Five life lessons from Tavi's interview with Lorde

Tavi Gevinson, editor of online magazine Rookie

Tavi Gevinson, editor of online magazine Rookie Photo: Supplied

Super teen fashion blogger Tavi Gevinson took to Skype recently to conduct a marathon interview with Kiwi singing sensation Lorde for Rookie

As you’d imagine, the resulting transcript is a delightful foray into a 17-year-old world – if all teens were charming and soulful, that is. 

As The Cut points out, these two have more than simply their age in common – they both work within positions heightened creative influence, and became media darlings relatively young – which makes for a particularly insightful interview on the experience of art and fame at a young age. 

17-year-old singer, Lorde.

17-year-old singer, Lorde.

Tavi and Lorde share their thoughts on self-expression, public image, private doubts, teendom, and bonding over Shelley Duval and Arcade Fire. They are funny, intelligent and modest.

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You simply must read the full interview, but in case you don’t have time to trawl through the 11,000 words this morning, here are some of our favourite quotes – life lessons, if you will – to inspire you. 

 

On representing "real teens":

TG: Does being singled out as the kind of outsider repping the “weird girls” ever feel like a double-edged sword? Because then you become responsible for representing the “real” teens … Sorry, that was just me talking to myself, ugh.

L: No, it’s OK! I have definitely felt that sort of pressure, and it’s strange, because while I dress and talk somewhat differently from other people whose songs are in the Top 40, I feel like more people dress like me than the media makes you believe. You know what I mean? I’m not an anomaly, so it feels weird that I get treated like one and have that pressure of “You represent all teenagers in the Western world. No stress!”  The easiest way of dealing with that is just to try not to think about what your art might mean for others. I know that sounds bad, but honestly, if you want it to be meaningful to other people, you need to just totally not even think about that part and make something that will mean something to you. Then other people will be able to live inside it too and understand it. But if you’re making something like, “This is for this demographic,” in the hope of “They will get this from it,” it’s not a healthy way of creating.

On contemporary feminism:

L: I think I’m speaking for a bunch of girls when I say that the idea that feminism is completely natural and shouldn’t even be something that people find mildly surprising. It’s just a part of being a girl in 2013. That kind of normal, non-scary, chill vibe that you had with it, and that Rookie had, was really encouraging when I was like 14. Even now, I find a lot of feminist reading quite confusing and that often there’s a set of rules, and people will be like, “Oh, this person isn’t a truefeminist because they don’t embody this one thing,” and I don’t know, often there is a lot of gray area tha can be hard to navigate [sic]. It’s just something that I’d assumed was natural for a long time. It’s not some crazy kind of alien concept to me. Did you ever have that problem of getting into feminist writings and then feeling confused about all the ways people’s opinions differed and all of the weird rulebooks and you’re like, What?

On self-criticism:

TG: Are there any songs of yours that you don’t like listening to?

L: I mean, you know, it’s just the nature of being our age. I’m sure you look back at stuff you made or wrote a few months ago and are like, Oh god. I have that kind of constantly. But I think if you didn’t have that, then you would stop creating, because the cool thing about being a creative person is that you try to get to some unattainable goal in your head. I try and write the song that I dream of writing, and I think I’ve gotten there, and then six hours later I’m like, “No, no, this is how it needs to go.” That endless pursuit keeps us going.

On the female experience of pop stardom:

L: I have found that there is a lot of stuff, particularly on photo shoots, that people expect of girls, like “Pop that hip out a bit more! Can you just give me a wink? Can you just look a bit more sexy?” [Laughs] Or, if it’s an outdoor thing they’ll be like, “Oh, you’re in a long, beautiful dress? Let’s get you sitting in this field and looking confused.” Some of the stuff, I’m like, no one would ask this of a guy.

On love and relationships: 

TG: There’s a dedication in the liner notes to James [Lowe] where you thank him for the “truest, purest friendship [you’ve] known,” and I just think that’s so beautiful, because people rarely talk about relationships as being friendships. How has even just the friendship part of that relationship inspired your writing?

L: I’m quite solitary by nature, I guess. I don’t have heaps and heaps of friends. Often I can appreciate a place regardless of the people I’m sharing it with, which I know a lot of people can’t do, but for me … this is really personal, but James and I spent a lot of time, and still do spend a lot of time, driving around all over our city, and that for me was enlightening, because for once, the company that I’m keeping is affecting how I feel about these places, and in a positive way. I think that was kind of what drove me to write a lot of the stuff on Pure Heroine, because I really thought about where I was in conjunction with who I was in conjunction with who I was with.

 

Source: The Cut