Tavi Gevinson, 19, is the newest Clinique ambassador. (Photo: Clinique)
At 19, Tavi Gevinson is already an accomplished editor, writer, and Broadway actress. This week, she added another achievement to her extensive résumé by joining fellow millennial wonder women Hannah Bronfman and Margaret Zhang as a #FaceForward ambassador for Clinique. It makes sense, as Clinique has been a helpful gateway to skin care for many millennials, that’s not only about clear skin but feeling and becoming more grown-up.
For her Broadway show, This is Our Youth, performed with Michael Cera and Kieran Culkin, Gevinson took her onstage look into her own hands. “I did the stage makeup myself. I was just playing a 19-year-old girl, so I just played up the lip gloss and mascara,” she told Yahoo Beauty. “But it wasn’t super cakey or anything. I make sure that I take it off every night.”
Gevinson is a fan of Clinique, having been introduced to the brand’s Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion ($26) — “the yellow lotion,” as she calls it — by a makeup artist at a photo shoot when she was still a teenage fashion blogger. “Right now, I’m rediscovering beauty and style and really enjoying it, and I think it’s like finding this tool I forgot that I had to feel differently about myself,” she told Yahoo Beauty. “And having my beauty routine is kind of like having a little ritual. It’s something that you do for yourself, and it makes me feel better throughout the day because I feel like who I am on the inside is reflected on the outside.”
In the play, Gevinson plays a young woman who is trying to make sense of life — and unlike more seasoned stage actors, Gevinson has not mastered the art of making her voice carry across a stage without shouting, but that’s how it is when you’re 19: You don’t know how strong your voice is yet, and you’re just happy that someone’s listening.
Tavi Gevinson on the cover of indie fashion magazine Lula in 2014. (Photo: Lula)
However, online and in print, Gevinson has never been shy about speaking her mind. If you’re not a teenage girl, you may be wondering who this pixie girl is — she’s not just a Broadway star. She became Internet famous for her now-defunct fashion blog, The Style Rookie, which she created when she was 11 years old and had a penchant (and talent) for writing rap tributes to Rei Kawakubo, the avant-garde designer of Comme des Garçons. Performance artist Miranda July saw the rap, sent it to two “it” designers of 2008, Laura and Kate Mulleavy of Rodarte, and made the blog go viral. Gevinson then appeared on the cover of edgy indie fashion magazine Pop and sat in the front row at fashion shows, including haute couture shows in Paris — which disgruntled editors of the old guard (in other words, print media), who earned their front-row seats by working good old-fashioned unpaid internships and low-paying assistant gigs for a decade. “I discovered fashion and beauty on my own,” Gevinson says.
Tavi Gevinson as a young teen on the cover of Condé Nast-owned British fashion glossy Love. (Photo: Condé Nast International)
When Gevinson was a guest editor for the acclaimed Poetry magazine, she published works of poetry, prose, and art by teenage writers, and published an (unedited) essay about teenage angst that she wrote when she was 14. “In any form of creativity, self-expression, or art, you’re giving away a little part of yourself. You’re confessing and owning up to insecurities, desires, ideas embarrassingly ambitious, ideas embarrassingly normal,” she wrote. “You’re owning up to being a real person. Who wants to be one of those? It must take a superhuman to admit to being human.” Part of Gevinson’s appeal is that she understands that teenagers — especially teenage girls, with their “likes” and “ums” — are much smarter than we perceive them to be.
It’s no surprise that Gevinson ended up leaving the gossiping fashion world behind to found Rookie, a publication and online community for teenage girls who love flower crowns and feminism. “Teenagers are generally more intelligent than what people give them credit for,” she tells Yahoo Beauty. “There’s a conviction that whatever is happening to you has never happened before. I don’t think that that’s shortsighted or dramatic. When I interviewed Sofia Coppola and I asked a similar question, she was like, ‘When you’re a teenager, if you’re lucky, you’re not worrying about family or career. It’s an amazing time for distraction.’”
Tavi Gevinson and two of her friends, Kiernan Shipka and Amandla Stenberg. (Photo: Instagram)
She’s also a big proponent of not only young people speaking their mind, but girls in particular, partly to eliminate stereotypes about teens and women. “I just think it’s important to just know when you’re stereotyping,” Gevinson says, regarding the stereotyping of teenage girls as moody and frivolous. “Like, if a guy is like, ‘My ex is crazy and emotional,’ that’s not an original thought — that’s only what you were taught about girls. Not thinking too much about women as women but more as people is definitely a good place to start.”
Today, Gevinson lives in downtown Manhattan and lives a pretty adult life for a teenager. She has discovered yoga for stress relief and has defined herself as an introvert. “I’m someone who needs a lot of time alone, and living here in New York, there is a lot going on, and it’s important for me to keep some things for myself, separate from work, or just have nights that are pure chilling out alone,” she says. “It’s weird, because I like performing and talking to people.” And whether it’s a skincare routine or an online social movement or daring to be honest with yourself, almost-not-a-teen Gevinson is dedicated to the start of great things.