Girish Mahajan (Editor)

Sassy (magazine)

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Teen Magazine

First issue
March 1988

United States


Final issue

Matilda Publications (1988-89), Lang Communications (1989-1994)

Sassy magazine is a defunct teen magazine, aimed at teenage female fans of alternative and indie rock music. The magazine existed between 1988 and 1996.


History and profile

The magazine was founded in March 1988 by an Australian feminist, Sandra Yates, CEO of Matilda Publications, who based it on the teen magazine Dolly, which is still in publication in Australia.

Women Aglow, an evangelical women's group, boycotted Sassy due to its content about sexuality immediately following its start.

Editorial staff

Sassy's founding editor was Jane Pratt, and it had a half Australian, half American staff. Its original main writers were referred to by Pratt as "Sex" (Karen Catchpole), "Drugs" (Catherine Gysin), and "Rock 'n Roll" (Christina Kelly) because of the topics they covered. The fashion department was headed by Mary Clarke, Jacinta Dobson and Andrea Lee Linett, who discovered Chloë Sevigny, on the street and hired her as an intern. The Australian half of the staff covered the art & design (Neil McCutcheon and Cheryl Collins) and beauty departments.


Sassy was originally published in March 1988 in the United States by Matilda Publications with a circulation of 250,000. It was acquired by Lang Communications in October 1989, at which point its circulation was 450,000. Petersen Publishing officially took over with the February – March 1995 issue, and its editorial offices were moved to Los Angeles from New York City. It then stopped publishing as its own title in 1996, when editorial sections (and staff) of Sassy were absorbed into another magazine published by Petersen called `TEEN beginning with the January 1997 issue.

Dirt Magazine

In 1992, Sassy spun off a short-lived title for teen boys called Dirt: Son of Sassy, which was edited by Andy Jenkins, Mark Lewman and music video director Spike Jonze (collectively known as "the Master Cluster"). It published seven sporadic issues until 1994.

According to Canadian author Douglas Coupland, "Dirt was a funny and smart magazine for young people".

Reader-Produced Issues

Sassy anticipated "crowd sourced" content by over a decade, starting with their "every single little thing in this issue is reader-produced," December 1990, issue. Originally conceived by Alan Goodman's and Fred Seibert's Fred/Alan, Inc., Sassy advertising agency.

Sassiest Boy in America

Sassy conducted an annual search for the Sassiest Girl in America and in 1990 Sassy magazine conducted a search for the Sassiest Boy in America. Over 150 entries were received with the eventual winner being Ian Svenonius. In the story highlighting his selection Pratt states He's going to be a big deal. I'm sure he will be and we're going to be so proud that we were the first ones to discover him. However, it was discovered that Svenonius wasn't a "boy" at all, but rather lied about his age as he was 22 at the time of his selection – too old per contest rules. He was however allowed to retain his title.

Chia Pet

Sassy's in-house band was named after the Chia Pet, with various members from the editorial staff, including Jane Pratt on violin, Christina Kelly on vocals, her then-husband Robert Weeks on guitar, her then-sister-in-law (and Sassy writer) Jessica Vitkus Weeks on bass guitar, Mary Ann Marshall (also a Sassy scribe) on drums. Karen Catchpole also lent co-lead vocals to some songs including "Hey Baby" and "Don't You Want Me Baby". The band once opened for The Lemonheads at iconic, now-closed, New York City rock club CBGB.


  • Hey Baby -- CD single of original songs
    1. "Hey Baby"
    2. "Lunch"
    3. "Blind Date"
  • Tannis Root Presents: Freedom Of Choice -- various-artists pro-choice fundraising CD of cover songs
  • 16. "Don't You Want Me Baby"

    Book: How Sassy Changed My Life

    In April 2007, Faber and Faber released a tribute to and history of Sassy by former Teen Vogue editor Kara Jesella and Marisa Meltzer called How Sassy Changed My Life: A Love Letter To The Greatest Teen Magazine Of All Time. The book recounts the magazine's rise and fall; its unusual appeal to both men and women, teenagers and adults; and its influence on mainstream as well as alternative women's magazines. It includes interviews with staffers and fans.


    Sassy (magazine) Wikipedia

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