Savana Ogburn: One of my most vivid memories of looking through Teen Vogue as a wee 12 year old was seeing a photo of Tavi Gevinson at fashion week swaddled in a knit scarf and a floral coat. I remember sitting there, probably wearing a Jonas Brothers tee shirt, thinking "how the hell does this fellow 12 year old have grey hair and why is she in Teen Vogue?". Fast forward to 3 years later when I discovered Rookie Mag on the shelf at my suburban Barnes and Noble and, no exaggeration, my entire life changed. I went home, immediately added the book to my birthday wishlist, and began digging through the site's archives. The deeply personal and heartfelt essays spoke about things that were totally taboo (periods, masturbation, puberty, etc), they published incredible early photography from artists like Petra Collins and Olivia Bee, and there were loads of DIYs that spoke to both my crafty Girl Scout sensibilities and my budding desire to look like a riot grrrl. Rookie's unapologetically femme aesthetic paired with the older-sister-giving-you-advice voice entranced me then and is still so comforting to me now. Where else could you read a comic about gender dysphoria, learn about public speaking with KATHLEEN HANNA (!!!), and make your nails look just like astroturf?!
I credit Rookie with a lot of my interest in hyper-stylized photography and collage; Eleanor Hardwick and Lauren Poor both created wonderland sets (either IRL or via collage) that inspired me to explore with mixed media and sets in my own work. The books were designed to look like sugary sweet, painfully detailed scrapbooks, which I had never seen before and immediately fell in love with. I ended up contributing to Rookie in 2015 and I'd be remiss not to say that their editors (specifically Lena Singer! Hi Lena!) were total angels and saw the potential in my wonky ideas. I learned how to pitch, conceptualize shoots, and make work that I was proud of consistently through contributing to Rookie, and it's that accessibility and platform they give to young artists that's so powerful. I'm so eternally grateful to Rookie for getting me through my teen years and on into adulthood. *Heart eyes emoji* at them, forever.