To Rookie

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On Friday afternoon, while sitting in the Denver airport I found out that Rookie was ending. In a lot of ways Rookie is the inspiration behind why I felt inspired to do what I do here. I often feel like I’m adapting and growing with this space and I feel like I’m doing it primarily alone. I have a great social media coordinator and an art director who are incredible at what they do, but since this project is in it’s infancy, they have very limited rolls. At the end of the day, Pass/Fail continues on because I want it to (and sometimes it feels like I NEED IT TO) for you.

I spent about an hour crying at an airport Panda Express, wiping tears on cheap napkins between bites of honey walnut shrimp, risky I know, and lo-mein. When I could steady my mind I began assessing why it was that I was so distraught. I texted a friend a bunch of word vomit that amounted to ‘If she can’t do it, why do I think I can?’ and ‘I’m not the best person for this job. It’s going to fail too.’ and to be honest I was a bit paralyzed but what I was convinced Rookie ending might mean for us.

Thankfully I was able to gently remind myself that comparing yourself to others is futile. Tavi Gevinson is going to go on to do more incredible things things, and as long as it feels right, I’ll be writing here to you, and asking fascinating people to share their stories with success and failure. And if it ends, I’ll be happy to have had it and to have been here with you for as long as we’ve had together.

My point of all of this is: as an industry we’ve lost a legend. I don’t know how to explain what Rookie was to someone who doesn’t know what it is already. It was so so much more than a publication. It was a refuge. Admittedly I am a few years older than the intended audience of the publication, but it always spoke to me and healed me deeply. It taught me that being a ‘cool girl’ only meant being the best version of myself, it taught me to speak up for others who can’t speak for themselves, and it even breathed inspiration into my word of 2018.


Rookie is also what dreams are made of. The fact that it started by someone who was 15 at the time remains deeply deeply inspiring though that seems like too tame of a word. Rookie was, and as long as the website still lives on the internet IS, one of the best publications out there. It is a loud scream that young people, especially young women and femmes, can do and excel at anything they put their mind to.

Rookie has always and will always inspire me to push harder, go further, and fight like hell for what I believe in.

So while I am sad, I am also immensely grateful.

I can’t imagine what it must be like to bare your soul in that way, and believe in something so much, and then realize that it’s time for it to end. I imagine that at times it felt isolating, and scary, and the fact that it ended so vibrantly and so transparently on it’s own terms will never not be breathlessly beautiful.

I’m so grateful for that 15 year old who believed in something and didn’t let anyone stop her, and I’m so grateful for the 22 year old who did the same thing. It will stick with me throughout my lifetime, of that I am sure.

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 Photo by Paige Newton

Photo by Paige Newton


Chelsea Francis