Like many girls in my age group scattered across America, Sassy magazine was a massive influence on my pre-teenage years.
My 25-year-old friends are too young to really remember Sassy. My 40-year-old friends were old enough that they didn’t need Sassy. But for me, Sassy was a lifeline featuing girls who dressed like me, listened to the music I liked, skewering teen-queen of the time Tiffani Amber-Theissen during an interview- it was kind of like the “It Gets Better” campaign for awkward young teenage girls in the late 80s and early 90s.
One day, Sassy stopped coming. No one knew what happened. There was no internet on which fangirls could discuss the sudden, catastrophic absence of Sassy from our mailboxes. No more tutorials on how a large onesie could make an awesome small t-shirt. No amazing short stories introducing us to better young adult lit. No more inspired fashion spreads and Kurt/Courtney interviews and music reviews and staff we knew by their first names. We know the sad tale now, but at the time, it was like losing a beloved friend suddenly and without explanation.
Then it returned. But it was like one of those movies where the protagonist is fighting an insidious invasion and she goes to school one day and her super-cool best friend is one of them. Some horrible magazine overlords took our bible and turned it into YM. It was the worst kind of betrayal, and the new, soulless Sassy thankfully folded after a few painful issues.
The legacy of Sassy lived on in the minds of girls of a certain age, though- among my friends, we still refer to people uncomfortably fixated on an unwilling love interest as “reznored”- and there was even a book, in later years. When I saw someone had written How Sassy Changed My Life: A Love Letter to the Greatest Teen Magazine of All Time, it was exciting to see that other women felt the same way about Sassy.
So it is with some measure of trepidation I absorbed the tidbit that Sassy is being brought back in a form that may finally work. Jane gave Sassy readers hope, but it didn’t scratch the same itch its predecessor did. Lucky recalled a bit of Sassy nostalgia with its awesome curation of items, but it isn’t nor does it try to be Sassy. Teen fashion blogger Tavi Gevinson, who is well-known in fashion circles and amazingly wise beyond her 14 years, posted on her own blog yesterday that she’s been talking to Jane Pratt and they’re starting a Sassy-esque project.
If anyone can pull off a modern version of this magazine, it’s this kid. Reading her post (linked in the announcement post) after she received a stack of old Sassys in the mail literally brought tears to my eyes, and I don’t think one ex-Sassy reader has read Tavi’s blog and not been reminded of the late, great, best teen magazine ever. Gevinson says she doesn’t expect to replicate the magazine exactly, and with her characteristic old-soulness, states an intention that gives me hope for a similar resource for my daughter:
Of course, it won’t be Sassy (or the rebirth of Sassy, or Sassy 2.0) and nor do we want it to be. For one, you can’t try to recreate something that good. For another, while I can read old issues of Sassy and relate, the world has changed a bit in the past 15 or so years, and that whole Internet thing happened, and this world calls for something different. Something that will use Sassy as a point of reference for the whole teen-magazine-that-doesn’t-suck thing, and something in which Jane Pratt will take part, but something that is not trying to recreate the other something a bunch of us love and don’t want to see copied.
They say you can never go home again, but reading Tavi’s posts on Sassy definitely let me feel like I could visit. It’s a big undertaking, but Gevinson seems like the obvious choice to take the torch if it has to go to anyone. This could really be totally awesome.
Were you a Sassy reader? Are you excited about this new development?