Tavi Gevinson passed the year of the pandemic in ways that may be familiar to you. He moved from Manhattan to Brooklyn, adopted a dog, worked on his book, panicked at least once on a video call, and appeared on a few podcasts.
He also spent it in more unusual ways. She filmed her role in the gossip Girl reboot, launched this month, and published two essays, her first major writings since Rookie, the online teen magazine that put her at the forefront of the media, shut down in 2018. Multihyphenates are a dime a dozen in this economy. But Gevinson, now more than a decade away from the smart high school student who sits front row at fashion shows, manages to stick with every subsequent script he adds.
“I was at a party once when I was still making Rookie and someone asked me what to do. I said, ‘Oh, I’m a writer and an actress, and I also edit this publication that I founded,’ ”she told me. “And David Geffen, whom I hadn’t met, appeared seemingly out of nowhere and said, ‘One day, you’ll probably have to choose.’ And then, without further ado, it disappeared. “
You get the feeling that Gevinson has a million of these kinds of stories, stories that imply that she is watching and being watched while at the center of things. It has spent its short life on all sides of the image. She has created her own personality and has published it herself and played characters made for her. She has been regularly featured in major magazines since she was a child, her personality sketched out and featured by others at every important stage of her life. She has also interviewed interesting characters and written profiles, as she did with Taylor Swift, a person she calls a friend. Many of his other friends are working actors, but many of them are working writers.
You don’t have to figure out how to be the subject of a magazine article on a pretty April day in the sculpture garden behind the Brooklyn Museum, just days after your 25th birthday, when we meet for bagels. You can relax a bit and just “have a conversation,” he says, lowering his voice to indicate a commonplace is coming up. “But also having interviewed and profiled people, I am aware of your needs,“She says. She really is. In addition to the bagel she buys me, Gevinson gives me two cigarettes over the course of four hours and when we pack the parts, she will provide me with a hand sanitizer. Right now she seems more like the writer-editor. Tavi Gevinson, minus the stage and screen star. But before I can sing “Gooble Gobble One of Us,” I remember he’s not. Not quite at least.