him the problem with calling someone a fantasy is that a fantasy isn’t true.” Gevinson explored the emotional depths of difficulties she had experienced in her relationships. She took the audience through her thought process, yet she didn’t attempt to make herself sound like a guru, and refused to sugarcoat when it came to personal anecdotes. “I’m going to break his heart.” She openly admitted to mistakes she had made and lessons she had learned.

Perhaps that is why she has received so much critical attention—she presents herself as a normal person whom other people listen to. She tells the world what she thinks, simply because she thinks a lot about her life and her choices, making people gravitate towards her. Gevinson doesn’t seem to have any other agenda, except wanting to share herself with the world.

The degree to which Gevinson affects young girls became increasingly evident with the audience reactions. “She’s really inspirational, how she did so much when she was so young,” Zoe R. Fritz-Sherman, an attendee of the event, said.

“I just like to hear her talk,” Olga K. Joseph said. Joseph has been following Gevinson for eight years. She’s read Rookie Mag, Gevinson’s books, and more. Gevinson’s stream-of-consciousness-like way of writing seems to affect all around her.

“Just being a strong, unapologetic presence is always helpful,” Sara R. Siegel, another attendee, said. “I hope that girls and boys have more outlets for seeing different ways that people can be in the world.”

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