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  • November 2010
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To all the Sassy girls and guys: now is your chance to write

photo courtesy of flickr user verhext

If you are a teenager today, you weren’t around when Sassy magazine was being published.  But you’ve probably felt its influence or heard about it.  In its day, Sassy was the magazine that was an alternative to the same-old, same-old teen magazines like Seventeen or  YM (the latter is also now defunct).  It told you what zines to buy, had advice columns from the day’s hottest indie rockers, made people like RuPaul, Todd Oldham, Chloe Sevigny, and Penelope Cruz the “One to Watch” before anyone had ever heard of them.   Best of all, it didn’t talk down to its readers.  Google the phrase “Sassy Magazine” and you will find testimonials such as this:

“[Sassy] rocked my world with her tongue-in-cheek humor, which was a far cry from Seventeen and what else was out there for pre-pubescent teens at the time. [Sassy]  introduced me to grrl rockers like Sleater-Kinney and got me hooked on babydoll dresses à la vintage. Although Sassy had the traditional features of any fashion magazine, her editors broke rules at every corner and were never afraid to humiliate an uninspired Hollywood siren or two – imagine that today! [It] encouraged her girls to be as daring as the boys that loved them, and like a good older sister, [it] dared me to speak my mind. (I’ll never forget when I got too sassy with my mom and she decided to throw out my magazines with the evening trash!) But most importantly, Sassy didn’t tell me what was cool; she only reminded me that I already was.”  – Mengly Taing

“Sassy, along with some cool counselors at summer camp, really gave me a sense of myself in junior high. i turned to the writers and editors, who i knew by name (jane and christina, margie, maryann, karen, diane, janet, jacinta, mike, ethan…) for support when the boys in my language arts class made fun of my pairing of a big tweed coat with a short purple skirt and green tights. damnit, i knew i was slick… but i needed them to remind me.  i loved Sassy so much, and needed it so much, and it was there for me.” – Sarah Kowalski

There’s even a book called How Sassy Changed My Life

click to request at your library!

Can you say that about TeenVogue or Seventeen?  What made it such a touchstone for its readers?  It was pretty special, but it was also pre-internet, and finding people and publications that shared your sensibility were harder to come by, so when you found something that spoke to you, you treasured the heck out of it.

photo courtesy of flickr user verhext

 See these photo sets for a taste of what Sassy looked like:

July 1995 issue

The Making It feature

It turns out that 13 year old fashion blogger Tavi Gevinson, of Style Rookie, also loves Sassy, although she wasn’t around when it was alive.  She has written passionately about how she wants a Sassy magazine for her generation.  And guess what?  The creator and editor of Sassy, Jane Pratt, got in touch with Tavi, and they are going to try to figure out what that would mean and make it a reality.

And you can help.

So, all of you teen writers and those with something to say:


Here’s the info:

“If you want to be a part, email us. MagazineSubmissionsAreFun@gmail.com, because we haven’t decided on a title yet.  A sample — whether you would put the specific sample in the magazine or not — of your writing of all and any kinds, photos, artwork, whatever you’re good at and think would be at home in a feminist, creative, moody-teenage-girl magazine. Be sure to include the sample of your work, your age and location, and some kind of something about yourself. Talk a lot about yourself, please. I can promise no questions about being a team player and why you got fired from your office job.” – Read More Here


If you need some help putting your sample together, here are some library resources:

Writing Resources for Teens on our Teen site.

Zines Pathfinder check out the zine collection at the Main Library for original writings!

I can’t keep my own secrets: six word memoirs — brevity is a great skill for magazine writing.








Red: the next generation of American writers–teenage girls–on what fires up their lives today.









Our Boys Speak: adolescent boys write about their inner lives

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