I’m just curious, because my hunch is a decent number of you were devotees of the greatest teen mag of all time (if I may say so), and I’m beginning to plumb the depths of my memory for that chapter of the book, digging through old copies and such. Tell me what the magazine meant to you, what the most memorable features were, who your favorite staffer was (it’s OK if it was Christina and not me; everyone loved Christina best). And what was the best cover, in your opinion? I find it impossible to choose just one, but this was right up there.
Yes yes a thousand times yes! I was a teenager in the early 90s and a gigantic Sassy fan. It was and remains the only magazine I would literally read cover to cover and to this day, have memorized certain parts (from the pictured issue: “zits are beauty marks.”). I loved Sassy so much I even read the masthead, always liked that you named the interns. It’s funny because I caught so much flack for how I looked in the 90s (which was very grunge, and what I now call goth-lite; manic panic, thrift store gear, combat boots and black eyeliner). Now I know that it was part of a cultural moment but at the time I was made fun of. Sassy was a port in the storm, a place where I could rest. There were ideas in Sassy I had never heard before, and needed to hear. Honestly, I wish I could find something that speaks to me so effectively now.
You (and yes, Christina) were my favorites. But it was not lost on me that all the coolest girls were named Kim back then.
I can’t wait for your book!
That cover is pretty great but how about the black and white Johnny Depp one? He was so beautiful.. Christina might have been my favorite but honestly I just remember reading it and really getting the feeling you all liked each other and you could tell you were making something special at the time. I am a little younger than you are so I was a young teenager at the time and I just didn’t know of anything else like it. There were music magazines and whatnot but it’s not like we had the internet and other women’s magazines were not aimed at me and I was too old for like tiger beat or whatever and it just covered pop stars anyway. It was the only magazine that seemed relevant.
I remember the butta butta buttas given to Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves. And readers complaining that they didn’t get even buttas.
I loved Sassy! I grew up in rural Utah – so the magazine was exotic and exciting with each new issue. It helped me see there was life outside of my town of 900. It made me curious about the rest of the world and helped me dream of seeing more of it. Those dreams came true, I’m now living in Europe after living in 7 countries in the last 11 years.
I was DEFINITELY a Sassy reader! It was everything for this lonely weird alternative girl who had no friends. At that time I had so little in common with my peers and it made me feel so comforted to see that there were other girls out there who were like me, thought like me, dressed like me, etc. even if I didn’t know any of them in my tiny hometown. Sassy was hope to me in a very lonely time of my life. It had style and substance and felt like a friend I wanted to have instead of one that talked down to me and made me feel ashamed for being different.
I can’t say I had a favorite staffer. I was awed by all of you.
I don’t have a fave cover, but my favorite article of all time was the one Christina did on Kirk Pengilly of INXS. I am the biggest INXS fan and while I like Michael Hutchence just fine, I think Kirk is the most dreamy one in the band. (He remains my lasting crush all these years later.) There was never any focus put on the rest of the band let alone the nerdy-looking guy with glasses. I still have the issue with that article in it.
We could have been best friends! I feel like I could have written exactly what you wrote, except the part about Kirk…but that would have made us even better friends; I wouldn’t have had to fight you for Michael! I was searching for a picture of a Sassy model named K, whose pixie haircut I copied in 8th grade and found your post, albeit a few years late. Totally made my day! 🙂
Yes! I loved Sassy! I think my favorite cover was the one with Mayim Bialik wearing an American flag turban. I loved the clothes. I loved the cute band alerts. I loved the craft projects. I especially remember the features with Chloe Sevigny. You were so prescient about her.
The politics of the magazine were especially meaningful, of course. It meant a lot as a teenager to hear from cool, smart women in their twenties. You covered abortion politics, religion, AIDS, sex work, and you never insulted your readers’ intelligence.
Oh yes I am a Sassy fan. I still have my nearly full run of Sassy. Quirky Marjorie Ingall was one of my favorites when I was a tween. And I was in awe of cool Karen Catchpole (who was too short to be a model but still half a foot taller than me).
I was a bit too old to be a Sassy reader- I’m 55, born in 1962- I was not the target audience. However, I did pick the magazine up occasionally to read the Music articles. I had been a college radio Dj, and Dj had a commercial radio station, and I was supportive of any type of media that exposed people to new and outside the mainstream music choices.
I am 55, too. And also read the magazine. I just loved it. I wanted to be on staff. I loved that you guys wrote the way I was thinking, but I was stuck working at a stuffy mainstream weekly mag. Also, deeply loved the crafts, as I was, and still am, a deeply crafty girl, now of a certain age.
That cover! Iconic.
Oh, yes. In fact, I still have a bunch of issues and look through them from time to time. I loved the music and book coverage and the general feminist vibe, so different from other magazines at the time. I also loved how Sassy never repeated an article—always new ideas, new approaches. But what I loved most was how much we got to know the staff; getting the latest issue was like getting a newsletter from your funniest, coolest, most supportive friends. It was kind of a lifeline for me.
I loved all of the writers. They all brought something different to the table. And I think the Juliana Hatfield cover was my favorite.
I was a devoted Sassy fan, and I still have my entire collection (’89-’94). There were so many things I loved about it (I was 12 when I started reading it) The first person voices that made you feel like you knew the staff. The spinelines. Learning about so many bands in a time before the internet. I poured through every book recommendation from the July 1990 issue. To this day, I’ll see an older actor and think “He was a One to Watch”. (like James from Twin Peaks). So many covers were memorable, but I remember being captivated by the one that was a super close up on Amber Valetta’s face.
Oh, yes, that Amber Valetta cover was amazing and I can still picture it. Models back then were something else. (Sorry, to use the parlance of our times, I just can’t with Kendall, Bella, and their ilk.)
And yes, yes, yes to everything everyone has said already about Sassy being a port in the storm for a slightly awkward, lightly gothy or alternative kid from the middle of no where. I graduated from high school in 1993, so Sassy was perfect.
I wish I still had my collection. I would love to share it with my daughter. Maybe someday they will release an anthology of all the issues.
Do you still have it? Could you share it, please? I really miss it 🙁
I was obsessed with the “Sassiest Girl in America” contest that the magazine ran. I wanted so so bad to be the “Sassiest Girl”. I still remember being so obsessed with one year’s winner who was from Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin. (I can’t remember her name but I remember where she was from) I thought that the requirements for entry were so cool, and so unlike the Teen Magazine Model of the Year, which I was also obsessed with. Sassy magazine wanted you to write and create, and it wasn’t about beauty, it was about “coolness”. Loved that.
I also loved all the writers. It felt like I was part of a cool girls group, like y’all could be the cool older sisters I never had.
Yes, yes, yes! I was an avid magazine reader by 12 years old and read all the usual suspects: Vogue, Elle, Glamour, Mademoiselle, Seventeen etc. I loved them all visually but the fashion mags were clearly meant for an older, wealthier reader and the teens mags always seemed off. Like they were written by people who meant well but probably didn’t know many teenagers. Only Sassy felt like it was written for me. I poured over every issue and read every single page. It informed my music & fashion sense, it shared my love of Johnny Depp, it awakened my burgeoning sense of feminism. All of your voices were so vivid to me and personal. I think the real lasting impact for me is that Sassy de-mystified that post college period for me. As a suburban teen I didn’t have much interaction with twenty-somethings. Sassy was a window into the life of fun, young, single professional women in a creative world — exactly where I wanted to be post college.
Hell yes I was a Sassy reader. Sassy introduced me to so many ideas and things in the world I didn’t feel cool enough to ask my friends about, even though in retrospect we all were probably about the same level of coolness and it would have been OK to ask. Sadly my memory of the covers is not great, but I think that’s because what I was more interested in was between the pages. It was the overall voice of the magazine I was drawn to, which I believe was compromised by all of the staff – I can’t pick out one editor or writer I enjoyed more than any other. The fashion advice was much more fun for the sake of fun and much less focused on achieving results that would turn men’s heads, as other magazines targeted at the same audience would constantly emphasize. I was exposed to musicians I wouldn’t have been able to find so easily in my suburban hometown without an independent music store. And I liked the inclusion of articles focused on political topics, and not just celebrities – it helped me start grappling with different perspectives that were also not as easy to find in my Republican-red hometown.
I also loved the way the celebrities were covered as normal people. I recall that Sonic Youth got regular coverage, and it was helpful to learn what Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon looked like because when I went to college and started spending more time in NYC Thurston was a fixture at many of the shows I used to go to, and especially at shows at the Bowery Ballroom for some reason. It was always fun to spot him.
But the most memorable Sassy article for me was one that featured some recipes that Kim Gordon learned to make when living in California with little cash. There was one for making tuna tacos – I think they were called Culver City Tuna Tacos – that was one of the first recipes I tried to make when living on my own with a gas stove. It was also the first time I learned that you could cook things directly over a gas flame instead of using a pan. I still make them today.
I too made the Thurston & Kim Tuna tacos as my first “recipe.” I had ripped out that page and put it in my recipe binder when I went away to college. I still have it that page and I still char my tortilla over an open gas flame.
I tore it out and brought it with me to school too, but I lost the page somewhere along the way.
Yes! All the nerdy girls in Terre Haute Indiana class of ’95 had Sassy subscriptions. Remember how the models would always be scrunched over like they needed to get to a bathroom ASAP? For most jr. high band concert group photos, we took one where everyone is doing their best Sassy diarrhea pose.
My stomach jumped to my throat when I saw that Sassy cover, hoping like a teenage girl that you were announcing its return! I’m 46 now and still get starry-eyed thinking about hitting the mailbox to wait on my copy. It wasn’t until years later, when the Sassy retrospective book came out, did I realize that I was part of such an amazing movement in feminist publishing.
And P.S. – You and Christine tie for favorite staffer.
Sassy changed my life! I was so upset when I discovered my mom threw away my collection that was stored in the garage while I was at college. I did love Christina and her honest celeb interviews but I also loved Karen and you. You brought a great hip-hop sensibility that was absent before. SO many memories – the profiles of Kidada and Rashida Jones / Sassiest Girl in America / reader-produced issues / the smart music and movie reviews (Sassy gave Silence of the Lambs a poor review!). I will always associate REM with Jane Pratt. And that Grateful Dead story you did… As far as covers, the Johnny Depp one was pretty incredible. I could go on. I’m just so sad that I don’t still have them to share with my 10 year old just as she’s about to start middle school, which is when I started reading Sassy.
Another yes here, and another vote for the Juliana Hatfield cover! She had such a cool girl look that I wanted to achieve but didn’t know quite how to go about doing so as teenager in a small college town. My parents would have never let me subscribe to Sassy, so I bought it at this fantastic ice cream shop in town that had an extensive magazine selection, and I reread every issue over and over again. I’m kicking myself for not holding on to the few copies I had, but I loved the irreverent style of writing, and I never felt condescended to or bombarded with prom gown ads like other teen mags did. I also loved that they took reader poetry submissions, which is a far more interesting way to incorporate your audience than letters to the editor.
Yes! My mom was an 8th grade teacher, and someone left an issue in her classroom and she passed it on to me – that’s how I discovered Sassy. If I remember correctly, it had a girl with short white-blond hair wearing red, with a blue background and Sassy in yellow. I begged for a subscription soon after. Seeing my interest in magazines, my grandmother bought me subscriptions to YM and Seventeen, and while I liked some of the fashion in those (my fashion icon at the time was Kelly Taylor on 90210 but I wore Docs with my vests and floral blazers…), the features and articles did not speak to me like Sassy. I honestly think Sassy was very formative in who I am today.
As far as covers, I held onto the Kurt & Courtney and J Depp issues for a long time – they were at my parents’ house long after I had moved out. I’m sad to say they got lost in a move. I also really, REALLY loved when the Sassiest Girls in America were on the covers. They were cool girls with interesting stories and it was so inspirational to see them on a magazine I loved.
I just thought everyone on the staff seemed so cool. I didn’t really have a “favorite,” I just wanted to grow up to have a life half as interesting and compelling!
Just want to quickly say I have all my Sassys from issue 2 (damn,why didn’t I discover it at issue 1!)and I feel like I have time machine to share with my daughter to explain the world of my youth.
I adored Sassy even though I was much older than the teen demographic…I was about the same age as you and the other editors. I remember I was living in DC in the early ’90s and one of my friends told me that her neighbor, Ian Svenonius (sp?) of the band Nation of Ulysses, had just been crowned Sassiest Boy in America. Then later in the mid ’90s I was living in Prague, where I met my friend Blake whose about-to-be-published book (Girl) had been excerpted in Sassy. I made him tell me stories about what Sassy was really like behind the scenes–not sure he was the most accurate reporter, but as I recall he did have a crush on Christina.
Oh, and I loved reading about all about Chloe Sevigny when she was your stylish intern. I remember what a big deal it was when she cut her hair short.
I loved that book when it came out. I remember reading it over and over thinking that it would give me the answers on what being a teen girl would and could be like.
FYI, he’s coming out with a guy version called “Boy”–I haven’t read it yet.
i have a picture somewhere of my now-15-year-old at 13, reading my Sassy-era copy of Girl. fwiw, she loved it. (she also loved the first Weetzie Bat book.)
I had a dog for 13 years named Weetzie.
Loved Sassy! I subscribed and saved all the issues, carried them with me with every move until around 10 years ago. I grew up in a very small, insular town and probably didn’t even realize what an effect Sassy had on me, knowing that there were smart, thoughtful, feminist women out there.
OMG yes! I loved Sassy. All of it- content, art direction, point of view, the rating system they used for music. It was so different, in all the right ways, from Seventeen and Teen and YM (remember YM magazine?) It was the best.
OMG, YM! I can’t decide which was worse, that one or TEEN. At least Seventeen had those Mimi Pond comics in the back.
I am so jealous of all of the GOACAs here who were hip to Sassy! I was right in the crosshairs of your target demographic – the magazine landed when I was a weirdo high school sophomore in a shitty little closed-minded town – but I had no clue it existed. I don’t remember seeing it anywhere, my friends never talked about it. By the time Peak Sassy hit you could get it at the Pick n’ Save where my family bought groceries, but I was in college by then.
Like another commenter above, even had I been able to get my hot little hands on a copy, my parents would NEVER have let me subscribe. They were hardcore hippies who liked to imagine they were cool and permissive, but both of them were very invested in keeping me under their wing and not allowing me to grow beyond them much as a person. Which, in addition to the fact that we lived in one of the most conservative areas of WI, should tell you just how much I needed something like Sassy in my life.
Oh, yeah. I was 14 when it came out, and my friends and I were obsessed. My sister came home from college for Thanksgiving and was furious what she found out I’d used all her clothes for the DIY projects. I wore so many leotard tops sewn to slips because of you guys. My favorite cover was Juliana Hatfield. I started playing guitar because of it. I don’t remember who my favorite writer was, but it was either you or Christina. I found both your blogs by searching “Sassy writers where are they now?”
Sassy was my saving grace as a teenager. I lived in a small northern Ontario city (hours away from anything and everything else), and Sassy kept me sane in a sea of Teen and Seventeen magazines, which kept telling me their steps to getting a boyfriend were foolproof, but I still didn’t have a boyfriend so I thought I was a loser. I’m so grateful I discovered Sassy (a friend of mine got an issue in her xmas stocking – can’t remember which one, but guessing it was from 1988) – it taught me that all that Teen/17 stuff was just noise, and it taught me about feminism. I read every issue over and over again, and kept them for at least 15 years, until a sewage leak in the basement of the house in which I had an apartment ruined all my boxes and I had to throw them out. That broke my heart.
I don’t remember having a favourite writer – I loved everyone equally – but I will always be grateful to you for Kim France Pants (Pance?). Favourite cover was probably Juliana Hatfield.
My favorite Sassy issue of all time was the Natural Beauty issue where you asked Dolly Parton to participate and she refused, saying she wasn’t a natural beauty and never had been. Really a great magazine.
I was a reader and loved it. I’m not sure I can pick a favorite cover but features I remember fondly include the snack food review/survey (someone–Mike? I always loved cranky Mike–sabotaged cheddar goldfish’s anticipated win in the orange category in favor of the more burnt taste of Cheez-its), the chili recipe for valentine’s day (if you love someone, eat some and set one free), and the survey when you showed pictures of a bunch of women and asked which was most appealing physically (very eye opening how different men and women responded to that one).
The junk food taste-off was a favorite of mine as well. We had so much fun doing that story.
I loved Sassy❤ I can’t give you a favourite cover or writer but I was obesssed with R.E.M. And remember vividly wanting to be Jane who was friends with Michael Stipe!!
I just loved Sassy. I felt like all the contributors were my friends, or could be.
My absolute favorite, favorite article was a snack food taste test. I vividly remember the orange-colored foods section. I saved that piece for ages because it was just so much fun.
And on a random note, my old boss’s daughter was the one that came up with the magazine’s name. She was 13!
Same story as others, I was a punk rawk girl growing up in a California cowtown. I was bullied right up until Nirvana hit MTV and alternative became….less alternative.
Sassy magazine and post modern MTV (followed by 120 Mintues) helped shape my early teenage years. I remember getting amazing book recommendations and putting together looks from the magazine. I found a bunch of old issues at Goodwill a few years ago, took them all home, and had a full on nostalgia weekend!
The Bill and Ted cover was likely my favorite because if I did choose to get married, it was going to be to Keanu Reeves.
I found Andrea’s book a few years back, discovered her blog, and IMMEDIATELY typed Kim France blog into Google. That is how I found you again dear writer. Can’t wait for the book!
Yes! It came out my junior year of high school and my sheltered, small-town self loved it immediately. I can’t remember if I had a subscription or if I bought it at the store, but either way it didn’t last long–after the first two or three issues my mom found it and told me it was inappropriate and I couldn’t get it anymore.
So instead, I finished high school and went away to college and got married at 20. I’m pretty convinced that had I kept reading Sassy, I would have had the confidence needed to get out of that relationship, but here we are. Now I have teenaged daughters of my own, and wish there were a Sassy magazine for them. 🙂
Psssst! There sort of is, and it is called Teen Vogue. Totally serious.
I’ve heard good things about Rookie mag.
Impossible to choose, but the Juliana Hatfield cover holds a special place for me for several reasons.
I saw Juliana’s band, the Blake Babies, play the year before the Sassy cover came out and they instantly became my favorite band. It was a dingy rock club in Iowa, maybe 20 people in the crowd, but Juliana was magnetic on stage — wearing understated jeans and a raggedy t-shirt, singing and playing bass like I’d never seen a woman play. Shortly thereafter, the band broke up, and I was beyond bummed, thinking I’d probably never see her play live again.
But now, here she was, solo record on the way and appearing smack dab on the cover of my favorite magazine. Anything was possible.
(Full disclosure: Years later, I began working for her as her web/social media person, which I continue to do. She’s still my favorite.)
Yes! I was a devoted Sassy reader. I loved it all, and I’m not sure I can pick a favorite anything. My favorite features were probably Dear Boy, Zines of the Month and Cute Band Alert (Ween! Luscious Jackson! Guided By Voices! Buffalo Tom!)
I haven’t looked through my old issues in a long time, but several articles stand out in my mind even now…”Jennie Garth Rebuffed My Rice Krispies Advances,” the two-page piece on Rashida and Kidada Jones (I was obsessed with them!), the Twin Peaks fashion spread, and the “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” book review, which introduced me to a book that completely changed my life and is still one of my absolute favorites.
The Mayim Bailik cover was awesome, but the Kurt and Courtney cover is epic. It was cool then, but means a lot more all these years later.
Kim and Andrea were my favorite staffers.
I could go on forever. Off to reminisce…
Yes I was an alsmost 30 year old avid reader. LOVED the magazine. Loved all of you, probably Karen Catchpole was my favorite but I loved you and Christina and Margie! and Andrea! Jacinta! I probably felt the least for Jane since she seemed like a celebrity. I found the magazine and went and found all the copies I missed and bought them too. My favorite cover was maybe Juliana Hatfield, it stood out. My admiration for the magazine was about how the writers came through as personalities, friends, and seemed to be people like the folks in the zines I was reading. So so good. Loved DIRT too.
Fifteen when the first Sassy came out. My incredibly hip and easy going mom was shocked by the what it feels like to lose your virginity issue (I might already have lost it when that issue came out.) A magazine that could shock my mom! I was all in.
No question the boy features really got my attention, particularly the Bill & Ted and Johnny Depp covers, Dear Boy, Cute Band Alert, and any pictures of the Twin Peaks hunks.
And even though I was a quiet, overprotected nerdy girl who would never look as tough or cool as the average Sassy model, man, did I love that magazine. Your and Andrea’s articles, plus Christina’s and Karen’s, made me aspire to be as smart and fun and relaxed about everything.
And what great music I first learned of through Sassy! Am I remembering correctly that there were flimsy, possibly square records that came in a couple of issues?
Yes! I was absolutely delighted by the feud with Milla Jovovich. Also, Chloe Sevigny’s bag hat, the Twin Peaks fashion spread and the abundance of short-haired girls in the mag. I brought various issues of Sassy with me to the hairdressers over the years.
I was a huge Sassy fan. It was the first teen or woman focused mag that seemed written for me and had substance beyond lipstick colors and ‘How can I get that boy to like me?” stories. I deeply regret not saving all of my Sassy issues! The cover shown was probably my favorite.
I loved the sassy tone and I’ve loved watching you all continue to celebrate eclectic fashion and emotions in your post-Sassy writing careers. I also remember that sex survey and writing my first ever letter to the editor about the lack of questions about non-heterosexual sex.
I still have many of my Sassy magazines at my mom’s house — including this issue! I was barely a teenager at the time. I started reading them when I was 11 or 12. I loved how you all had your own “voice” and you could tell who wrote what. Sassy’s realness had a big impact on me in a very formative time of my life and helped make me an activist. And then there was the FASHION! The fashion totally shaped my sense of style and still kind of does. Loved you and Andrea the best.
Yes, I loved Sassy too! I think it was a big part of what made me want to go into magazines—that individual-ness of all the writers. Many other magazines were a letdown after that! But I did love Jane and Lucky… wish there was one I loved as much today!
YES! Sassy was the first time I ever found a publication that really seemed like it was for me. Before I got a subscription I used to ride my bike up to the drugstore every single day to look for the new issue.
My favorite cover was the black & white Johnny Depp and you were my favorite. I mean, Kim France Pants. Come on, that was brilliant.
I had every single issue and sometime in college I lent them all to a friend and never got them back. I’m still mad about it.
I was just a bit too young for Sassy, I subscribed at the tail end and I was so mad when it shifted editorial direction and became a replica of teen magazine.
I actually discovered it because one of my jr. high teachers subscribed to it and kept the issues in her classroom. She taught what was called the ESP program – basically an extra class that students who were identified as gifted took. We did a lot of different things, I remember doing guided meditation once and we had a logic reader.
I loved dear boy and there was a fashion spread that took place on a farm, in a barn that I really remember. I might have an issue or two at my parents house still.
Despite being well out of its demographic (I was 24 when this issue came out) I loved Sassy. All of my friends did. It was such a breath of fresh air. And even though it was aimed at teens, the writing was so smart and knowing, funny and approachable, it was instantly appealing. I’ll admit I have mixed emotions looking at this cover now. So much quirk and promise from those two that sadly went all wrong. Sigh. Sassy is also a sweet reminder of a time when magazines reigned supreme in the media universe! They were so vital and exciting and had cache. Sassy was such a great arbiter of pop culture. My daughter will soon be entering the teen years–I wish there was a Sassy for her!
I LOVED Sassy. The covers I remember most are the Kurt and Courtney cover (of course), Mila Jovovich, and the Sassiest Girl/Boy covers.
I spent Saturdays with my best friend, reading the magazine. The 90210 paper dolls suddenly come to mind.
Favorite Sassy Staff: Andrea, Kim, Karen, Marjorie. When I think you, Kim, it is first and foremost of the crush you reportedly had on Q-Tip. To me, Q-Tip will always be your boyfriend.
Yes yes yes when i was in middle school i read the school library copies religiously.
No details come to mind specifically, except loving the experience of it all.
So much of my Sassy experience has been echoed here – and I have to say that even yesterday, when I put on bike shorts under a dress, I thought “Kim France pants (pance)”.
That mag meant the world to me in terms of shaping my perspective on culture and music and sex and feminism in my small PA town – I didn’t even really realize it at the time, but looking back it’s pretty clear. I lugged all my copies around in a box for years, until they were finally lost in a basement flood. 🙁
The first time I read it was in 1988 – I was 13 years old, hanging out at my friend’s house, and she threw it at me and was like, “Have you read Sassy? It’s awesome!” (She is now a super-rad high school librarian, still keeping young Iowans tuned into the more interesting corners and crevices of the world-at-large.) For me, Sassy was that touchstone that others spoke of, a window to the beyond from small-town life. It made me excited, hopeful, and it also totally prepared me against potential sexual predators on campus once I hit college.(That article stayed with me for 25+ years!)
My 12-year-old daughter recently absconded with my old copies, including the Kurt/Courtney one! Nothing makes me feel as nostalgic as thumbing through those late 80s/early 90s editions. And you and Christina were definitely my faves. 🙂
Oh my god yes, I was a huge Sassy reader. (I still geek out that I can type comments to you and you read them, your involvement in Lucky was why I read it.)
My all time favorite outfit came from there; it was jeans shorts, a real Chanel vintage jacket(when such things could be purchased by teens), tights, and a fake Chanel belt (credited as thus).
I remember the white supremacist article well, and on incest. Sassy tackled topics not covered in other teen magazines and I have a life long love and appreciation for it.
PS- I had a huge crush on Mike.
Mike! I couldn’t remember his name. Me too!
Joining in the nostalgia-fest here. I too was a massive Sassy fan. I had a wicker basket next to my bed that I would keep them in, neatly ordered chronologically. The best thing about Sassy for a teenager, living in Minnesota without access to the kind of music or fashion covered in its pages, was this sense of a bigger world out there, one with room in it for girls and young women with independent spirits and provocative ideas. I loved that Nirvana cover, I loved the Juliana Hatfield cover, I have vaguer recollections of Evan Dando and Breeder but this may just be the 90s coming back to me more generally. I loved that Sassy treated its readers as worthy of challenging content, not just fluff.
YES! Huge Sassy fan from Canada. I have such fond memories of lying outside on the grass reading a magazine that finally got me. I saved that Juliana Hatfield issue for YEARS. The May 1992 cover had a girl with a round face just like mine and I felt normal, seen, pretty. Sassy was the only magazine my English mum would ever buy me. Thank you for being such a positive part of growing up a fat girl on a small BC island who wore docs and loved music.
Oh yes, teenager in the early 90s. This was my very favorite magazine. My mother looked at it sideways. She wasn’t a fan of it.
I remember there was an outfit featured…baggy “paper bag waist” jeans, cuffed, ballet flats with bows (Sam & Libby of course), and a leotard. I wore this on dress down days. I had a uniform for school, work, and dance classes. There were very few ways for me to express my style, but I tried to make do when I could.
I remember an article about styling your uniform with jewelry, etc. So, no joke, I started wearing huge bracelets and earrings. They were uncomfortable but I didn’t care!
Oh yeah, I read Sassy, right through college, until it tragically ceased to exist. It was such a breed apart from the other magazines at the time. (“Seventeen” in particular seemed written for a different species of human entirely,) I don’t remember how or when I first read Sassy- I think I swiped it from my younger sister actually – but it had to be one of the first issues, and I was hooked.
Sassy covered the bands I liked, featured the clothes I wanted to wear, and didn’t talk down to it’s readers. Unlike most magazines, which sent me into a spiral of self-loathing, Sassy was like having a group of cool slightly older friends who were cool, successful, and above all, not completely unlike me. For an awkward , unlovely introvert, in the pre-internet era, that was no small thing.
I can’t pick a favorite writer, but certain articles stayed in my mind: the girl with MPD, the boy with schizophrenia, the topless club, the thankless grind of a real aspiring model’s day. Not the usual teen mag fluff at all.
As for covers, Kurt and Courtney FTW! Not only do I remember that cover, I remember where I was when I devoured the issue.
Did Sassy ever work things out with Milla? ; )
Was obsessed with Sassy. Seventeen, YM, and the rest were so freaking white and middle-American. Loved how you inserted notes to each other in every article and always wrote in first person. I remember when the other mags started imitating you and Midge from Seventeen signing the Editor Letter like she was Jane Pratt (as if), and the advertorial you did to show advertisers how other mags were directly ripping you off. I will never forget the back page you did where you showed what a marked-up article manuscript looked like, each editor’s comments in her own pen (that may or may not have directly influenced my later career as a mag editor); the free REM record that came with one issue (!!!); discovering Milla Jovovich; and the Johnny interview (when he was still dating Winona, I believe).
Christina was my favorite back then, yes, but you are my favorite now. (It’s true!)
I was a devoted Sassy reader — my mom taught junior high and subscribed in order to keep in touch with the teen mindset, so I started reading around age 9 or 10. My favorite staffers were Christina and Margie — and yes, you are my favorite now, too, though I still love Andrea’s style as well. I remember the Tiffani-Amber Thiessen interview in particular, and being so impressed with the mag’s courage to be snotty about a rather dimbulb starlet. And the punk-rock fashion spread with a young Amy Smart was an indelible style influence on me. I’m a magazine editor now and I can honestly say it’s because of Sassy.
Loved Sassy. The things that immediately jump to mind are a cover with horses on it and an article about wild horse herd thinning that was really great. I loved in general that Sassy wasn’t afraid to report on “grown up” topics. Y’all trusted teenage girls to be smarter and more tuned in than everyone else gave us credit for.
I also loved the reader produced issues, those were my favorites overall.
I loved the sassiest girl in America covers! I liked the Amy Smart covers, and the one with ladybug from digable planets was so beautiful! and Mayim/Juliana/K+C as others have mentioned. I liked how it felt as if a group of friends hanging out had produced the magazine, I loved reading about bratmobile and Nation of Ulysses and Bikini kill and fanzines, I sent off for so many things from Christina’s pages! I wanted to be Chloe Sevigny! I loved Diane and am surprised no one mentioned her yet. also Marjorie and Kim and Karen and Christina and Andrea… I also read lucky and jane mostly because of teenage nostalgia, and I miss having a magazine where it feels like you know the writers, I guess blogs have taken that space? but it’s not the same! Sassy was fun and hilarious and bitchy and radical, the fashion was re-creatable via thrift stores in a rad way that other magazines did not even try-the clothes seemed like things girls would actually wear. Not only aspirational, but still visionary and cool
OF COURSE! I’m 41, so I was really in the sweet spot of your demo. I really loved all the parenthetical editorial asides, for one thing. Other stuff I remember super clearly: the Sonic Youth recipe for tacos on the backpage (as a Los Angeleno, I felt like they didn’t know WTF they were doing); an article where someone (maybe Christina?) went on some outward bound camping trip and noted that she knew she was going to be friends with another woman on the trip when she saw that woman applying lipstick with a tiny brush; one of the letters to the beauty editor where someone asked if they could achieve the same results as collagen injections by simply bashing her lips a few times with a brick (whomever was answering the letters was like, “don’t do that”); and an interview with I THINK Debbie Gibson where she referred to Guns N Roses as “throw your grandma down the stairs music.” I think of that quote EVERY TIME I hear GnR. And the amazing snack food taste test where you all gagged on circus peanuts. Oh! And you did a whole piece where girls of various weights and heights and sizes wore the same bra/panties, and you asked random people what they thought of their bodies. (Or it might have been that all the girls were the same weight and just different shapes?) That really brought it home to me that hardly anyone looks like a model.
I am a total hoarder and I’m really annoyed I didn’t keep all my Sassys. I’m sure I have a few of them somewhere at my parents house. ANYWAY. Sassy meant a lot to me, and as a writer I’m 100% sure I would not be writing with the tone I use today without it.
man, i have NO MEMORY of that Debbie Gibson thing. or the bra/panties thing…if we did that I’m kind of horrified in retrospect.
The Debbie interview was great–Christina thought she’d think Deb was a nerd but they wound up being friendly and Deb sent her a fax (!) afterwards–as was the bra/panty thing. Illustrated what so many sites like R29 and others do well now–that every body is different and normal in its own way.
The bra/panties thing was very body positive, in my memory. I honestly don’t remember the details of that piece but the overall vibe was “hey, bodies are different and everyone’s is normal.” Or that’s what 15 y.o me took away from it.
I’m the opposite of a hoarder who’s moved dozens of times, and my ’90s Sassys are literally the ONLY thing I’ve hung onto from my childhood/teen years. I’m a proud owner of this very Kurt and Courtney issue and as iconic covers go, it’s pretty hard to top. And so representative of that era.
The phrase “Kim France pants” has stuck with me throughout the years. I loved ALL of you.
As someone from a low-income family outside Detroit, I credit Sassy with who I became. Someone who wanted to do more, see more, live in different places. It made me get interested in cool movies and books and music and art—and introduced me to pretty much everything I’m into, still, 20+ years later. And yep, I became an editor, too; ill-advised as that might have been 🙂
I *loved* Sassy, although it was often cooler than I was growing up in Louisville, KY. The story that ALWAYS stays with me is Margie and Mary Ann’s article on trying out dating advice and the insane things like wearing leopard print and how they went. It was very, very funny to me as a teen.
Heh, I remember two of those pieces of advice! Wear stockings and cross and uncross your legs because the whisper of nylon upon nylon would be SO SEXY UNTO HIM (I sat in the art department near the associate art director Clarence rubbing my legs against each other like a cicada until Noel screamed STOP IT MARJORIE THAT SOUND IS BUGGING THE BEJESUS OUT OF ME), and dab vanilla extract on your pulse points because it has been scientifically proven that men are attracted to vanilla (I wore it to the movies and the guy next to me asked his friend, “Do you smell Rice Krispie Treats?”).
This was one of my favorites! One of you wore lace up boots to the hot dry cleaner and unlaced them for an uncomfortably long time. You also enticed a man on a bike with an alarmingly large tooth. I’m 45 and haven’t read those issues in at least 20 years!
Awesome! I love the backstories! For some reason, one of the lines in that story has stuck in my head almost verbatim (“‘Meow’ screamed the homeless man as I tottered down my steps.”) or something like that. I was pretty young when that article came out, I think (if it came out in 1990, I was 11), and even though I was a baby feminist already, that pretty much cemented for me that chasing and trying to attract boys was really stupid. I spent high school doing my own damn thing and not really worrying about dating unless a suitable person presented themselves. So… thanks for that. 🙂
I was in 8th grade when the first issue of Sassy came out. I saw an ad for it somewhere and knew it would replace my Seventeen, Teen and everything else. When my mom took me to Joe’s Newsstand in Miami to get it, she saw the cover, which had the headline “Are you ready to lose your virginity?” and said I wasn’t ready for such material. I cried and threw a fit in the store and she bought it just so we could get out of there. That was the beginning of a long and passionate affair with Sassy. I saved every issue throughout high school, entered the contest where they’d fly you to NYC to work at Sassy (never won), and was voted “Most likely to work at Sassy” in the senior yearbook. After college, I moved to NYC to get a job at a magazine (back when you could do such a thing without having interned; unfortunately, by then Sassy was gone) and within a couple of years I was an editor at a Hearst publication, then another Hearst pub., then freelanced at a bunch of Conde titles. I ultimately landed as an editorial director at a number of fashion/luxury brands, which is never where I’d planned to be, but I’m glad it happened sine the magazine world is not a great place to be anymore. In any case, Sassy made an indelible mark on my adolescence as the older, cooler sister I never had; and it propelled me into a career that has turned out to be interesting, fulfilling and successful. Thank you for that. (And P.S., not to be creepy, but your brother lives in my building, I think)
I was in my mid-to-late 20s when Sassy came out but I still subscribed and read it AVIDLY! I remember this cover so well. God, how young they are!
I don’t remember a favorite cover, but I loved Cute Band Alert, the guy who was on your staff and would be your guinea pig for experiments (Mike I think?) and Dear Boy. For some reason, an article that I’ve always remembered is one where you did a makeunder on Pamela Sue Anderson. Not only was the idea of a “makeunder” innovative at the time but your interview with her was so thoughtful and different than anything else I’d read.
When I was reading Sassy, I was a young magazine editor (not in fashion) working in L.A. with a lot of other young people who were all close friends. I loved reading about your staff, how everyone interacted, and your first-person comments because it reminded me of my workplace, only way more fun!!!
I also remember being SO awestruck of Jane Pratt b/c she was friends with Michael Stipe, who at that time I basically worshipped as a god. My favorite writers were Kim France and Andrea Lee Linnett.
So much “content” out there now is built on the Sassy model (but without the true spirit) that it’s hard to remember how innovative it was! After Spy magazine, Sassy was probably my favorite magazine of all time.
Sassy was everything to me when i was in adolescence for many of the reasons already detailed here. what sticks with me the most is the voice that you all used to write. that made a huge impact on me, and i loved how it was all written like it was coming from friends. y’all were funny and real as hell. that really mattered. i lived in an endlessly preppy place and sassy showed me that what was cool was something better and different. i was already obsessed with music and grateful for your coverage. i wanted to be a magazine editor or writer up until my mid 20s but never did quite pursue it after all. literally the only thing i regret that i have done in my life (how dramatic!) is tossing my sassy mags one day when i was purging my old bedroom at my parents’. what a fool i was to do that! still sad. add me to the list of those who credit sassy in part for forming the woman i am today. THANK YOU
Yes. And I wanted to be part of the reader-produced issue.
I was a huge fan of Sassy magazine. It was the only magazine at the time that reflected my experience as a teen. I couldn’t relate to the other glossy teen mags; they always seemed aimed at cheerleaders or something. No shade to cheerleaders, but an idealized American high school experience wasn’t really relatable to me as a teen growing up in a smallish city in Canada. I feel like you and the team at Sassy got me in a way that was exciting and made me devour each issue as soon as possible.
I’m not great at remembering the covers, but i remember some of the interviews and columns. It Happened to Me was one of my favourites. The interviews were excellent.I remember really loving the Henry Rollins interview; it sent me off on a path into his spoken word stuff. The music articles, book reviews and fashion coverage were also favourite parts of the magazine. But what I remember most was the excellent tone that you and the other writers hit consistently. The writing always respected me and treated me as a more or less fully formed human; I never felt condescended to. The writing was personal, smart, funny and poignant. In short, it was real.
When Sassy was gutted and became just another YM, i was so sad that younger teens lost the opportunity to see themselves in the pages of the magazine. I mourned the loss of representation for all of us.
I had blocked that sad phase from my mind. They kept the name “Sassy”, but that was all. Ugh.
Loved Sassy so much that I went into Manhattan by myself my first week at college with a vague plan to turn up at the magazine’s office and beg for an internship. When I got there, all the old staff was moving out and I was crushed. Later that fall, I got an internship at New York, where by some stroke of serendipity you were an editor. I was too shy to say anything but was so excited to be working (in my very small way) with someone from Sassy.
OMG, yes, I loved loved loved Sassy. Like many of the women above, I grew up alienated in a small, midwestern town and Sassy saved me. The magazine was like a cool older sister who had moved away and was now sharing all her insights on music, boys, fashion, etc. It made me realize there was a big, bad world out there, and I could find a way to be “cool” that didn’t involve cheerleading or being prom queen. I, too, remember the orange snack food taste test, the rashida/kadida jones article, and a make your own pillowcase dress/skirt (?) article. And of course, the cute bands, the sonic youth articles, and the makeunders. I totally did that. I so wish I would have saved all of my issues. Thanks so much for asking this question–I love the nostalgia these answers are triggering.
Not a memorable cover, but the back pages (I always read magazines from the back now). My favorite Sassy thing was a multi-month last page collage that spelled out “peace”. Although it pained me to cut up the magazine, those pages looked so cool on my bedroom ceiling!
Yes, yes, yes. How many pillowcases did I destroy trying to make a pillowcase dress?! I wrote an article about my sad attempt to become the Sassiest Girl in America a few years ago; Kim, it features me freaking out over my friend, a SGIA finalist, getting a phone call from you! https://the-toast.net/2015/01/28/least-sassy-girl-america-pt-i/
(Part II features the Kim part; also lots of Margie love: https://the-toast.net/2015/01/28/least-sassy-girl-america-pt-ii/)
K, I read that piece when it first came out and loved it.
I just went down the rabbit hole with your stories and I LOVED EVERYTHING ABOUT IT! It’s like time traveling. Thank you for this.
Thank YOU! <3 <3 <3
Nope… I think I was too old. I was already out of college when it started. Had it been 5 years earlier, I might have been.
Aaahhhhh, the memories… Crowded House feature with a photo of the band in a pool, Sassiest Girl finalists including Asians!, body type poll with majority of guys choosing curvy, and just the way the writers spoke that was frank and respectful to teenagers. I didn’t have enough money to buy every issue but the ones I could buy I cherished greatly. Sassy reminded me that maybe I was okay being studious, interested in the world, and a fan of music and that the definition of beauty is so much broader than what others would have you believe.
I too was a post-teen when Sassy appeared but I still enjoyed reading it. Can’t remember the name of the musician who said Sassy made her feel she was having her adolescence over again, but this time it was better.
At the time I worked with a student assistant who was talking about music a lot and I made her a copy of the article on how to start a band which she thought was amazing – I think she even went into band management later on…
I was a huge fan of Sassy. I was in charge of one of the largest magazine sections of a bookstore in LA and without a doubt I would pounce on the new Sassy’s the second they were in. I had always been a big magazine fan but never fit into the market they seemed to be aiming for so it was like there was finally something that brought the aesthetics/cool factor and visuals I liked but combined with something that was inclusive rather than the usual mags which kind of made me feel ugly/fat/poor. I’m so glad for blogs and the internet now because the print magazine market is so generic, there’s a serious lack of personality and spunk in women’s magazines these days.
I was obsessed with Sassy! I was a junior in high school when it came out. I remember pouring over it with my friends. We thought it was so cool (and believe me, there was nothing cool in Cary, NC in 1988). I can’t remember my favorite cover but I do remember my excitement every time one arrived in the mail. After it folded, I promptly became Jane reader.
Another Sassy lover here! Even now when I see the granddad in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation reading a copy, I get all giddy and nostalgic.
I don’t remember having a favorite anything– I just loved all of it. It was so authentic and empowering… And funny! I wish I still had my old copies because I think I would enjoy it even now at 42.
Yes! Huge Sassy fan here. I grew up in Kansas and felt out of place, like I did not belong. Sassy connected me to a different place where I wanted to belong: where girls and young women are who they are for themselves and not for boys or to be “good girls” but to be fun and smart and fierce and adventurous because that’s what we are. Sassy helped me feel OK about feeing different and to explore who I wanted to be on my terms. It was my earliest connection to feminism and that it existed and I found it meant a lot to me.
It’s impossible for me to encapsulate the effect that Sassy Magazine had on me as a teenager. I grew up on Long Island, near NYC, which my family and I visited often, so it wasn’t as though I didn’t have access to culture outside of a smallish town. But my high school–where I had plenty of friends and did well in school–was not a bastion of alternative thought.
I read every issue from cover to cover. I loved “working our nerves,” the advice from a boy, “it happened to me,” “zine of the month” (some of which I subscribed to), the movie and album reviews. I discovered the Replacements in the pages of Sassy, and they remain one of my favorite bands to this day. I loved that you featured short fiction, and I think often of a series of stories that I read in your pages, which I have been unable to find anywhere else–“Lunch in Brooklyn.” I loved the “guy” Sassy, the short-lived Dirt.
As for the covers: the Kurt/Courtney cover, the Jason Priestley cover (something about him being soaking wet??), the Amy Smart cover, the Milla Jovovich cover, was Julianna Hatfield on a cover?, SGIA covers, Mayim Bialik’s cover, Johnny Depp’s cover…
I remember articles that didn’t pander, stories about teens and young adults who were taking matters into their own hands. I wish that I had been able to persuade my mother that those magazines were worth saving when they sold our house, because I would love to have them now to re-read. My own daughter, who is only 4, might not grow up to be the type of girl who would read Sassy, but I wish that I could give her the option.
I was 26-years-old (around the age of many Sassy editors) working down the hall as the beauty editor at Working Woman magazine. We were both owned by a company called Lang Communications, which had the reputation of being a low-budget publishing house compared to companies like Hearst and Time Inc. It really was the kookiest of companies—the Working Woman staff worked out of an old library and rumors were the staff at Sassy worked out of an old cafeteria (Kim, you’ll have to confirm that). Anyways, I often made my way down the hall to hang out with Andrea Linett (who gets my vote for the coolest Sassy editor ever—#style icon) and fellow beauty editor Mary Clarke. If I remember correctly, they used scarves and fabric to create cave-like tops over and around their desks—I can remember thinking how cool it was as we played with makeup and sex toys. But I have to say my favorite memory of Sassy was waiting to use the copy machine in the hallway and listening to Gloria Steinem (Ms Magazine was also owned by Lang) and Jane Pratt discuss the merits of the Sassiest Girl In America contest. That’s when I knew Sassy magazine was more than a magazine—it was the 90s version of a women’s revolution.
I was a huge Sassy fan! The junk food taste test was my favorite thing ever. I still think about its takedown of circus peanuts.
So hard to pick a favorite cover but Amy Smart’s up there.
Was a huge fan of you, Kim; Margie Ingall; and Andrea Linnett.
OF COURSE. It was as aspirational for me, in its way, as Seventeen, but the genius was in its noncondescending style and tone. I was born in ’74 and had the instant impression it was designed for my age. I have every issue in a box in my garage waiting a few more years for my 6 year old daughter to be ready for them. So happy I still have them, through so many moves and past lives.
I think Karen was my favorite at the time because “Catchpole”, duh, awesome name.
I went to college with the poet Joshua Clover who currently is a professor of English at UC Davis and I either heard it from him or from someone else that he would write letters to Sassy magazine pretending to be a teenage girl….. That said I am assuming he was a fan of the magazine.
One letter, under my own name; my first national publication! I was skeptical about the racial politics of an article. But I was a regular and avid reader.
I could go on for ages about Sassy. AGES. My first email from someone not on a local BBS was from Margie after I sent her a message about a “Girls in Cyberspace” piece. I wanted all the brogues and boots and other sensible shoes ever featured, and went to virtually every. single. mall between Ontario and Florida while on a road trip with my mother because I HAD to get Jane’s daisy-covered dress from the Shiny Happy People video. I read Weetzie Bat (and all its sequels) in a weekend because Sassy said I should. When I make latkes, I still remember the advice to press then hell out of them because of a recipe that appeared in one issue. I still am convinced that all the Gore daughters are probably named Karenna.
I still have some issues (beat up) in a box somewhere. I hesitate to dig them out because I don’t want to see how my 14-year-old self filled out the quizzes.
Oh! I meant to add to my recollections Jane’s total geek-out over dancing in the daisy-covered black dress in the SHP video. I remember that she wrote a list of observations about the video shoot, and every third or fourth one was “That’s me dancing in the daisy-covered black dress!” Heh.
Huge huge huge fan – I graduated high school in 1990 so I was 100% in the target and subscribed for the life of the book. A few things stick in my memory: actual lesbians in one of the first issues (be still my closeted teen heart!), an understanding that there were actual, cool people that put together magazines (and drove me into a life in media myself), and of course that REM floppy record! What has physically stayed with me is the rejection letter I got from an “It Happened To Me” that I sent in during college. I don’t have the story anymore but I still have the rejection.
I remember you (as in, the magazine; unfortunately, I lost all of mine years ago) talked to someone whose last name was noonan, and she said she wanted to marry someone whose last name was knight (like ted knight, but he was dead) and have a baby girl, and name her Morning Noonan Knight.
I remember that the review for some shakespearian or elizabethan set movie was “it doth not suck, it doth not rule”
I won a they might be giants single
you did a thing on cool summer experiences, and I did one of the experiences (greek summer ’94)
I remember chloe sevigny and amy smart modeling in the mag.
I remember something about the gore girls mocking those that sucked at field hockey. This was probably a bit harsh and based on their appearance.
I guess my fave was margie, I think that was her name, because she was related to this boy that went to an all boy’s school near me (in cleveland) and me and my friends obsessed over this boy and her friends
My random but very strong memory is of a little blurb on one of the pages that had a variety of advice and recommendations. It went something like, “imagine my surprise when Margie [I think it was her] pulled out a bottle of Lubriderm lotion and ran it through her hair” to tame and/or add definition. This stood out because I owned Lubriderm lotion, and I loved relating to such cool women (I was like 11), and I really wanted to have shorter, wavy, dark hair. I tried this trick but it was unsurpringly not successful on my long, straight, fine, blonde hair.
I think Margie and Karen were my favorites, but I honestly loved you all. I also remember finding Gigi rather intriguing (she started at Sassy, right? I know she was at Jane later).
Yep, subscribed and enjoyed Sassy. I don’t remember specific covers, but I remember the spinelines cracking me up. I remember a piece Karen Catchpole wrote chronicling the menstrual cycle. To this day, when I get a hormonal pimple (acne skipped me as a teen, so I seldom have gotten any other kind), I remember her noting that, at a certain time in the cycle, “your skin may freak.”
I also remember a piece hating on the Gore girls (whom I actually knew, and who were perfectly nice people, but I understood that it was an opinion piece by someone who had never met them), and a poll of some very handsome dudes, which was won by a very very very very handsome Black guy in red underwear, whom the writer called “Mr. Red Undies,” but the writer noted that he was not the “in-house Sassy fave.” That title was won by a skinny dude with dreadlocks.
We were mean to the Gore girls, and I recall hearing that they saw that piece and it hurt their feelings. Not our coolest moment.
I remember the strangest thing…an ad! It was for shoes and it said “When I saw John Fluevog clown bumpers, my ass freaked!” I hung that page in my locker. It made me laugh every day.
I loved Sassy so much. I sadly lost my stash in a basement flood. I would have loved for daughter to read them now. Sure, we’d now laugh at a skirt made of ties (god I wanted that sooo badly), but the message of the magazine is timeless.
The summer I was 11, I started going to my younger sisters’ babysitter while my mom worked. I felt like I was too old to have a babysitter and I was the oldest kid she watched by years -the whole thing was just The Worst. A couple of weeks after I started going, a magazine arrived in her mailbox, addressed to me. It was Sassy. She wanted me to have something just for me at her house to help make things a little easier. I have no idea how she decided upon Sassy -I grew up in a super small conservative town and she was very country. It was definitely an odd choice but such a good one.
It would be years before I was brave enough to try any of the fashion shown in the magazine but I read each issue cover to cover and saved them for years until, like so many other people, they were lost in a move along the way.
I loved all the writers but the person who sticks out to me is Andrea Lee Linett. I thought she was just the epitome of cool. As for covers, the Kurt and Courtney one sticks out in my memory the most.
Yes, loved Sassy and it seems that i have been following you for over half my life. Reading the comments above reminded me why i made that skirt out of ties. SO GOOD!
I’m late to the party but my favorite part was definitely the short fiction — was the story “Wheels” in the very first issue? It was about a girl who traded, I think, a hand job for a set of new skateboard wheels and it was unlike any story I’d ever seen in a commercial magazine. My dream was always to get published in Sassy, and I loved the fiction contest (although I can’t remember now if I was ever even brave enough to enter.)
No. I found this wonderful blog when you posted about the comeback of Famolare, which for some reason I’d been getting all sentimental about.
Now I’m going through a Bea Arthur phase, another cultural icon. I’ve even started wearing long vests, which peoe tell me are “interesting”.
My favourite article was the one about how the boys from Northern Exposure put together would make the perfect boyfriend.
Kept mine for so long; they may still be in my parents’ basement.
Sassy was my first inkling that there was life beyond what school was showing me. Some of my favorite articles were the ones about how Miss America was basically an indentured servant in poly-blend clothes; about life in Northern Ireland; and advice on getting exercise by doing ordinary, fun things instead of aerobics. My most favorite might have been the survey of junk foods. It made me feel normal for liking that stuff.
I could go on forever about my love for Sassy and how integral it was to my college years. My friend Val was a model for Sassy once and I was quoted about Missy Elliott in a reader’s poll thing – and I told literally everyone I knew and most strangers. And we teased Ian from Nation of Ulysses (one of my roommates dated a band member) for being a cute boy when really we just thought it was the highlight of his career. I never liked Nirvana so this wasn’t my fave cover. Black and white Johnny Depp I hung up in my room at school. And Christina was my fave writer but you are my bae cool girl now!
I found Sassy at my dentist’s office in Kansas in sixth grade. There was a reader survey where 90210 was voted favorite show, and an editorial comment said something like “We don’t even know why we bother,” which made me cackle with glee. Sassy was so different from everything else I’d seen that I subscribed during my school’s magazine fundraiser and never looked back.
My favorite story was about starting your own business, featuring the Simple Machines booklet about forming a record label. That article became the impetus for my eighth grade career project about my own record label dreams; the amazing letter Kristin Thomson wrote in response to all of my formulaic questions was one of my prized possessions for years (until I lost it when I brought it to high school for an English project).
I agree that the fact the staff had really clear voices made Sassy special. I loved everyone. The Mayim Bialik cover was probably my favorite as well.
Sassy made me more confident in my voice, gave me the courage to be bold, and gave me an outlet to consider new things and get outside of my own head. Plus, it was funny and interesting and a great read. I really miss it.
I was 16 and lived in Hawaii. I found Sassy in my mailbox one day — it was a free first edition of the magazine, and it was fantastic.
I’d just been to Australia to visit a friend and felt all kinds of jealous of her Dolly magazine — Aussie teenage girl magazines were much more advanced that Seventeen. When I saw Sassy, I felt this great sense that finally I was being treated like an intelligent individual who didn’t need to be talked down to or pandered to.
I was so affected by the writing that the first-person voice of the articles has informed my sports journalism ever since, and I encourage it at the SBNation site that I manage.
🙂 — Also, Kim France Pants.
And then, in brackets, “pance?”
90s teen and Sassy fan. My very favorite thing Sassy ever published was a response to a letter asking if it was a good idea to put deodorant on your sweaty face.
Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! I have very distinct, very fond memories of the Losing My Religion lyrics insert. It was a magazine for those of us that didn’t quite fit in to any one clique, or yearned for more than our suburbs could ever provide.
I don’t remember which issue, but there was a fashion spread and “Pearl River Mart NYC” was credited in the sources. My fate was sealed. Everything cool was in NYC and I had to get there. Blah blah blah high school. blah blah blah college, finally NYC! My first job was as a PA on a tv show and during my first week I had to go to Pearl Paint to get some pens, but I ended up at Pearl River by accident. I made it!
I was a devoted subscriber, and loved the Sassiest Girl in America (especially the year you picked a 14 year old, only a year older than me — made me realize that I wasn’t “too young” for anything anymore!) But the article that stuck with me most was one about painting your furniture. I remember instructions to cut up a paint brush to paint zebra stripes on a chair. I didn’t do that, but I did spray paint the old wicker chair in my room black. All teen magazines promote the idea of expressing yourself to the outside world, but I loved that Sassy more that more than just your clothes, hair or makeup.
My favorite Sassy memory were the spine notes. And the best one was: “More scrapple, Kim?” (I think there was a recipe for scrapple in that issue.)
I loved the spine notes.
“This is a spine line. Now you know.”
“Both feet in one shoe.”
“If you lived here, you’d be home now.”
Absolutely! My stepmom got me the premiere issue and I was a devotee for many years. I remember a small note about a Dead Poet Society boy sighting (Robert Sean Leonard), how-to dreadlocks and once took me hours and hours to make some chicken enchilada recipe that was so labour intensive for me at the time. Then there was this really annoying interview with Cindy Crawford when someone asked her what she was doing to help the environment she responded with pride that she bought recycled toilet paper. An eye-roller even then.
Oh man, I just read every one of these comments because I love the hell out of Sassy.
It’s probably responsible for my collection of Fluevogs in the ’90s, my career as a writer, and my college radio show.
I was always an Andrea fan.
I’m a guy who read my sister’s Sassys. Then Dirt came out. But I still preferred Sassy. I was in my late teens and early 20s and Sassy inspired me to be the kind of guy that Sassy writers and readers would want to hang out with. And as a lifelong musician, I’d usually skip straight to Cute Band Alert. I loved this column so much, I recently made a mixtape and playlist for my work (Pandora) of all (ok, most) the bands that made it to Cute Band Alert: Mixtape: https://www.pandora.com/station/play/4073158534983930059?ag=17920720304598512
Loved all the teen magazines but Sassy and YM were my faves! So much so that myself and some pals started a podcast called Girly Mags where we re-read the mags, take the quizzes and talk about the ’90s! We have covered Sassy and Dirt before!
Just brought my box full of Sassys down from the attic. Clearly I LOVED it. I’m 44 now, but can’t part with them.
My last name is a coincidence, heh.
If you ever want to sell those…LOL I subscribed for YEARS and my issues got passed all around to my friends at school in rural Kentucky. I always applied for Reader Produced issue. I remember so many articles. This cat has nine wives. Why isn’t Paul westerberg famous.
I remember a It Happened to Me Column about a new model who appeared on a set without having gotten her bikini line waxed. As I recall, she went out and purchased a razor to “whisk away the offending hairs.” I swear, I think of that every time I shave.
Sassy was one of my major inspirations for becoming a journalist. Now I’ve been one for 23 years and have made a fairly decent go of it. I owe this to you guys.
I’ve always loved writing fiction and used to use your models as visual inspiration for the characters in my stories. I wrote a novel by hand when I was 16 about a character who was inspired by one of your cover models. I lost the thing decades ago, but I’m rewriting it now. It takes place in 1994 and the character takes cues from Sassy magazine. I’m going through back issues now and it makes me happy and sad at the same time.
But yeah, I read it religiously. I wanted to be cute enough and cool enough to wear the clothes, although I never really was. I lived in the middle of nowhere and no one in my life really got me. It was sort of my only validation for a while. So many things I loved for years, and still love, I got from Sassy. I remember the first issue I got in the mail that came from the new publisher. I think one of the articles was “A Ton o’ Facts on Matthew Fox.” I was in tears and wrote them this big angry letter. I was pretty young then, so it wasn’t like I had any shrewd marketing knowledge, but I knew they’d killed what had made that magazine special in the first place, and it probably wouldn’t be around long after that.
Favourite cover. Hmm. I liked the Nirvana one. I liked the prom one with Brent King on the cover because he was so adorable, and I would wait for him to turn up. I remember a photo spread where you wrapped his head in Saran Wrap and there was a picture of him sucking on a lollipop with plastic around his head. Hilarious. I remember the caption too. “Not only did this look quite intriguing….”
I loved the Johnny Depp cover too. I think my favourites were the two Amy Smart ones though – the Axl Rose one, and the summer-y one. Amy Smart was another one of my favourite recurring guests.