With this, Sassy introduced Chloë Sevigny to the world, patchwork hats, baggy khakis, and all. While the role of an intern usually means menial tasks, according to Sassy magazine founding editor Jane Pratt, Sevigny was never the coffee-grabbing worker bee. "I didn't know what [Chloë] was going to do,” remembers Pratt. “But I knew it was going to be something, because when you have that kind of unique vision and you have the work ethic to back it up, you're going to go somewhere."
The first time Pratt crossed paths with Sevigny was on the corner of West 3rd Street and 6th Avenue back in ‘92. While filming a commercial for her eponymous TV talk show, which, like Sassy, focused on real teen issues, Pratt and Sassy fashion assistant Andrea Linett couldn’t help but notice an impeccably dressed seventeen-year-old walking up the street from a basketball court.
“There was this girl in this really cool hat, kind of like a Dr. Seuss Cat in the Hat hat,” says Pratt with a laugh. “Andrea was like, ‘I'm gonna go get her.’”
Sevigny agreed to be in their video, and soon, was a regular fixture at the magazine. “It was a real funky environment, and [Chloë] made it even funkier,” says Pratt. Moreover, she didn’t let her intern status define her. “Chloë was always a teenage girl that didn't seem like a teenage girl; she was older than her years in terms of how she owned her own style,” says Pratt. “Some interns would understandably be a bit timid about talking to the editor-in-chief. She was never like that.”
Before sealing her place in editorial history as the fairy godmother of alternative mags, Pratt was just like the ambitious young Sevigny trying to catch her big break. After graduating from Oberlin College and interning at magazines such as Rolling Stone and the now-defunct Sportstyle, Pratt was asked to come on board as the editor of Sassy magazine in 1987 at the age of 24. Newsstands didn’t know what they had coming to ‘em. The no-holds-barred periodical provided an uncensored look into the untidy lives of legit teenage girls — insecurities and all.
Part of what made the magazine special was that it hired real teens like Sevigny, so the articles wouldn’t feel filtered, Pratt says. Of course, Sevigny didn’t stay a teen — or an intern. She caught her (other) big break as a pixie-haired girl of the streets in Larry Clark’s Kids. Since, she’s become a renowned actress and fashion icon, with decades worth of editorials and film roles and a slew of Opening Ceremony collections under her high-waisted belt. But, let's be real, you already knew that.
After a battle with the religious right, Sassy magazine folded in 1996, leaving behind a legacy of Sonic Youth cooking articles and Twin Peaks-themed editorials for generations of fans to come. Pratt went on to bring her editorial vision to Jane magazine and xoJane, an online publication geared towards female empowerment. “We could definitely use some more of those ‘90s female role models now, people that are willing to put themselves out there in the way that Riot grrrls and others did,” says Pratt. “But the good news is Kathleen [Hanna] is still doing it, Kim [Gordon] is still doing it, and Chloë is still doing it.”
Pratt and Sevigny have travelled parallel roads of independent success, and their paths sometimes cross. “The last time I saw Chloë, she was coming off of an elevator and I was going into a building where some friends lived, and we gave each other this huge hug,” remembers Pratt. “It felt like, I don't know, time collided. You know when you see someone you've known for that many years through that many phases of their life? It makes me feel very close to her.”
At the end of the day, the 1992 Sassy magazine headline still says it all.
“Our intern Chloë has more style in her little finger…”