For whatever reason, I’ve always collected magazines. (Ah! I know why. Writing for a magazine is one of my “life dreams.”) I have stacks of Vogue, Rolling Stone, Nylon, and Entertainment Weekly. But I still remember the day I came home from school in 5th grade, and my mom handed me my first…Seventeen. Claire Danes was on the cover, looking sweet and humble. What I remember the most about Seventeen was that each month, every issue showcased everyday teenagers and their unique style. There’d be a page full of fun-looking kids with captions under their faces that read, “Tracey, 14.” And I’d tell myself that “Tracey, 14” was the epitome of cool in her plaid skirt and Hello Kitty tee.
Seventeen first hit newsstands in 1944; it’s the oldest girls’ magazine in the U.S.
The quizzes were redundant, and I always knew my results would leave me smack dab in the middle. “You know how to cut loose and have fun – but you also hit the books when it’s time to get serious.” I’m a Gemini. No surprise. That brings up another point – horoscopes. Not only was it crucial to check up on what your astrological sign had in store for you, but it was also trendy; there was a resurge in the Age of Aquarius. I remember a 12-page spread with wafer-thin models capturing fire, water, air, and earth. The only thing missing was Captain Planet…
It was only a matter of time, and I was recruiting friends to create our own magazine. It was called Pre-Teen. We meticulously pieced together the layout: cover, quizzes, short stories, features, trend pages, etc. We didn’t have much to show for, but we flashed it around school in return for bragging rights. It served for a lot of intrigue, and suddenly, other groups of girls wanted in, or wanted to create their own magazines, too.
Coated paper has had its place on my bedroom walls, in collages, glued to journals, and scrapbooks ever since I could flip through the pages of Tiger Beat and see JTT’s beaming smile. Magazines are history books. One issue can speak volumes about our culture at that given time. Everything you need to know about April 2006, you can find in a Rolling Stone. Kiefer Sutherland was on the cover. (Segue to part two of the 24 premiere tonight.)