Jun 02, 2015 9:49AM

Tavi Talks Blogging, The Sartorialist And How She's An Actor Now

Tavi taught me.

Tavi Gevinson dropped some of her signature insight over the weekend as part of Vulture Festival's panel series in New York. The Oyster favourite, writer, actor and excellent human sat down for a conversation that covered everything from Taylor Swift, her astonishing career path, and the secret to life. 

Here are 12 excellent quotes pulled from the interview (you can and should watch the video in full here):

On her blog: People thought that my parents wrote it or that I was an old man.

On The Sartorialist aka Scott Schuman suggesting that her opinion on fashion wasn't valid: What a stupid thing to say! Why would a middle-aged man's opinion on fashion be more relevant than a teenage girl's? That's crazy! That's just related in general to people having these really weird ideas about who's allowed to talk about what and who's the authority on different things. There was a lot of that conversation happening when my blog was getting attention...fashion does not start at a certain age.

On interviewing Taylor Swift: I was asking her, "I think you've never had a period of rebellion because you weren't under Disney or anything, but I wanted to know do you ever want to rebel in some way?" And she was like, "I have no desire to burn down the house that I built. I can redecorate it. But it's made a really nice foundation."

On fashion: I don't keep up with fashion like I did before…but I have found personal style being really important in my life again, in the same way that writing is, in that it's a way of forming your identity and asserting who you are.

On the rise of personal style: It's not about being fashionable, it's about personal style, and using it as a tool for self expression...There isn't a lot of new stuff that can be done in fashion, I think, just because of it being 2015. If you want to form your personal style, it's not about "How can I be unique?" because I don't think that exists.

On work/ life separation: It sounds lovely…I had resisted making my home a work space, because it has to be separate, but then I realised "this is who you are, you write about your life, you need to talk about yourself...you have to be able to do it at home".

On moving into acting: It was a very hard muscle to build, but I also think it is the secret to life, because it was about learning how to be authentic and respond to something emotionally honestly. It freaked me out... The phrases I would have to say to myself on stage like, "Let it happen to you" ended up — like, I started seeing someone romantically and I was really self-conscious and I'd say to myself, "Let it happen to you", and I was like, "Oh, this is teaching you how to live". 
On the relationship between work and identity: Something funny happens when your work is inextricable from who you are. I started writing publicly when I was 11, and it was never like, "I'm writing an article"; it was diary keeping, and it felt more personal than stuff I could share with my friends...You don't know me unless you've read everything I've ever written.

On moving to New York: I realised that I was subconsciously going for furniture in colours like periwinkle and mustard because I watched Friends a lot as a child.

On private diaries:  I started keeping a diary because I didn't want Rookie to feel like my blog, and I felt like it was important to have things for myself, because I was used to sharing things with an audience...and I thought, what does this do to your brain, when you do that from a young age? Even if on an intellectual level you don't equate it with validation, it's there as you're developing.

On Freaks and Geeks: I liked Freaks and Geeks so much because they weren't trying to be "how do we reach the teens"? The problem with a lot of stuff that's made for teenagers is that it feels like it was made by a bunch of people in a room. It was for adults, but teenagers ended up relating to it. As long as you're just trying to speak your truth it doesn't have to be catered to what it means to be 16 in 2015 for it to connect to people.

On her changing responsibility to Rookie readers:  I still feel really passionately about it, but not because I am dealing with being 16 and being depressed, but because other people are. I can now seek out younger writers who are going through that stuff and that's a blessing. Editing the pieces that go up on the site is really healthy and affirming. It's not like you turn 19 and then your problems change completely… we have so many readers who are women in their 20s and even in their 30s because a lot of what young women go through kind of transcends age group.

Image: @Tavitulle

Lana Guineay