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Millennial Spotlight: Who is Tavi Gevinson?

February 9 2016

Sara Frey

Tavi Gevinson has been called the Queen of Millennials and the future of journalism.1,2 At just 19, she has posed for the groundbreaking Pirelli Calendar, published four books, taken the fashion world by storm, and solidified her creative chops as editor-in-chief of Rookie Magazine.
These endeavors ­– combined with some very key personality traits – have led Tavi to become the voice of her generation, a bellwether who is shaping the way millions of millennial women think.

She is an influential force at the helm of the millennial generation.

Anyone who wants to understand generation Y – and any marketer who wants to attract their attention – needs to get familiar with Tavi Gevinson. She has won the hearts and minds of millennial women all over the country, and there is much to learn from her success. So, what is it that millennials love about Tavi?

She’s an innovator

There are early adopters, and then there is Tavi. At age 11, she launched a style blog that catapulted her into the world of elite fashion design. Even internationally-renown fashion houses like Rodarte were interested in the unique looks she was creating.

Tavi Gevinson with Vogue Anna Wintour
Tavi Gevinson with editor-in-chief of Vogue Anna Wintour in 2010 (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Barneys New York)

She became known for fashion (and could have spent her entire career in that space) but, like any good entrepreneur, she found a new challenge. In 2010, she replaced her style blog with Rookie Magazine, an online publication designed to help teens understand themselves and the world around them. According to Tavi, there wasn’t a magazine that offered what she was looking for, so she created one.1 While the teen magazines of the time brimmed with banal fluff, Tavi’s ideas were bold, covering atypical topics with unconventional features like “Ask a Grown Man”.

Six years later, Tavi continues to push boundaries as many in her generation aspire to do. According to a study released by Deloitte, 62 percent of millennials believe that they themselves are innovative.3 And many envision a future for themselves not unlike what Tavi has accomplished. Nearly 70 percent of millennials see themselves working independently at some point in their lives.4 And we can’t forget the allure that innovative brands hold for millennials: It is often the most disruptive and innovative companies that rank among millennials’ favorites.5 Certainly it is a factor in Tavi’s success.

She’s genuine

Another important personality trait that endears Tavi to her millennial fan base is her honest approach. At a time when young women are looking to social media for guidance, Tavi has won the trust of many by offering sage insights from the perspective of a peer. In interviews and social media, she expresses her thoughts and shares her experiences openly – even if they’re controversial, unexpected, or could reflect poorly on her.

Tavi Gevinson Twitter
That same level of sincerity extends to her work with Rookie. She connects with her readers by exposing herself, thus building an unshakeable level of trust. Past interviewee Emma Watson may have said it best when she shared this with The New York Times, “[Tavi] related to me in a way that most interviewers can’t. She is also incredibly honest. It’s difficult not to feel like you can trust someone like that. You feel vulnerable, but she is vulnerable too. She is also in this arena.”6

Emma Watson Tavi Gevinson
That authenticity is a trait that is incredibly important to Generation Y. In fact, 75 percent of millennials see themselves as authentic, and they expect the people and brands they connect with to be the same.7 Rookie provides that authenticity and delivers the kind of content environment millennials crave. According to a recent study from Elite Daily, millennials prefer bloggers over news brands because of perceived authenticity.8 Getting to know the people behind the content allows millennials to trust content creators as thought leaders and tastemakers.

What does this mean for marketers?

Recent studies have shown that a single brand advocate can influence 150 people to make a purchasing decision. Understanding the advocate and why they are influential goes a long way in creating innovative and authentic marketing solutions that get to the heart of what appeals to the millennial audience.

Unfortunately it’s an investment that many brands haven’t been able to make. As advertising consultant Cindy Gallop told The Globe and Mail, “The brand and business world has not woken up to the money-making power of [Tavi and] Rookie. It’s a huge missed opportunity.”2

Don’t miss yours. Make the investment to understand your audience and the people they look up to. Then, see what you can learn from them!