i still remember my first issue of Sassy magazine. it was the spring of seventh grade, the april '92 issue with Kurt & Courtney on the cover. i was home with strep throat, and so my wonderful mom went out and bought stuff like sorbet and jello... and Sassy.
i read it cover to cover. i'd never done that with a magazine before -- with ym and seventeen too much of the stuff was boring or sappy or just plain dumb. i decided to subscribe. i felt silly about it at first. me, subscribing to a teen magazine? but Sassy was different. i could tell.
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. i taught myself how to draw by drawing the fashion photos in Sassy. i learned about sonic youth and the lemonheads, blonde redhead and james from Sassy. i learned about zines from Sassy. i fantasized about interning there when i was older. (like, as old as i am now, for example.) i fantasized about being the kind of cool adult who would continue to read Sassy even when i wasn't a teenager, or in college...
...but then, december '94, it was over. Sassy disappeared. bought out by teen magazine, fluffified. i cancelled my subscription. i mourned. that was sophomore year. (only a few months later, my so-called life was also cancelled. it was a hard year.) junior year, i started my own zine, delaware (don't ask me where i got the name) and started reading BUST, the voice of the new girl order.
reading Sassy was wonderful. it was formative. it was a major part of my life from seventh through tenth grade. but i have wondered if i would have had the same desperation to start my own zine, or seek out more underground ones, like BUST, if it hadn't been for the death of Sassy...
in any case, i hold the memories dear, and still light up when i run across one of the former editors/writers... sooo, here are some...
more to come (?)...
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© sarah kowalski