Who is Atoosa?
Atoosa Rubenstein is the founding editor of Cosmopolitan teen spinoff Cosmo Girl! (The exclamation is theirs, but also nonnegotiable.) Off the success of that launch, she was hired to take over Hearst’s legacy teen brand, Seventeen, which, if you can believe it, was a big deal back then. As of 2018, Seventeen no longer has a print edition, much less an editor in chief. But if they did have an editor in chief, you wouldn’t know her name. For a very small generation of girls, Atoosa was God. Or, well, Goddess.
She was unapologetically feminist, unapologetically smart, unapologetically ambitious. This earned her the admiration of teen girls who grew up reading kissing tips and demoralizing most embarrassing moments in less modern teen magazines...and it also earned her the absolute wrath of Gawker. To be fair, she was cheesy. If there was anything early aughts Gawker derided, it was a cheesy woman. (See also: Julia Allison.)
Gawker nicknamed Atoosa The 'Toos and critiqued her editors' letters, her Patrick McMullen party snaps, her Page Six quotes with characteristic glee. I remember reading the posts, mostly written by Emily Gould (a legend in her own right), feeling a mix of awe (she was funny!) and terror. If I were to successfully follow in Atoosa's footsteps—the dream!—how could I avoid this fate, I wondered?
I didn't have to wonder. Gawker is no more, and neither, in many ways, is Seventeen. Atoosa quit her top job at Seventeen, did some press about an online venture she was launching (the unfortunately named “Alpha Kitty”), and then faded into oblivion/the internet.
She apparently has a couple of kids and a fancy house and a nice-looking husband. Well, and a legion of former teen girls who are now broke and struggling journalists living in New York City, clawing their way to a dream that no longer exists.