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Empowered Gen We teens are still growing up

Posted on  2 June 15  by 

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by Nissa Hanna and Melissa Minkow

Today, teen stars tend to originate in the YouTube universe, but Tavi Gevinson is one of the first self-made Gen We celebs who got her start as a fashion blogger, with Style Rookie in 2008. And while some video stars have already faded, Gevinson’s trajectory continues to be bright —having segued to heading up an online and print magazine (Rookie) and acting (a role in a Julia Louis-Dreyfus flick and a part in a Broadway production).

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Gevinson (now 19) is on a summer 2015 bookstore tour to promote the latest issue of the print mag, titled “Yearbook,” and to conduct meet-and-greets with her teenage fans (an essential activity for a Gen We audience that forms close-feeling relationships with their online idols but still deeply desires opportunities to connect with them IRL).

We caught up with the Yearbook tour at a stop in a Minneapolis suburb in late May — seeing it as a unique opportunity to observe the interaction between a self-made star and her fans, and as a chance to hear teen girls say what’s on their minds. A whole hour was dedicated to answering questions (mainly from 15- to 18-year-old girls).

A couple of the questions underscored how the demographic is facing the unique challenge of growing up empowered. For as much as they’re capable of starting companies and creating fully functional and affordable Braille printers out of Legos, they’re still kids. They have to figure out who they are, how they fit in and what comes next. One girl asked how Gevinson takes herself seriously since she’s so young. This girl explained that she’s the same age as Tavi and she feels really smart and competent, but she struggles with feeling like her opinions are valid due to her age. Another girl asked if growing up scares Gevinson.

It’s important for marketers to understand that this generation of teens is enabled by tech resources and the support of grown-ups, which fosters the significant sense that their voices and ideas matter. But it’s also key for marketers to remember that members of Gen We are still vulnerable, growing up and in flux.

 

 

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