Not Martha

Sassy magazine

Sassy magaine

In the course of cleaning out their attic my parents found all my old Sassy magazines. I don’t have all the early issues, but I do have the last few years. Gosh I loved these, they were a huge part of making my teen years less horrible and making me feel like maybe, just maybe, I wasn’t the deranged one but that everybody else was. This is reminding me, I have to read How Sassy Changed My Life: A Love Letter to the Greatest Teen Magazine of All Time whose title says it all.

I also found the supplemental issue of Dirt.

Dirt magazine

And two issues of Siren.

Siren magazine

I’m having a whole lot of trouble finding any information about Siren since there have been other magazines with the same name. The editor in chief of Siren is Missy Miller and the two issues I have are from 1998 though the magazine launched in 1997. I alway remembered them because of this timeline in one of the issues:

Dec. 6, 1994 — Already capable of finding jobs, putting on lipstick, and finding lovers, Susan and Missy decide that women’s magazines have become redundant. They consider strating one called Belle, Boy Toy, or Egg. Time passes…

Nov. 11, 1995 — At Dave’s post-post-birthday party and too many martinis, drab girl mags are brought up again. Missy and Dave decide to start one called Jane…Not for Dick.

Jan. 15, 1996 — Jane Magazine is registered in California.

June 12, 1996 — Name is stolen by Jane pratt for her new Disney/ABC/Fairchild magazine which goes by the same name. (Granted it is her given name. Hmmm… there’s an idea…

Missy Magazine… yeah, right.)

Over the next five months — Missy becomes obsessed with renaming the magazine. her friends become embarrassed by her. Abandoned and bummed she narrows down her list: Cake, It Girl, Kitty, Page, Wink, Meow, Sugar, Fig, Twist, Boy Toy, and Snarf Girl. (If you happen to live any of these names better than Siren we don’t want to hear about it.)

Nov. 12 1996 — Missy asks her only remaining friend to drive to Vermont with her and help her make the final decision. After an abundance of maple syrup, cheese, and jalepeno preserves, they choose Siren.

Nov. 14, 1996 — Siren is registered as an official business.

Nov. 15, 1996 — Makes new cards reading “Hello, My name is…” Once again, the idea is foiled by the hugeness of Jane’s PR strategy using the same campaign plastered all over the whole world! [The timeline continues, but that’s the bit I remember.]

Anybody else remember this magazine?

· comments [63] · 11-6-2008 · categories:mumbling ·

63 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jen // Nov 6, 2008 at 10:40 am

    I don’t have them anymore, but I received an invite in the mail to subscribe to the brand new Sassy magazine and I had the very first issue! I loved it too.

  • 2 Jen // Nov 6, 2008 at 10:43 am

    I am SO jealous! I was a Sassy reader for years and wish I still had my old issues. I have a couple random ones that I have found over the years and I have the ‘How Sassy Changed My Life’ book.

    Dirt was the Sassy guy’s mag, no?

  • 3 deb // Nov 6, 2008 at 10:45 am

    I had every issue from like 1989 to 1994. My stack looked exactly like yours. I think I had memorized all of the spinelines. And I think after college my parents pressured me to throw them away, which of course in true teenangst fashion, I will never be able to forgive them for.

    I wish someone would scan every issue and put them online.

  • 4 Julia // Nov 6, 2008 at 10:58 am

    Does Siren have an ISSN number? Look on the copyright page to see if the publication has an ISSN number (8 numbers separated by a dash: XXXX-XXXX). I could do a MARC search fo you.

  • 5 megan // Nov 6, 2008 at 11:04 am

    Julia – Thank you, sadly there is no ISSN number on either issue I have.

  • 6 Christine // Nov 6, 2008 at 11:15 am

    I completely remember the Janeane Garofalo issue — it was in my bathroom at my parents house up until about 2-3 years ago (when they made me clean out all my 10-year-old lotions and potions from what was “my” bathroom cupboard).

    And Sassy was my bible.

  • 7 Linda // Nov 6, 2008 at 11:38 am

    I loved Sassy. It was my favorite back then. I also read Jane but it wasn’t the same. Sassy introduced to many of my favorite books too.
    I don’t remember Siren though.

  • 8 Rachel // Nov 6, 2008 at 11:41 am

    I’m so jealous! I loved Sassy. Another one of my favs come and gone. I also loved Jane and Mlle. Sigh…

  • 9 Jenn // Nov 6, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    I loved, loved, LOVED Sassy. I was one of the lucky ones who subscribed from the first issue.

    Thanks for the memories…

  • 10 Shana Hillman // Nov 6, 2008 at 12:09 pm

    I also had all the issues – from the beginning – and I too threw them out when my parents wanted all my stuff gone from their home when I went away to university – now years later I’m still regreting it.

    I grew up in Northern Ontario, Canada – far away from any urban centre and I really think that magazine saved me too. When I didn’t fit in at my highschool the magazine made me feel like I wasn’t alone.

    It was my bible – the record store in the closest town (a 45 min car trip and I didn’t drive so I had to beg rides off my dad when he was “going to town” for other things) didn’t have ANY of the albums or artists they reviewed but they special ordered in the Pixies and Sonic Youth for me after I read about them in the magazine – I’d never heard of them and the local classic rock station (named the Wolf) certainly never played them but I trusted if Sassy said they were good they would be.

    I so desperately wanted to order one of the “I hate Brenda” shirts they did for Beverly Hills 90210 – or maybe they just did a story on the girls who did that newsletter. My mom’s name is also Brenda and in my grumpy I hate everything teenage way I thought it would be too delicious!

    Oh good memories.

    Occassionally collections turn up on ebay but with a house and all these “adult commitments” (oh crap our lovely old house has TERMITES!#$%) I can’t justify the expense – certainly it’s on the if I win the lottery list!

  • 11 Grace // Nov 6, 2008 at 12:18 pm

    How lucky you are to still have those! I don’t have mine anymore. I do have that book, though, and I definitely recommend giving it a read. I actually reviewed it on my blog…

  • 12 courtneyk // Nov 6, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    My best friend has the issue of Siren with Janeane Garofalo on the cover! I completely forgot about that magazine, mostly because that was the only issue I ever saw.

  • 13 Rhi // Nov 6, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    I *loved* Sassy. If it were still around, I’d likely still read it.

  • 14 Fresh Peaches // Nov 6, 2008 at 12:49 pm

    I loved that magazine so much. No other teen magazine had the guts to tackle the topics they did. I still remember being at a slumber party, reading an article about skinheads with a bunch of other pre-teen girls, that was totally written on our level. I wish it was still around so I could give my niece a subscription.

  • 15 alex finger // Nov 6, 2008 at 12:50 pm

    WOW!! i miss sassy so bad. and then JANE’s all gone too. i haven’t subscribed to a magazine aside from Time Out since then.

    i gotta get that book!

  • 16 Megan // Nov 6, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    I’m going to have to go through my parents’ basement. I’m sure my back back issues are down there. Such a lifesaver, that magazine.

  • 17 K // Nov 6, 2008 at 1:20 pm

    I wonder if mine are still around. I adored it, but it was a huge source of conflict between my parents and me. They went so far as to take it out of my hands a couple of times. (Yes, they were controlling.) Grrr. If I find them, I’m keeping them.

  • 18 Bean // Nov 6, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    woah, flashback! I’m sure my mom threw all of mine out after she threw me out, heh heh :D Did you ever read Raygun, too? I *loved* their reviews, and especially their magazine layout – that magazine was one of the ones that really convinced me to get into design. I need to go listen to some Sonic Youth now :D

  • 19 Danielle // Nov 6, 2008 at 1:32 pm

    I remember my mother getting this for me to go along with my Young Miss, Teen, and Seventeen magazines. I got them from the first issue. Sadly, though I kept them many years, I have no idea where they are now.

  • 20 Kim // Nov 6, 2008 at 2:07 pm

    I’m so jealous. I was just looking Sassy up the other day. I couldn’t wait to get them every month, just to read what was on the spine of the magazine. I devoured every issue when all of my friends were reading Teen and 17.

  • 21 anh-minh // Nov 6, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    Boy does this post bring back some incredible memories! I actually interned at Sassy magazine during the last summer it existed with Jane Pratt as the editor. During various moves, I lost track of my old issues, but have since purchased (on eBay) the ones where I appeared in the masthead.

    How I wish today’s teens (like my niece) had a magazine like Sassy. *sigh*

  • 22 Uyek // Nov 6, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    Oh, Sassy!
    I think I may have even been a little too old for it but I used to looooove reading it. It really was the best girl magazine.
    I wonder if they’ll ever release them all as some artsy, bound, coffee table edition. I’d be into that!

  • 23 JMO // Nov 6, 2008 at 3:52 pm

    I think I’d be a different person now if I hadn’t read Sassy all through my early teens. I would be so happy if they released Sassy (the REAL Sassy, anyway) as a coffee-table edition. How can we make this happen? :)

  • 24 Suzi // Nov 6, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    I loved Sassy. My Mom got me the subscription when it came out. She was always doing stuff like that. I was in college in the late 80’s and I’m sure she sent the magazines up to me. I read it cover to cover again and again.
    Like everyone else I wish I had kept them. Anyone feel like scanning in their copies to share?

  • 25 powlita // Nov 6, 2008 at 4:06 pm

    i totally feel left out and cheated that I never got to read Sassy. I had not heard of Sassy until i found Jane (two years before it bit the dust). I had to read that horrendous Seventeen Magazine. was I too young for Sassy? I am 25 now. If it folded in ’96, I was 12/13. Makes me sad.

  • 26 April // Nov 6, 2008 at 4:38 pm

    I saved all my Sassy’s for years and years but I think I accidentally threw them out. I hope they’re hiding in a box somewhere still. Thanks for the reminder to pick up that book. Sassy *DID* change my life.

  • 27 Michelle // Nov 6, 2008 at 4:44 pm

    I, too, was deeply shaped by Sassy magazine. Cute Band Alert brought me many of my favorite bands from my teen years, and I was a steady consumer of nearly every Zine of the Month.

    Now that I’m a publishing professional, I can only admire Sassy more. How many magazines, especially teen magazines, inspire this kind of enthusiasm so many years after folding?

    These days, advertisers would kill for that kind of engagement, though at the time I suspect many advertisers were scared off by some of the content.

  • 28 Holly // Nov 6, 2008 at 6:44 pm

    I would pour over every inch of Sassy within minutes of tearing it from our mailbox… and then repeat the process with my best friend the coming weekend.

  • 29 Erica // Nov 7, 2008 at 6:47 am

    Oh! Jealous! What a fantastic find, I loved that magazine so much.

  • 30 Nikole // Nov 7, 2008 at 7:27 am

    I will forever rue the day that my mom threw out my back issues.

    I bought all of the issues from 1991 last year on e-Bay – still so much better than most magazines that are around today.

  • 31 EB // Nov 7, 2008 at 10:37 am

    Oh did I love Sassy….yes I did.

  • 32 Average Jane Crafter // Nov 7, 2008 at 4:29 pm

    Sassy totally changed my life, and is what made me want to work for a magazine some day. I still have most of mine and have a couple of Dirts, too!

    And, strangely, I was *just* thinking about writing a post about Sassy on my blog next week. When I saw yours pop up in my reader, I squealed out loud! I recognized the spines before I even read the post title. :)

  • 33 MyaStone // Nov 7, 2008 at 7:14 pm

    OMG. I modeled in one of their reader-produced issues. That’s the only issue I still have. I feel like I’m a part of history. I also remember the horrible day when Sassy changed. My family had gone on vacation and came back to a new issue waiting for us….but it wasn’t indie and snarky anymore. At the time I thought that if I maybe hadn’t gone on vacation it wouldn’t have changed. sigh.

  • 34 judy // Nov 9, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    Ooohhh I loved Sassy magazine too! I used to have a bunch of back issues but I don’t know what happened to them. I used to read Jane for a while too but it got so lame.

  • 35 amy // Nov 10, 2008 at 6:52 pm

    Me, too! I loved Sassy…and then I loved Jane. I was so not into all of the other stuff that all of the other girls were into. I didn’t wear make-up. I wore giant boy clothes. My ‘goofy’ chucks… so many memories from good ole’ Sassy magazine! Sassy made me feel not so alone. I love Sassy! Glad to find a kindred spirit.

  • 36 doane // Nov 11, 2008 at 7:42 am

    I could be wrong but I think a young Spike Jonze was an editor for the short lived DIRT magazine.

  • 37 megan // Nov 11, 2008 at 8:46 am

    Doane – That is true. I remember Dirt fondly and wonder what happened to my other issues.

  • 38 Andrea (Heavy Petal) // Nov 11, 2008 at 9:38 am

    I still have all my old Sassy mags – lucky for me, my parents’ basement is too full of junk for them to notice one two-foot tall pile of magazines. Like many others here have said, Sassy was a huge influence on me and helped shape who I am today. I miss it!

  • 39 Cat // Nov 11, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    I’m pretty sure Siren turned into Twist magazine, which was eventually bought and turned into a bit of a nightmare? I was just slightly too young to be into Sassy, although in college I had a friend who raved about it and still had her back issues.

  • 40 Charlie // Nov 13, 2008 at 11:56 am

    Hey- I was also in the reader-produced issue (did make-up) and remember one of the Sassy events when we were in NYC was the Circle Line Tour and Spike Jonze came with us. Of course, he sat with the Sassy staffers and just looked like your average 20-something guy. who knew he would be so famous one day!

  • 41 allison // Nov 13, 2008 at 3:25 pm

    Remember the fold out poster of Johnny Depp in one of the first issues? I was madly in love with him…then. Now, not so much.
    I do not remember Siren, though.
    Like many of you, I remember foolishly pitching my Sassy stash when my parents moved and my mom made me deal with all my stuff I had in their basement while I was at college.
    Painful to think about :(

  • 42 Daphna // Nov 14, 2008 at 6:48 am

    Oh my god! I remember Sassy magazine so well. I kept several issues for YEARS but finally got rid of them after university. I was so sad when Jane Pratt left and some terrible new editor (and publisher) took over. Jane magazine was never the same. It just wasn’t very, well, sassy. Thank you for reminding me!

  • 43 megan // Nov 14, 2008 at 11:36 am

    OMG, do I!? It was the only magazine I have ever read cover to cover. It was a special day when a new Sassy came in the mailbox. Made life worth living ;)

  • 44 Molly // Nov 16, 2008 at 9:15 am

    Oh, I am so glad to hear all of this Sassy love – my family always makes fun of my stash! I wish there was some way to resuscitate it for young (12-15) girls now, what with all the schlock they have to subsist on. Bust is the only thing that comes close to finding that fresh issue in the mail!

  • 45 Mary T // Nov 16, 2008 at 8:21 pm

    Can I just say I love that cover of Lili Taylor? I remember reading an interview with her around that era and she was saying about herself, “It’s not a safe look.” Love her!

  • 46 Anne // Nov 17, 2008 at 4:12 am

    Yes, I loved Sassy, too… and I read the book about it! I did a blog entry about Sassy, too, after reading the book. In the scrapbooking world, I equated Sassy to Scrapbook Answers magazine, another publication who suffered an premature demise!

  • 47 L-A // Nov 28, 2008 at 5:43 am

    Seeing that stack of spines makes me wish that I had kept my Sassys. Not that my mom would have held on to a stack of old magazines after I left home. But what a treasure trove you have there!

    Like the commenter who grew up in Northern Ontario, Sassy was my life line to a cool, feminist world that I didn’t have access to in a small Newfoundland town. I remember well the heartbreak I felt when I realized that Sassy had changed for the worse once it was sold and moved to LA. Sad times.

    I’m an MA student in Women’s Studies and I’m in popular culture and girls’ studies – and Sassy often comes up in academic articles and books.

  • 48 D. // Mar 22, 2009 at 1:13 am

    I have a siren magazine as I modeled for them back in the day :)

  • 49 Kathy // Mar 23, 2009 at 9:57 pm

    Hi! I stumbled on this post doing a Google search for Siren Magazine, as I designed one of the issues back then–the Lili Taylor issue. We designed it for pennies :) but we had a blast. I always thought it a pre-cursor to Jane…they pretty much cannabilized the magazine, and also I believe Missy Miller’s investor wasn’t so into it. Fun to read the reactions here!

  • 50 jennifer // Aug 11, 2009 at 6:02 am

    I used to have a subscription – I loved it! But like many others, I no longer have any of my issues. I always thought the little crafty projects were great (remember the dress out of a pillowcase??) and the recipes were always awesome — speaking of the sassy recipes – if anyone has that chili recipe (was it called Kill City Chili? I might be making that up) that was in the back of one of the issues please please please scan it in or retype it! it was THE best chili EVER! thanks to anyone out there that has access to that!

  • 51 Vicky // Aug 23, 2009 at 1:12 am

    I loved Sassy so much it stopped me feeling so homesick when I was an exchange student in America. Sadly I had to leave my copies at the end of my year too much luggage, but wish I had popped a few in my suitcase. Did get my friend to bring over a copy though when she visited in 94 though

  • 52 Lav // May 3, 2010 at 11:57 am

    I just did a Wiki search on Sassy and Oh Wow! It makes me wish I was born earlier! I grew up reading similar mags to Sassy but most of them have folded now. Does anyone know where I can get back issues of Sassy? Thank you in advance!

  • 53 stacy // May 25, 2010 at 11:48 pm

    someone please help!!! i was an avid reader of sassy, and in one issue, i distinctly remember what i believe to be an excerpt from a book – the piece was called “LUNCH IN BROOKLYN” – what i am looking for is whether it WAS part of an actual book and of course who the author was – i loved the story and would like a full account of the deal – if anyone has ANY info, please please please tell me – thanks all!

  • 54 Marty Wombacher // Mar 9, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    I was proud to have my fanzine, fishwrap, be the “Zine of the Month” in the very last issue of Sassy (I wrote about it today and found your blog while looking for blogs to put on my “further reading” links at the end of the story). The same distribution company that handled Siren distributed fishwrap as well and I knew Missy Miller. Last time I saw her was when I bumped into her in a deli here in New York about five years ago. We caught up and she said she’d call me but never did. That’s life! I like your blog!

  • 55 Arin // Jul 24, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    I had the most bizarre internship of my life at Siren magazine back in 1998. I could write a whole essay about that time!

  • 56 Rob // Sep 15, 2011 at 1:49 am

    For some reason Dirt magazine came to mind today so I googled it and found your site.

    I used to regularly buy an English music magazine called No 1 – when I look at that now the nostalgia is overwhelming.

    Hope that you keep these for all time to return to a certain time in your life…

  • 57 Sherry // Oct 11, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    Man, someone needs to spend the time to put these all online in a PDF searchable archive, every page. It would be so awesome… I wish I could stumble upon some at a garage sale or something, but I know that is not going to happen! I was born in 1979…and this magazine was THE BEST.

  • 58 Niki // Oct 21, 2011 at 11:56 am

    Oh man, I need that Chili recipe too! I was JUST telling a friend about how I had made it for my family when I was like… 14. Sassy was great. jennifer, if you find that recipe, posty posty, svp.

  • 59 Rebecca Moore // Jan 15, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    Hi Stacy, Thanks so much for your comment about my writing in Sassy. It’s was great to hear that you had remembered that story! I am planning to make it available this year so if you’re still interested in reading, here’s a link to a blog I set up to do publicity.

  • 60 Aaron Delwiche // Feb 8, 2013 at 10:26 am

    Hi Megan, I’m a professor at Trinity University, and one of the students in our Capstone seminar is conducting her senior research project on Sassy Magazine. She’s trying to track down old copies, but the issues are difficult to come by. There are some copies on eBay, and someone is actually selling scanned versions for $9.95 each. (Crazy!) I’m posting here (a) to see if anyone has back issues they might be willing to give away — probably not likely and (b) to find out if anyone knows about plans to scan/index the collection so it will be freely available online. Thanks!

  • 61 SC // Mar 10, 2014 at 8:35 am

    I was one of the lucky contest winners for the first reader-produced issue. I won a trip to New York and worked as a stylist for a few days. I still have my one issue. It is packed in a box somewhere but I plan to find it and see if I can scan it (without destroying it) and put it online.

  • 62 Emily // Jun 28, 2014 at 10:51 am

    I loved this magazine. I wish I hadn’t thrown out my issues. I miss the hipster attitudes and fashion. Let’s face it, Sassy is totally hipster and it’s a good thing.

  • 63 Emily // Jun 28, 2014 at 10:57 am

    Also there was a Guess ad that had the perfect hair with bangs and I remember ripping the page out and lost it. The model had long hair and was a brunette. That’s all I have to go on. I was 14, so 89, 90? If anyone knows which ad I mean and has access to it, I would really appreciate someone posting it. Thanks

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