On HBO Max's new iteration of Gossip Girl, Tavi Gevinson plays teacher Kate Miller, who is sick and tired of being bullied by the Upper East Siders. But in reality, Tavi was once one of those teens. In fact, she was at one point fashion's It Girl.
At just 11 years old, Tavi's rise to fame began when she launched the now-defunct blog Style Rookie. As her very own editor in chief, she frequently posted her OOTD and other musings on trends, some of which caught the attention of the movers and shakers of the fashion industry.
It was only a matter of time before she was sitting front row at some of the biggest runway shows, including that of Chanel couture. As a New Yorker article from 2010 tells it, the teen dazzled Karl Lagerfeld with her charm and intellect. Following their conversation, he praised a young Tavi, telling a Canadian television crew, "She has a fresh eye... She's not ruined by zillions of bad collections."
Her unique perspective on style advanced her career tenfold and before she knew it, Rodarte enlisted Tavi to become the official muse of their Target collaboration. Designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy told Teen Vogue it was a no-brainer to have a "dreamer" like Tavi modeling their clothes. "Tavi defines Rodarte for Target," the sisters insisted.
However, like any overnight success story, Tavi had her detractors. The New Yorker rattled off a list of such individuals, calling out the London Telegraph's Sarah Mower for ridiculing a literal teenager and highlighting the moment a fashion editor complained one of Tavi's hats had blocked her view of the Dior runway show.
Some questioned if Tavi was actually the one writing her blog posts, while others criticized her parents for letting the teen expose herself to such a catty industry.
At the time, Tavi took the judgement in stride, a rather impressive feat for one of the first teens to experience Internet stardom. She told the Toronto Star she understood "a lot of people on the Internet have a problem with a young person doing well," but as far she was concerned, it didn't necessarily matter considering some people were only invited to runway shows because of "their name, their money or their family."
This experience now offers a 25-year-old Tavi a unique connection to her character, who is set on teaching the Upper East Siders a lesson. After all, Tavi had to prove she deserved a place in the fashion industry in the same way that Kate, a.k.a. Gossip Girl, is trying to prove she can be an asset to the students.
Of course, those days of blogging are behind her. She's now in her mid-twenties and is devoted to acting, a career switch she made after Style Rookie shut down a few years ago.
So, as Gossip Girl introduces viewers to Kate Miller, Tavi is reintroducing herself too. She recently told Vanity Fair that she learned once you're famous, you can walk away from it all or "you can keep redefining yourself and fight the losing battle of trying to gain control over how you are seen." With her role in Gossip Girl, Tavi says she's chosen somewhere "in between" the two.