Tavi Gevinson at Melbourne Writers Festival 2013

It’s no secret that I am a fan of the internet. As someone who works in, as my friend Sam Bell calls it, “Corporate Land”, it’s wonderful to be able to create a world of colour to play in. So it was pretty inspiring to go and listen to Tavi Gevinson speak at the Melbourne Writers’ Festival on Friday.

Cheryl and Tavi

Thanks Tavi for signing my Rookie yearbook #1  (the next edition is due out in October in the US, we in Oz will need to wait longer unless buying directly from rookiemag.com)

If you haven’t heard of Tavi here’s a little recap: At the age of 11, Tavi started her blog Style Rookie, where her individual style and original, insightful fashion commentary led to invitations to sit front-row at fashion shows around the globe. At the age of 15, Tavi “evolved” from fashion to create Rookie, a mag-blog written, photographed and illustrated by teens, for teens. Its success (it received 1 million views in its first 6 days) shows that teenage girls – and “grown-ups” like myself have signed up to Tavi’s vision of exploring “growing up” as and into well-rounded individuals of strong character,in a world full of conflicting messages.

On a personal level, I’m inspired by Tavi’s groundedness, immense creativity and don’t get me started on her eloquence! I also happened to spend the weekend reading Mel Campbell’s (who I featured in this post)  book, Out of Shape, and gosh both these women have motivated me to want to expand my vocabulary and turns of phrase. The fact that they are both so freakin’ smart but also very likeable, funny and relateable is the icing on the cake. And I LOVE CAKE!

Now Pip over at Meet Me at Mikes captured more of Tavi’s points– seriously, great job, Pip! So here are the points that stuck in my mind:

  • Don’t be ashamed to fan-girl. Loving someone’s work hard can be just as powerful as creating your own stuff.
  • Don’t be afraid to make your own art. Do you ever get the feeling that whatever you try to do won’t be anywhere near as good as the work of those you admire? Tavi shared this Ted talk about taking your heroes (i.e. those you fangirl-ed hard for) down from the pedestals you’ve put them on to humanise them and remember that the art that you’re making is also valid so that you can continue making your own contribution.
  • Tavi has no idea what she’s going to do after highschool. She plans to take a year off, go to college, then she’ll see. I found it interesting that someone who has achieved so much in “childhood”that she doesn’t know what she wants to do beyond this. And that’s ok. And it’s none of my business but I kinda hope that she’ll realise that there are few things better than continuing to grow what she’s already building now. Heck, maybe that’s what I want for myself.

In case you’re wondering what Tavi wore to her keynote session, MWF Director Lisa Dempster told me on on my instagram that it was Alpha 60. So here’s a little round-up of Tavi’s outfit plus a few extra items by Aussie designers that I think she’d totally rock on stage, or in her work life in general:


Tavi’s MWF13 outfit

Tavi Gevinson at Melbourne Writers' Festival #MWF13

Winnie Big Bead Necklace | Emily Green
emilygreen.net // As a creative who has now been to Melbourne, Tavi should totally be wearing Emily Green.

alpha60.com.au // I think that this was the shirt that Tavi was wearing at her talk. It’s cropped. I love cropped shirts and Alpha60.

lucyfolk.com // crochet watermelon FTW


Footwear SS13-14 « Kuwaii Clothing and Footwear Australia
kuwaii.com.au // made in Melbourne, these black lace ups have such interesting heel cut-out detail too; the perfect mix of serious and play for one in the creative field.

//ok this one might be a little out of place but the stones in this ring by ANGLE DIAMOND DOT –  are said to promote tranquility and a strong sense of inner-peace, serenity and patience (that’s the Larimar); Turquoise lift spirits and brings great peace and serenity. Tavi’s calm presence on stage reminded me of what this ring sets out to achieve (i.e. imagine this is Tavi in a ring form)

Where does the future of journalism shop when she’s in Melbourne? Alpha 60, Kinki Gerlinki, Alice Euphemia and a bunch of vintage shops.

I had lots of questions I wanted to ask Tavi. But after her presentation, I felt like my black and white questions would have sullied the magic in the air. However they pretty much go like this:

  1. How do you monetise Rookie mag?
  2. Creative people are know to struggle with the business administration side of things – do you? Do you get help?
  3. How have you found the experience of managing people? How do you reward/incentivise your staff?

I know, boring.

Did you go to Tavi’s talk? Were you inspired? What question would you have asked her?

The Melbourne Writers’ Festival is on until September 1 – the session that I’m speaking at, Out of Shape, is on next Saturday 😉

See more of Tavi: RookieMag.com // Twitter.com/tavitulle


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  1. I’m so impressed by Tavi too. I wish you had asked those questions, particularly about managing and incentivising her team. I’d imagine working with her would be an incentive in itself

  2. not boring. you should have asked!

  3. Love this post ad loved seeing you there x
    Thank you for getting my book signed. Gave you a shout out on my blog today 🙂

    • Thanks Carly! Gosh there were so many bloggers there – I was debating whether to include a shout-out section but then got worried I’d miss someone! Heading over to your blog now xx

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