A Fashion Week First: Ellen Wise

 

To me, senior year of college is all about saying yes. Within reason. So when one of my sister’s college friends, Dani, reached out with the opportunity for me to head to New York for the weekend to photograph a show during New York Fashion Week, I practically purchased my travel fare before I even properly said yes.

The gig was to photograph for the designer Ellen Wise at her debut fashion show on the east coast. The task was simple: get myself to New York by 3pm on Saturday, and photograph the 6pm show - afterparty access graciously included.

Arriving at the venue was a whirlwind, as neither Dani nor I had ever met the designer or her husband, Mike, but proudly marched on up to get our press passes anyway. Once the whole team got acquainted, Dani and I got to see what goes on behind the lights, camera, and action. We were able to visit the models in makeup, chat with show staffers about what they were hoping to get out of it, and even watch other designers send their works down the runway (other designs pictured below).

Though I had been to Fashion Week shows before (think back to the sophomore year trip to NYFW 2016), I had never been granted the opportunity to photograph for one designer in particular. Getting to know Ellen behind the scenes gave a whole new dimension to her garments as I learned they’re each one of a kind and custom made for the client. Ellen has even gone so far as to design her daughter’s wedding dress - and Mike even made the wedding cake!

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All in all, the photographing of the show was easy. It was the saying yes to a spur of the moment opportunity that put me out of my comfort zone - letting me learn that it’s not so bad, and you can even score a fashion week after party ticket!

So thank you, Dani, for thinking of me for the job, and to Ellen Wise for fashionably fueling my year of saying yes!

Xx, Maia

 

There's No Story Like a Love Story

 

For the past three years, I have braved the August heat with 70 of my closest friends to dress up in full on 70's garb and put on a show for Harvard's incoming freshman class. And by put on a show, I'm quite serious. Every year, for the past 30 years, the Crimson Key Society has put on a "Rocky Horror Style" screening of the last movie ever to be filmed on Harvard's historic campus: Love Story. And while many of my friends (outside the closest 70 previously mentioned), know about this tradition quite well, I figured that on the dusk of my last Love Story, I should whip up a little homage - I sure have recorded enough institutional memory of this event, for Phil's sake!

 The Key-valleri Family <3

The Key-valleri Family <3

While us CKS'ers are responsible for much more during freshmen "Opening Days" than just yelling at a movie screen during our Love Story performance, it's safe to say that this event is a favorite for all of us yellers and for our deafened audience too. For the unsuspecting first year students arrive in Science Center C probably to escape the heat of their AC-less dorm rooms, and end up spending two hours with us as we scream odd things at a movie we've collectively seen 30+ times. 

While everyone involved has a hilarious time, the movie itself is quite tragic. Right off the bat it's revealed that our beloved Jenny dies, yet CKS proceeds to mercilessly tease her up until her dying breaths. This year, our freshmen audience showed far more remorse for Jenny than we've ever seen, and while I still didn't tear up when she died, I did tear up realizing that this was one of the first of my lasts - a pattern bound for repetition throughout my senior year of school. 

For the Class of 2019, this was our last year spending money at the Garment District to perfect our "Preppie Millionaire meets Social Zero" ensemble. Our last year of congregating at Widener Steps to take enough photos with each other to clog the feeds of our still-summering classmates. Our last year of parading into Annenberg Dining Hall and dancing on the tables (or being prohibited from doing so) to promote that night's screening while the freshmen ate their dinner in shock. Our last year ending up on the Snapchat Stories of countless onlookers (tourists included) as we unabashedly shook our booties to the tune of Abba's Dancing Queen. Our last year dancing on the Science Center Plaza at sunset. Our last year rallying our audience with a Science Center C-wide YMCA sing-along. And our last year belting, "DON'T MAKE FUN OF PHIL!" while simultaneously butchering his dying daughter with fevered insults. 

While I, personally, missed my freshman year showing of Love Story and thus will never know what it feels like to be pseudo-yelled at by a bunch of upperclassmen, I do know how invigorating it is to memorize a ludicrous script filled with quirky jokes that I'll remember for a lifetime. I'll be plagued with commenting, "Where's her other hand?" during countless real life scenarios. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for Cranston, Rhode Island. And my post-college friends will never understand why I insist on referring to Paris as "Sirap." But me, and those aforementioned 70 friends, will share a fond chuckle every time we hear the word "midyear" or think about Bozo the Clown. 

This last year of Love Story concluded with an actual love story: while we took our sunset by the river pictures, a genuine couple actually popped the question and invited us to join in their engagement photoshoot! So to whichever couple is out there cherishing the photo by the Charles River surrounded by 70, 70's clad college kids, "Love means never having to say you're sorry." Whatever that's supposed to mean!

 "Is the lady alright?" "I will be when he carries me over the g*ddamn threshold!"&nbsp;

"Is the lady alright?" "I will be when he carries me over the g*ddamn threshold!" 

So cheers to the first of the last, and to lifelong friendships with some of the quirkiest people on campus <3 

Xx, Maia 
 

Cool Beans: If Stars Align by Marina Zoullas

 

It's April 2nd, and snowing in Boston - delayed April Fool's Joke? Probably. Since I misguidedly started packing up my winter wardrobe, I begrudgingly selected an oversized grey sweater to keep me warm on this uncharacteristically frigid day. What kept me smiling, though, was the anticipation of a chat with Marina Zoullas, founder of If Stars Align: a company that fosters individual creativity during the design process of gorgeous sweaters and other apparel. You bet I wished I was snuggled in and sporting one of her colorful, custom designed numbers on this day. 

Marina is a high schooler in New York City. When she’s not doing schoolwork, she’s either working at the showroom of the clothing brand LoveShackFancy, doing research for FXB, the organization she interns for, or making art. She’s passionate about women’s empowerment and the eradication of poverty around the world, which she supports through her website: http://givegaincollective.com - a collective of organizations that empowers women through the work they produce. She loves to be creating, whether it be through her blog, http://honeyandoats.com, her website, If Stars Align, or any homemade remedies she’s making for her skin. Though she’s just a 16-year-old junior, this is just the beginning for her and she already has a couple of projects in the making for the future.

Having founded her company on two principles, Marina conveyed this same emphasis on uniqueness and individuality throughout our quick conversation: 

How do we reveal who we are through what we wear?

How does our clothing define who we are and how we can show it?

ISA is a way for you to define your look, not others. 

(From Website's About Page)

 Image courtesy of site.&nbsp;

Image courtesy of site. 

Right off the bat I asked her some questions about her vision for her company: 

What gave you the idea to start your company?

I’ve always been making stuff and I’ve been sewing for about 5 years now - up-cycling clothing. I have this jacket and sewed fur cuffs into it from a garment my mom had that she was going to get rid of. I like making things individual to myself. I feel like the fashion industry is now branching out to individuality and accepting people with different styles.

I started [If Stars Align] last year, in May, when I have a blocked out month during school to work on a personal project.

Images courtesy of site. 

What’s one surprising thing you’ve learned while getting it off the ground?

I’ve learned a lot about myself and that I’m a bit of a perfectionist. So learning when to just put it out there. I've spoken to a lot of people in the industry and the best advice they've given me is, “Just put it out there, don’t wait for it to be perfect because it’s never going to be perfect.”

Where do you see ISA going in the next few years?

I’m a junior in high school right now, so where I see the company growing is in  putting more of a message behind the brand. Right now a lot of it is sustainable and fair trade in where I’m outsourcing the materials. But I want to incorporate a component of supporting women. It’s hard to find articles of clothing that have some action behind it. The fashion industry is one that wastes a lot of water, and now there’s more awareness about the environment, but I also want to make sure that my company has a social impact; so not just trying to minimize the footprint of how it’s being made but also making difference.

If one of your role models could wear one of your designs, who would it be?

I think my clothing is for everyone - so maybe Emma Watson because she’s someone who does a lot of work with the UN but also has a big following and is making a social impact.

Images courtesy of site. 

Though Marina and I only had a virtual meeting via FaceTime, I could sense right away that she's the perfect catalyst for putting forth a socially conscious, customizable clothing brand. Based off of more personal questions, it's clear that Marina places a large focus on purposefully composing her outfits - a girl after my own heart. 

 

Go to outfit: What's your uniform?

I love blouses, I have a billion white blouses that probably all look the same but for me they’re all different - some have embellishments. I usually wear a feminine blouse with, high-waisted washed out denim jeans to toughen it up a bit, and then probably paired with sneakers.

What's the soundtrack to your life?

I just listen to the Latin music that all kind of say the same stuff and it definitely does not reflect my life. I’m not a huge music person (as in I can never learn the lyrics, even if its in English). I like something more that’s upbeat and dance-y. Which is probably pretty representative of my life right now since there’s a lot going on with junior year.

What's one piece of jewelry that's iconic you?

I always have an evil eye on me. I love evil eyes and it’s part of the Greek superstition - my dad always had one growing up so now I do as well. I usually wear it either as a necklace or a ring or a bracelet. I just love eyes.

What's a trend you're envious of right now?

Because spring and summer are coming up, I'm loving the super long, flowy, beachy dresses. I’m very short so I can’t wear it. I think unless I'm wearing 6in heels I don’t think I could pull it off.

What's a trend you want to die?

I’m not a fan of naked dresses. Like to the beach sure - if it’s a see through cover up. But I’m not a fan of the bejeweled, feathery dresses that people wear on the red carpet.

Last question: How would you describe yourself as a human bean?

I would go with an edamame bean. I know I don’t have to literally choose a bean but I feel like I’m an edamame because there’s the outside shell, but then you bite into it and the inside is sweet. Kind of like me - since it takes me a long time to warm up to people.

 

Suffice it to say, after just a 20 minute chat, I felt like I could tell that this sweet edamame bean is going to do big things. That is, if stars align. 

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To purchase some of Marina's designs, head on over to her shop

Xx, Maia 
 

The Game: Harvard-Yale 2k17

 

There's not much to report from this Harvard-Yale since the weather was subpar and The Game results were worse... so I guess to focus on the positive, here's an aggregate of HappY pictures and comical captions - because who doesn't use humor to cope?? 

Most people's holiday weekend began at Toads, where the music pulsated, lights strobed, and there were more bodies flooding the dance floor than conducive for finding your friends - which I guess was a general theme of the weekend, given that the reception in New Haven was nonexistent (so at least Cambridge has that, hah).

Apparently while you're trudging through the mosh pit, you can actually run into the Yale friend you made at Bulldog Days 3 years ago - hi, Jenny!!

The next morning, you better be ready for a 9am tailgate and a 7am wake up call if your hotel happens to be a 30 minute drive from North Haven to New Haven... But, don't worry, there's nothing like 25 degree weather, mud, and nonstop dancing to start your day off right!

The Game isn't just a 48 hour excuse to party for undergrads, but rather grounds for a reunion of Crimson clad alums! There's nothing like locking eyes with someone you haven't seen in years while you're stuck dancing on a truck bed barricaded by about 30 people...

It's ok, though, because, as my friend Marina reminded us: 

"With the game out of reach, Harvard students, disinterested and confused by football to begin with, used the backdrop to take selfies at an event seen as much as a social event or class reunion as a game." - Breitbart

And while my friends and I did manage to make it to the actual game, I can't say we were awake for all of it...

If you aren't sick of HY pics clogging your feed, check out last year's post for plenty more where this came from.

All in all, though we might have lost The Game for the second year in a row, I hear Yale kids pour their milk before their cereal anyway.

Xx, Maia 
 

Above-Average Aquatic Escapes

 

As the summer comes to a close and my brief stint of vacation in Miami ends even sooner, I can't help but rewind the past couple of months in my mind. Between the incredible internship and even more incredible cohort of summer friends, there's not much, if at all, I'd do over. Days I'd play over, though? Plenty. Most of which coincidently have to do with aquatic escapes. I guess I do my Pices-ness well in that I crave water and the routine bikini-clad plunge. However, being in Boston for the summer meant that my standards of a "beach day" had to shift, stat

My first beach excursion was to Duxbury where the sand was replaced with rocks and the water was replaced with ice. At a beach unsuitable for leisurely tanning or a refreshing dip, what do you do? Bury your friend in the only sand patch in sight, of course! Well, that and play great music to soundtrack your Spikeball. 

Beach trip number two was a lot more familiar given the return of sand and, actually, my return to Singing Beach from last summer's Fourth of July trip with Sara (my dear summer roomie of 2k16). Here, at Manchester-by-the-Sea, we lapped up mountains of ice cream, frolicked on the set of The Proposal (I'm still replaying my reenaction of Sandra Bullock feeding the dog to the hawk), and played some questionable games on shore - one that had me sprinting into the ocean, submerging myself, and losing all feeling in my body. But hey, that's summer!

Aquatic adventure number three was far more spontaneous in that I was invited to None-Such Lake (a lake??) after work one day and just said, "why not." I think was far too excited about my first time seeing a lake, let alone swimming in one, that I'm pretty sure I annoyed all of my friends. Not to mention that I snobbishly commented on the "dirt" taste of the water because my palette is apparently more accustomed to the salinated Miami Beach waters. Needless to say, my friends tried to convince me there was a Loch Ness Monster lurking underneath the orangey water, to which I replied, "There's None-Such thing." (It was really funny, I promise...)

A return to the lake rounded out excursion number 5, though if one skinny dips at midnight and it's not documented, did it really happen?

The sixth body of water provided more of an ambient and familiar background sound than an opportunity for splashing about. On her one day visit to Boston, Val found herself in a familiar position: cuddled next to me on a blanket by some water. And no, we're not dating. 

Salt, sun, and sand trip number seven happened a little more true to form: 305 form. Given 10 days home, I spent the first 5 sleeping and plan on spending the last 5 swimming. Today, awoken by the irrational urge to take a dip at the crack of dawn, I swooped up Val at a ripe 7:30am and we managed to get in a solid beach day all before lunch.

I used to think a solid beach day was defined by the quality of the sand and the clarity of the water, but, after spending a whole summer taking off to any nearby body of water I could find, I realized that aquatic escapes are much better defined by the company than the taste of the water when you jump in cannon ball style. 

Xx, Maia 
 

New (love for) York City

 

New York City: the homeland of Gossip Girl, Levain cookies, and postgrads a plenty to keep your college years going strong long after they're gone. I've been lucky enough to visit NYC pretty consistently throughout my life, especially when my sis lived there (the Magnolia Bakery on her corner definitely made visits that much sweeter - seriously thinking of starting a Banana Pudding Enthusiasts Club, but that's a whole other story). Since she moved out, I've used the excuse of visiting city friends to justify weekend trips here and there. This past weekend, I packed a weekend bag (with only three outfits, one for each day, and that is a packing first for me so thank you in advance for your congratulations) and embarked on a multi-delayed flight to the Big Apple. 

Being a city girl, well swamp city girl, myself, I appreciate the zooming pace of NYC in a way that is more rejuvenating to me than a weekend in the beautiful burbs of Massachusetts. Smack dab in the middle of my summer internship (and absolutely loving it, but more on that at another date), this weekend trip to New York proved to be the perfect jolt of energy I needed to finish out the summer strong - not to mention I really missed my city pals and weekly FaceTimes weren't cutting it. 

Having now officially reached the midpoint of my college years, talk of post-grad has already begun and people seem to be claiming their first apartment neighborhoods already. I have never really been a New-York-or-Bust kind of post-grad thinker, but I must say that for whatever reason, this past trip really made the Big Apple feel like home. 

Perhaps it was the warm welcome and royal treatment found at my weekend at Lily's home that jump started this familial feeling of affection for the city. 

It could've also been the walks to the subway to meet my friends accompanied by blasting tunes in my ears, sunglasses on, and the realization that my shoes really did look good strutting along the sidewalks. 

Maybe it was the day trip to Brooklyn where Lily and I sought out the Brooklyn Art Library (a precious nook filled to the brim with sketchbooks submitted by anyone and everyone) that made me feel like I could contribute something to this magical canvas of a place. 

Or the fact that two thirds of the restaurants I was taken to to try I had actually already been to, having forgotten the names but instantly recognizing the vibes, that had me realize I was already more of a New Yorker than I thought.

But, above all, I think it was probably the amount of love I felt from the friends who have already set roots in town, or are planning to, that reminded me how special friends are in life because they're truly handpicked family.

And after three days, NYC felt a bit smaller, a little cozier, and lot more like a future home - at least for a few years until I return to Miami to make my mark before it's, well, totally underwater... 

Xx, Maia
 

Feels Like Home

 

I keep telling my friends I’m waiting for my life to return to normal. I thought that going back to Miami would feel normal. Then I thought that coming back to Cambridge would feel normal. My two spheres, my two safe havens; neither one is normal any longer. But that’s not a bad thing. It’s just different.  

When my mom passed away on May 1st of 2017, toward the end of my sophomore spring semester, I felt an uneasy wave of calmness flood into my life. I didn’t feel guilty for my feelings, because in no way did I feel thankful that she was gone—the complete opposite in fact. Rather, I was grateful that she was at peace, because toward the end, I don’t think she was. I mean, who would be?  

The night it happened, I’m pretty sure I was in shock. It was something I had replayed over and over in my mind months before it happened, in fear, and it was something that I sat thinking about in her bed when I FaceTimed my best friends to break the news. The words dripped slowly out of my numb mouth, and it wasn’t until I could see the shock and despair on their faces that I knew it was real.  My best friend, biggest supporter, and brightest inspiration was gone.  

The night it happened, I remember not being able to look at myself in the mirror, and not just because I’m an ugly crier. At the time, I couldn’t really understand why I was shying away from my own reflection. A few days later, I was at an intimate family gathering to celebrate my mother’s life, a place in which I had the opportunity to meet old friends of hers. It was there that I realized why I couldn’t look at myself that night; it’s because I look so much like her. I don’t think I could come to grips with seeing a face like hers stare back at me on the night I found out I lost her. It wasn’t until I had people blatantly staring at me at this gathering, whispering about how I looked just like her, that I realized this was the case. Sure, it freaked me out for a bit, realizing that other people looked at me and saw someone else. But then I realized how much of a gift that was. The ability to look in the mirror and see not only who I’ve become, but who I came from: my mother, a bombshell blonde with a bod, brain, and bountiful love for others.  

Two nights after it happened, I was sitting outside on my front porch around midnight. Formerly terrified of the dark, so much so that I usually had to jump on my bed as soon as I turned off the lights at night to avoid any hypothetical creature snatching my ankles from below my mattress, I laid there in the grass, calmly, and finally at peace. It took me a few moments to understand why I felt at home in the dark, and then I realized that it was because I was no longer alone. I know people always say that when those you love pass, they’re always watching, guiding, and loving you from above. But that is exactly how I felt in that moment, and how I’ve felt every day since.  

For those of you who knew my mother, you knew her as a pillar of light, integrity, creativity, wit, brilliance, rhythm, and love. You knew how much she lived her life for me and my sister, and how active she was in our lives every day of her twenty-six years as a mother. I can only imagine what you must be thinking. How you must be feeling for me, and for my family. How you must be wondering: How can one move on in life without her best friend?  

When it happened, I received an outpouring of love, even from the most unexpected places. From the women at her blow dry bar, who were each independently touched by her and her ability to give advice in any situation, to all of my college friends who had the pleasure of meeting her, and simply realizing how important she was to me. One friend told me that she had never met my mother, but she vividly remembered ringing in my 20th birthday with me this past March on the left ledge of Widener library. It was cold and slightly rainy, but all my friends still came out to celebrate. As soon as it hit midnight and the champagne was popped, someone handed me my ringing cellphone - of course, Sandy was the first to call and wish me a happy birthday at the stroke of midnight, on the first year she wasn’t there to say it in person. This friend told me how she remembers seeing my face light up when I saw the caller ID. This friend reminded me of how my mother managed to make even simplest moments memorable.  

As I sit here, pouring over the thoughts that have been swirling in my mind for the past month, but haven’t yet had a moment to quietly parse through, the song “Mama Said” by the Shirelles comes up on shuffle. Naturally, I cry. I cry from the primal reaction of missing my mom and yearning for her touch. Yet, more importantly, I cry happy tears of gratitude, thinking about how lucky I am for how much she has loved me throughout my entire life, and how much I want to pay that love forward to others. I am now reminded about this poem by Nayyirah Waheed:   

 "If you are softer   

 than before   

 they came,     

you   

 have been loved."

I have been so loved. And I continue to feel it. I appreciate everyone who sends me their love, and who, out of love, tells me that I will probably always feel the pain of losing my mother. Yet, I don’t think so. My mother was truly larger than life. I always knew she was with me, even when she wasn’t physically present. And now, completely believing that she is somewhere in some form in the Universe, I feel her all the time and in every situation. I feel her when I try to make decisions and shy away from saying how I feel, knowing that if I could pick up the phone and ask her what I should do, she’d say, “Go with your gut, Chuchu.” So, I do. I feel her when I wake up with the melody of a song she wrote for me on my lips, one she sang throughout my childhood, and one I hope to sing to my own children one day. I feel her when the weight of her hooped earrings tug on my ears, and I am reminded that though her physical presence is outside of my realm of reach, her spiritual presence is closer than it has ever been.  

Home doesn’t feel entirely like home anymore, which isn’t all that surprising, but I feel at home in surprising new places. I always knew I liked the Harvard Art Museums. I even remember telling my boss that I liked the jingle of the locker keys (a twinkling sound others often found to be a nuisance), because it sounded like the clang of the bangles my mom wore. Because of that comforting chime, I feel more at home there than before. I feel at home walking through these cobblestone paths in Cambridge because I think of how proud she was—and is—of me for being here at Harvard, at a school she always dreamt of attending herself. I feel at home with the friends that I’ve made, knowing that the twenty years of her teaching me how to discern genuine souls from those more disingenuous has finally come to fruition. And now I feel at home with myself, alone, at night, and in the dark, because I know she’s holding my hand along the way, shining down her light for me, forever and always.  

Xx, Maia    
 

Chistes de España

 

Now that the serious, visual documentation of 10 days in Spain have been written and released, it's time to reflect on all the quirks - because not every moment is picture perfect, I know. 

Having taken over 2,000 photos, spent more time in museums than in our lecture back in Boston, and eaten my weight in jamón iberíco, it was pretty easy to start noticing common trends, and quirks among all of us 11 HAA students. 

My fascination with Kaitlin's bun

Isabella's crucial ability to pass out on every bus ride

Julia's affinity for siestas

The emergence of Ongerd from tunnels, caves, and late night dinners

Abby bringing the joy to our days through her laughter and dancing

Me really ~finding myself~

Kaitlin and Isabella finding any and all seating opportunities 

Me putting my wingspan to the test

Abby & Spencer's cuddly love affair (with cameos from Yael & Ingrid)

Me desperately trying to strut in homage to the Cheetah Girls 

The influx of Infantas around the city 

A couple who happened to be matching 

A collection of cool, mirror selfies (because those are coming back, right?)

The back of people's heads being ridiculous

And whatever else is happening in these (feat. a meme I made because it's 2017):

So cheers to our quirks and to the incredible people in this department, and two more years of us being artsy goofballs together. 

Xx, Maia 
 

Artsy April: Return to Identities

 

It's been a year since I first attended Identities behind a lens and in front of the stage. This year (watch the footage here!), I tried my hand on the stage itself, taking some action shots as time permitted and the music moved me. 

Identities, a campus-wide fashion show focusing on inclusion and displaying clothing in this year's theme of Fashion & Technology, provided a day full of meeting new pals, strutting our stuff, and twirling around in the designer garbs we were given. 

Though modeling in the show was more my priority than photographing it, I stole away for a few moments to capture the awe and allure that would enrapture the audience later that night. Though, caveat: these are only a fraction of the stunning models, as I was restricted to photographing those around me who happened to be on my same snack/dance break schedule. 

This Identities show was particularly special to me because my family flew up for the occasion (having the chance to check out one of my Admissions Info Sessions and Crimson Key tours while they were up here), and it was the dose of home that I needed to finish out the semester. 

Peep shoes by Thesis Couture (importing Nasa technology to comfy footwear!) & some of the more tech inspired looks: 

So thank you, Identities, for an excuse to get gussied up, see my family, and feel the electricity emanating from the bumpin' tunes and cheers from the faceless audience (those spotlights were BRIGHT!) <3

Xx, Maia 

All photos by me, except me lacing up my Thesis heels (Photographed by Olivia Nie)

 

Artsy April: Student Spotlight

 

In keeping in this month's #arstyApril theme, today's post features an art installation constructed on campus by student, friend, dancer, lover of live, and all around gem, Bruno! Today's high of 70's and sunny sunshine have students crawling out of the library woodworks to chill in the yard, lounge on the HAM steps (ode to G.G.), and enjoy all the art that surrounds them - especially those created by their peers!

This work, while sadly no longer displayed (yes, catch me featuring unseeable art, sorry) hung in the Carpenter Center on campus last semester. I photographed the work for Bruno in an attempt to preserve the movement and functionality of the piece before it got torn down (haha, because it's made mostly of fabric). Anyway, here's the low down, straight from the artist's mind and pen:

“I slipped” (or at least that was the title a couple months ago) is a three-dimensional representation of a two-dimensional recording of movement. After working with charcoal drawings that documented dance, I decided to reiterate one of those drawings in three-dimensional form.

This is the fifth iteration of it—wood, iron, resin, wire, and plastic were all involved at one point or another, but they were not the right materials. The skeleton is made by a couple pieces of hand-bent steel that were welded together. The leg at the bottom is a plaster cast of my own the was cracked in half and glued back together, and I used dyed chiffon as the body of the sculpture. It hangs from a single point and the fabric flows freely except for the anchor points, which means that light touch and wind can make it move and spin. The sculpture dances.

What I enjoy most about it is its asymmetry, given that it is the result of what is supposed to be a symmetrical movement. The leg cast is en pointe which alludes to dance, and the flowing fabric wrapping around the cast as the piece spins creates a sense of freedom and movement which comes with dance but is recreated with inactive materials in this case.

I see people interacting with it by gently touching or pushing it around, although my friends have been reluctant to do so at first. I guess looking at it is nice too. As a VES concentrator, I was lucky to continue my research of bodily movement and its reverberations through different materials as part of classwork. It was a fulfilling project and I’m excited about future exploration and potential collaborations with other media!

Having been able to interact with the work myself, I felt seamlessly (another fabric pun) connected to Bruno's unique movement, while also able to inject the movement of my own body interacting with the work. The wire is surprisingly heavy, and pushing my weight against it reminded me of the juxtaposition of the weightlessness and immense effort of dance. Kudos, Bruno on this stellar piece! Now put down your phone or your computer and enjoy the freshness of the day outside! 

Xx, Maia
 

History of a Hat

 

6pm sharp. Already late to the reading of a book I can’t even tell you the title of. Perched in the back row, stuffed between toes of boots and heels of chairs – I tried my best to listen to the author, I really did. But between not being able to see him as he spoke, and the worry of ripping my extremely, unnecessarily tight pants as I sat cross-contorted on the floor, was not the most conducive mix for focus.

Straining my ears and shifting my weight, I looked around the room to see a haze of backs, shoes, and the ceiling. As my eyes veered upwards, I paused at a hat. A hat woven of straw it seemed. One that was worn to its bone – a muslin shell peaking out vulnerably under the torn out chunks. I’d never seen a hat like this. One that screamed a story yet harbored such mystery. Pools of dust collected in the central crevice and along the base, tucked under the fraying ribbon.

I had to know the story. I had to know what could have possibly happened to this hat to cause fractures in such unusual places. From the worn, white, denim jacket to the ruggedly, smoothed-out hands I knew our protagonist was an artist. And every artist has a story – his hat definitely told a tale.

Entranced by the hat and the sound of an invisible voice, I started thinking of my own storylines for such a vivid visual. Had our protagonist gotten in a scuffle with a horse that took his hat in a fury and returned it with nibbled corners? Had it been unworn for so long that it collected dust and cracked upon re-use? Or had it been a staple of his wardrobe for countless years that it weathered with the elements of time?

It turned out to be the latter – the most simple of my plots, but still the most satisfying.

After the clapping for the un-named speaker ceased, man with hat left and exchanged a smile. Perhaps he somehow heard my muted shutter as I snuck pictures of the hat during the talk. Regardless of the reasoning for his farewell kindness, I shuffled after him and introduced myself. Without allotting time for him to respond to my introduction, I blurted how fascinated I’d become with his hat and slightly begged him to tell me the story behind it.

“Oh the hat? It’s not nearly as fascinating as I am.”

A palm, not straw, woven hat purchased at a Harvard Square Street Fair in 1999 for $10 at an Ecuadorian booth.

He admits he should’ve bought 10 of them because this one is so worn and they’re rather expensive to order online. 18 years with this hat. 18 years of scraping it with bags strapped and unstrapped across his body. Several moments he’s sat on it or tossed it. One time it was run over by a motorcycle.

He laughs when we, for Lily and I were on this endeavor together, admit we spent our time at the talk mesmerized by his hat. “Sometimes I’m so embarrassed by it. Today I even tried to sit in the back to not block anyone’s view, but you girls found a way.”

History of a hat. His story of a hat.  

Xx, Maia 
 

Housing Day: a Harvard Holiday

 

There are two major days in the school year when Harvard becomes Harvard State: the Harvard-Yale Football Game (and we all know how that turned out...) & Housing Day - the latter of which occurred just last week. 

Housing Day is the day we don face paint, construct NSFW signs, throw quippy inter-house chants at one another, and physically storm into freshman dorms to announce where they'll be living for the next three years. If this all sounds crazy to you, you're not wrong. I woke up at 7:00am to draw some whiskers (reppin the Winthrop Lion) and get so hype I wouldn't feel the cold. 

In the days leading up to this one, all the 12 houses produce a Housing Day video in which they attempt to entice the freshmen into willing the laws of the universe to provide them their dream house. I must say, Winthrop's video was stellar - and not just because I helped to film it... 

Anyway, at 7:45am, Winthropians sprinted to the Yard and claimed stake near University Hall - fending off Currier's, "Where is Winthrop?" chant with, "Not in the Quad!" Disclaimer: all of the houses are actually amazing, they truly do become your home, and all the teasing/tomfoolery on Housing Day is all in good fun <3

At 8:30am, Dean Khurana (and friends) provide the House reps with envelopes of the freshman who got 'Thropped (in our case). Following that hand off, flocks of upperclassmen bombard freshman entryways for the most exciting reveal and abundance of hugs with strangers. Forgive this blurry photo, but low quality pic, high quality happiness am I right?? 

All in all, Housing Day is one of our opportunities to truly showcase community pride and ~school spirit~. I will also fully admit that I proceeded to deliver a 100+ person information session at the Admissions Office to prospective students and their families while wearing my lion ears and tail... 

And with that, happy Housing Day! May the River Gods be ever in your favor. 

Xx, Maia 

Posters as promised:

 

Cool Beans: Sister Act

 

Full disclosure: I’m truly obsessed with, inspired by, and in awe of the Hartzell sisters.

I first met Jordan, two years my junior, four years ago during a summer program at Brown (yes, I was one of those, and yes, it was a good omen for Jordy because she’ll be Brown Class of 2021!), and had the pleasure of spending some summer time with her this year as she did a program at Harvard. Her older sister, Sydney, who is a freshman at NYU this year, and I have never met - yet we've always felt like kindred spirits, peas in a pod, the whole nine yards of familiar twin metaphors.

For background and general amazement: Jordy is a senior in high school who is going to Brown next fall. She is involved in physics outreach in her community as the founder of the PA Young Women in Physics Conference (an event for high school students to listen to research talks of female physicists from across the state - the goal being to provide high school girls with female role models and expose high school students to real physics work). She's also an amateur science writer (check out her posts here and here!), and a guest speaker to a class/women's group on the state of women in science. She hopes to find an interdisciplinary approach to studying physics/maybe computer science/neuro at Brown. 

 Sydney is currently a second-semester freshman at NYU. She is passionate about art, ballet, learning, and food. She recently started working for Hannah Bronfman, the founder of the nyc-based health and wellness startup HBFIT. Though she’s new to NYC, she feels at home in its chaos and is looking forward to new adventures!

Lucky for me, Sydney was home for the weekend and eager to hop on FaceTime with Jordan for a warm and sunny start to our Sunday yesterday! I went into this convo fully expecting to feel some sisterly love, and left with expectations exceeded and feeling more motivated by these girls than I thought was possible. 

Tell me a little about where you’re from. What do you miss? What do you not

Sydney: Pretty interesting dichotomy in our responses because we’re both at different points in our lives since I’ve just left home and she’s still here feeling like she wants to leave. Now that I have left this area, I can’t express how grateful I am to have grown up here in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania - you’d only know it for Bucknell University, unless you’re visiting the Federal Penitentiary... 

Jordan: It's very community oriented and familial, which I love, but it's hard to reinvent yourself in a small high school that you've been going to for twelve years, which is the part of it that makes me want to leave.

S: Jordan and I are similar in our social standing in that we’re not introverted, have you heard of ambivert? We can be extroverted around each other… Jordan and I spent the majority of the last two years of high school in the library together. We’re kind of outliers in that way. Now that I’m in New York everyone thinks I’m such a cliche. I didn’t grow up under a literal rock!

What’s your background? Phone and literal

J: Mine's my Dog Tashi - she’s on a boat! This summer my dog lived on this boat with my parents, so this is a constant reminder that my dog is cooler than me...

S: My background is marble because, I mean I know that’s a thing, it’s trendy (J: It’s clean!), but for me it feels like creating space. I used to have pictures of my boyfriends - not my boyfriends I’m monogamous -  I love my boyfriend, but even my homescreen is just a gradient. I got the vogue app and it froze on the screen before it enters the homescreen so I took a screenshot of it thinking, “wow this color is so pretty!" My life is busy enough that I need control in the one place I’m always looking.

What’s the story of your name?

J: Ours kind of go together. We have one more older sister, Alexandra, and my mom’s plan was, if she had all girls, to name them all with unisex names, she wanted us all to have androgynous, strong names.

S: Essentially what she’s trying to say, I think, is that my parents thought of androgynous names because they were strong and sexy. The set up was our older sister to be "Alex", but she ruined it with Ally - though Ally is a beautiful name. Back in the really old days, when people would wear cumber-buns (no, wait, that’s the prom thing?) guys used to be named Sydney. I’m really drawn to the name Taylor and Charlotte for a daughter but to call Charlie. I really like Jordan but my sister and boyfriend are both named Jordan and I just can't keep surrounding myself with Jordans!

What’s one fact about you?

J: When I was little, I don't know if it was me wanting Sydney to think I was cool, but I would memorize her favorite things. Syd would say, “update my favorite store” and I would commit it to memory. And then when people would ask about her favorite things, like her favorite flavor of ice cream, I would say, "she doesn’t really like ice cream, but if she did it’d be a chocolate milkshake."

S: My random fact is gonna counter that and make me seem like a terrible sister... Growing up, we would only fly to Disney once a year and it was a big deal. My dad would allow us one treat each before the plane. Jordan would get sour skittles and I would get normal skittles, and I would eat all my skittles and Jordan would save hers. Then when we took off I was like, "Jordan do you want to play a game, I’m gonna close my eyes and you feed me your skittles and I’ll guess what color they are!" And then I ate all her skittles. 

What’s your favorite aspect of your closest friend? Besides each other, haha. 

S: My favorite aspect of Alessandra is that she’s very strong willed. She doesn’t compromise herself or her values in the face of a social situation, which is something I seek out in a friend because, throughout my life I have kind of isolated myself when I don't feel comfortable around people who prefer a social situation to maintaining their morals. Maybe I should change it to authentic, because that’s something super hard to find especially in New York. We can tend to differ once in a while but I think that’s something I respect more than someone who just goes along with what you're saying.

J: I admire my best friend, Alyssa. The word I’ve used to describe her is reliable because if i need to talk to someone or she hears something and wants to share it with me, I can rely on her to actually be excited for me when good things happen to me - that’s kind of rare. She got into Carnegie Mellon engineering and I think I was happier for her to get into her school than me to get into mine!

Favorite conversation starter?

S: ooh OOH this is so good, wait lemme think. I always lead with a joke about being from a small town. People will ask, "Oh where are you from?" "Pennsylvania, you wouldn't know it, it's a really tiny town, we have a motto “medicate, educate, and incarcerate" (they say in sync) for the three things we're known for. When I begin with that I'm from a small town, the expectation is very low about where the conversation will follow haha.

J: In terms of meeting new people, we both like to make jokes. Syd is the wittiest person I know, she’s quick with a pun which I know you are too Maia (S: "Dad thinks my dad jokes are terrible.").

S: I’m a huge fan of pick up lines. With guys I might as well be out there and if it doesn't work it's fine. I asked my prom date last year to prom, it was very last minute, I texted him asking if he wanted to go with me, and the week before we had had a competition with pick up lines. So the last night he picked me up in his car and a bunch of limes fell out, and he said “sorry I’m really bad at pickup limes.”

J: At least with Syd, she’s a very good listener and always makes you feel like what you’re saying is valuable which makes her really likable. She’s good at reflecting what people say.

If you had to think of a mantra your family grew up saying, what would it be?

J: So my dad loves these books called the Aubrey Maturin series, there’s 26 of them and they’re a Napoleonic war series. He loves ships, and he's always said, “steer your ship”, and it's something that’s become inspirational but also normal in the house. It means if you're in a situation you're always the captain and it’s your choice to steer it - you have control. And it’s a less harsh way of saying “get control”.

S: She’s exactly right, it’s been my whole life that he’s said that. Especially in New York, I hear it in the back of my head in a tough situation. 

What music are you listening to now?

S: I’m really into music, my favorite thing about music is curating it. I love making playlists!

J: I listen to music by month and year - Syd organizes it for me.

S: I love making custom playlists. When I first started dating Jordan, I would make him playlists on Spotify and he would be like, "What is this?" (J: "It’s you in music!"). Making mixtapes is my idea of true romance, so that’s what I do on Spotify. My fave quote is, “art decorates space and music decorates time.” It’s so true that music really heightens emotion - it has the power to motivate me or calm me. Now to counter that, I’ve currently been listening to the 50s shades darker soundtrack... I also like the new frank ocean song Slide

J: We have one of those amazon Alexa things and we always play jazz. Around the holidays it's Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong, it's always on really low volume and you don't really notice it, but there’s always jazz or concert piano - even our dogs like it!

Go to outfit. What’s your uniform? What is a classic look that everyone would say, “that’s so Jordan/Sydney”

J: Mines probably simpler than yours haha. I usually look fairly sporty so I have a pair of old Nikes and high top Vans and wear that with leggings and a sweatshirt. My new favorite sweatshirt is my Brown one because it’s so “homey”. (S: "You need to get me a brown sweatshirt, one that says Brown not just a brown one lol"). I also love leather jackets over like a silver dress or a patterned dress, it makes me feel so strong!

S: I’m all about less is more with style. I really like the new french look where it’s supposed to be effortless but for me it’s a lot of effort. In New York, everyone wears all black so I don’t own anything that has color, except white, which I guess has all the color. When I shop I buy all the same things but the newest version.

J: Syd’s good that she has a few key things that she can wear really well

S: When I find something that goes with a lot of things I will invest in it. A classic outfit I would say high waisted jeans ALWAYS (I feel so comfortable in high waisted jeans, I only wear high waisted bathing suits because I love that 1950s look), maybe a white button down thats kind of loose so I can tie it in the front, or a blouse/cami, and either leather jacket or a bomber jacket - some sort of easy peasy that kind of thing.

What’s an accessory or piece of Jewelry that you’d like to be remembered by or that is iconic you?

J: We both have these little necklaces. Mines gold, hers is platinum, we got them three years ago, and we like to think they’re like Twitches. I also have a little third ear piercing which is a little out of character for me - I don't wear anything other than these and little gold hoops.

S: I have very tiny ears. I don’t know if anyone noticed. When we went to get her ear pierced the second time I was sitting in the chair, and it didn’t feel very Sydney, so I said, "No nonononono!" and I ran out of the chair. My other thing that I wear is this ring. It’s a sapphire but it almost looks black. My mom and I got it together before I went to Paris one summer, and I made her kiss it so I always had her love and now I haven’t really taken it off. I do like minimal jewelry, the other reason why is because I tried to wear a watch one time and I took it off at the gym and lost it. I can’t have anything nice.

What’s a current trend that you really like or are envious of?

J: I’ve gotten into fashion week so I’m trying to think deep into things I’ve been seeing. I love the new work out chic, athleisure, because I love to be comfortable. I love bringing back utility as fashion, like windbreakers. 

S: I think inherently I’m not a trendy person, I almost try not to be trendy, (J: "You're counter cool!!"), I try to have a timeless style, which I don't always have because I'm mostly in workout clothes. The thing that I love is lipstick thats supposed to be worn in, like stain, it’s kind of messy. Jeanne Damas, she’s a french it girl, style guru, and that’s her thing - she’ll put on bold lipstick and blot it off so there’s a tinge left. I feel very uncomfortable in bold lipstick but I love buying it, so I blot it off. I’m glad it’s a thing now because I feel like I’ve always done it!

What’s a trend that you wish would die?

J: I hate when people wear t-shirts when its freezing out. I don't think its a trend but its an act of ignorance or defiance, unless it comes from not having a coat then I totally understand and want to help in some way, but when its like a macho thing it bothers me. In a more general trendy sense, if you put fashion above utility at the point of being detrimental to yourself I'm not a fan.

Signature phrase. What do you say a lot?

S: Wait, can we think of each other’s? Because I don’t know what I say...

J: I’m sorry we’re spending so much time looking out the window, there’s something about Pennsylvania's rolling hills that really makes you think lol.

S: Oh! I say, "Word" a lot!

J: As an affirmation - like she’s bringing back 1990s Will Smith.

S: I text it sometimes and people are like, "What?” and I’m like, "Like 'power to you'!”

J: There was an episode of New Girl where someone told Jess he loved her and she didn't say it back so she did finger guns, and thats become a thing for me. I also snap, like when people go to poetry slams (S: "You go to poetry slams?"), or especially in class if I like what they’re saying I’ll give them a couple snaps.

Soundtrack to your life?

J: Capsize by Emily Warren, this was my summer song, and even now, it makes me so happy

S: The Way You look tonight with Frank Sinatra is my favorite, favorite song but that’s not the soundtrack because thats just me being like, “The way I look tonighttttt.” Another song I like is Paper Doll by John Mayer. I don't take it for the meaning I think it actually has. For me it's more my self identity but the outfits represent that I'm evolving all the time based on my experiences and my circumstance - I always think about that song in relation to myself.

Spirit dessert?

S: This is gonna sound so dumb but it's so me. There's a grocery store on long island called Fairway and they have these chocolate malt balls. I don't know if that's a dessert or a candy. I went to Rosh Hashanah at my boyfriend’s house and they put out dessert, and they had a jar of malt balls in front of his mom and his aunt and I kept sneaking 3 until they were gone. I love chocolate more than anything sweet. I’m also an advocate of having chocolate every day instead of restricting yourself and then binging. Anyway, there’s like an inch of chocolate before you hit the malt ball on these things - I love it!

J: Mine would definitely be sour gummy worms. At the Bucknell library they always have little baggies, and I just love sour candy and candy in general like a 5 year old, or ice cream, because I’m 5.

What’s your favorite thing to gift people?

J: I was really honored when someone recommended a book to me. So my new favorite thing is to gift a book, and personally pick it out for them. And also give them my favorite book. My favorite book is “The Trespasser” it’s a mystery, and inside the cover I'll write, “It’s so much fun just like you!”

S: I have 3 things. One is specifically for my boyfriend: I gift him the clothing I want him to wear. Second, I love to gift and receive flowers, actually I’m allergic to flowers but I love having flowers and plants near me. I am actually allergic to most living things, but I love having them near me in my space because I soak up their energy - not in a bad way, they still have some energy left. I love to gift candles because I am an old soul, even though I live in a dorm building and I can’t light them...

J: Syd actually came home and she brought me something, wait I’m gonna get it, she got me this card that says “it’s been a while crocodile.”

S: And YET I wrote nothing in it - I just got her the card haha...

J: I also think orange is really inspirational, and I also love planners, and she got me this orange planner that I love. 

S: UGH same, I have like a fetish for planners!

Describe yourself as a human bean:

(Note: for this last bit, I had them text me their answers about describing themselves as human beans and then had them describe each other as human beans aloud. I was kind of curious to see how they saw themselves and how they saw each other)

TEXTS:

S: I would describe myself as authentic, empathetic, and curious about life. I've always stayed true to myself and I feel like having a strong sense of self has guided me through tough situations and challenges. I would say that I'm empathetic because even unintentionally, I feel connected to other human beans. I feel like this leads me into my next adjective, but the connection that I share with other people makes me more curious about life and it's many facets... the idea that we're ever-evolving beans who each experience hundreds of different lives within our own. 

J: Me as a bean: so I love coffee (I'm a two a day kind of gal) and in connection to a literal coffee bean (and mod and Bean ;))I'd like to say that I'm energetic -- the qualities of which I'm most proud kind of stem from this... I'm typically a self-starter and I love to make decisions (though I agonize about simple ones like dessert choices)

The sisterly reveal: 

S: I did it so seriously, whoops! I think I did it the way I would think my teacher would want me to do *face palms*. I feel like Jordan has always been my best friend, my whole life. I love my older sister, but I feel very connected to Jordan (J: "We have telepathy!"), she’s passionate about life - it's not necessarily rare, but it’s tangible. She’s also extremely motivated which radiates. When I’m around her I feel motivated. In general she’s incredibly hardworking, and you always want to be around someone like that. She has an amazing work ethic. Also, she just carries herself very well for her age: she’s extremely mature, wise, and passionate. She’s so funny - like unintentionally funny. She also has a fantastic jazz singer voice! She has this huge belt voice when she’s imitating other jazz artists!

J: In describing Sydney, she’s someone who when you’re talking to her she makes you feel important, heard, comfortable, and valued. The other thing about Sydney is that she’s very introspective and very reflective too, which is something cool about her because she’ll bring out another perspective when you’re talking. She’s incredibly passionate which is inspiring to be around, even if it's about an essay she wrote for class, she’ll turn it into an introspective reflection of what she’s been thinking about (S: "I think that’s because I’m a nerd."). She’s incredibly witty, I always used to say you laugh at your own jokes and you're the only one laughing.

S: I really resonate with this meme of Drake sending a text and laughing because you know it’s going to be fire!

J: The highest compliment I've ever heard, is someone calling Lupita Nyongo a "force." I think Sydney walks into a room and she’s a force. 

Cue the sisterly awwing and hugging, making me realize I should probably call my sister more and compensate for the six year gap we have as opposed to the Hartzell single year gap. Suffice it to say, I fully expected to feel full on sisterly love during this conversation, but felt even more energy and love emanating from these girls than I had anticipated!

All photos courtesy of their strong, and aesthetic social media presences. 

Xx, Maia 
 

Cool Beans #1: D, Y, & I

 

On one of my last warm, winter-break days in Miami, I had the pleasure to reconnect with two super cool people, who also happened to go to my same middle/high school. I won't pretend like we were best friends, granted they're two years older than me, and in MS/HS, those years seem more like centuries - but we did share a chuckle about similar references and the fact that we've all really put the clichéd "finding ourselves in college" to good use. 

Nostalgia aside, I present to you this glorious day filled with fashion, humor, and tips & tricks across the map. And, in order to foster this new platform of reconnecting and exploring the opportunity to meet/mingle with interesting people on a more frequent basis, here you'll find a new segment to Mod & Bean: Cool Beans. Overdone pun yet?

Anyway, for the launch of Cool Beans, I spoke with Yashi and Danielle over a quick coffee at Threefold Cafe (Miami traffic landing us there right as it was about to close...) and then a little adventure around the streets of Coral Gables. It honestly worked perfectly as a reminiscent, lets-laugh-about-high-school ice breaker pre our quasi-photoshoot in a little Gables neighborhood. Followed up by a bulk purchase of alfajores and casual, quick-fire question conversation.

As a brief intro to these extraordinary beans, I'll let you in on a sneak preview more personal than a cursory glance at their LinkedIn profiles. Danielle, senior at LIM College has been interested in fashion ever since she interned in NYC during a high school summer. She cultivates her personal instagram with stunning shots of trend & travel, and has snagged really neat internships with fashion and PR companies in New York ever since! Yashi, fellow pun lover, runs her own blog The Hip Nip! She started it as a joyful side biz, yet has managed to partner with some brands and even start her own line with a few of her friends - you can check it out at LYNK Studio.  I've also included handwritten notes about both of their ventures at the bottom of this post if you are interested in ~educating yourselves~ further! 

Now, for the good stuff: Post hastily sipping on drinks (of the lemonade and latte varieties, of course) we piled in Yashi's car and drove to one of her favorite neighborhoods in Coral Gables. "Don't worry, guys, the stains in my car aren't scary - they're from beet juice" Yashi shouted as we hopped in her car. 

We parked and stopped to talk in the middle of the street - slowly shifting to the curb as cars rolled through, and waving at the drivers because they probably thought we lived there. Typical of the down to earth nature and relaxed vibes of both Danielle and Yashi, they both giggled and joked about being hounded by the paparazzi as I stuck my camera in their mugs while they talked. At one point, Danielle remembered the sweet specs she had in her purse, whipped them out, and said, "It's Wednesday my dudes" as an homage to the Vine that features similar goggle glasses. 

Following photo courtesy of those who put Danielle on blast for this comparison:

Though we mostly spent this portion of the day laughing about running into fellow high schoolers at Publix or at the mall, here's what we discussed over crumbly and powdery alfajores at Pasion de Cielo:

Go to outfit: What's your uniform?

Yashi: "This [jean jacket]! I wear it all the time - even on Thanksgiving. My mom was like, 'Really? A denim jacket?!'" 

Danielle: "I always want one article of my outfit to be unique - to stand out. Like flared pants, culottes, or a top with an open shoulder. One part has to be weird, and then I build the rest of the outfit around that. This was definitely hard to do in the winter. I would just freeze instead." 

What's the soundtrack to your life? 

D: "The Good Vibes playlist on Spotify. It's full of super old songs like 'For Once in My Life' by Stevie Wonder. It's perfect for driving on a sunny day, it just makes me happy!"

Y: "I love random one liners in songs that just make me laugh, and are just funny or cute. Like there's this one song that goes like "treasure every beating heart that sets your soul on fire." *imitates folk instrument, complete with air guitar motions and twangy noises*

What's one piece of jewelry that's iconic you?

D: "I always have these three rings, which I realize have become an inconvenience in NYC with gloves, but I just feel naked without them. This [purple gemstone] one was my grandma's. This [middle] one I got in a market in Peru. It's cool because the silver of these two rings is exactly the same. And this one is so weirdly cool because it's so big and people always say, 'Oh you could knock someone out with that!'"

Y: "I always have a bunch of gold bracelets. Well now I mix gold and silver because silver deserves a chance. These two rings I never take off - look, I'm white underneath. And then I always have these bracelets like this one with a little eye from Lebanon, and this Brazilian wish blanket. Oh and this ankle bracelet is from a neoprene swimsuit. And this one is a friendship bracelet but it's too big for my wrist - it just kept falling off."

What's a trend you're envious of right now?

*They confer with their Instagram feeds as a quick refresher*

D: "I'm really into headbands and ribbons. I had to pick them up for a Man Repeller article and then I just asked my dad to bring some of my mom's old headbands when he came to visit me in New York. I wore my mom's mink headband to work one day - but some couple kept whispering and looking at me on the subway, so I figured it had to be the headband and I just took it off."

Y: "This isn't really a trend but I'm just really into hand tattoos. Like lil baby ones. I want to get one for my birthday. My mom and I have this inside joke that started when I was 8. I would say 'It's 1pm!' and my mom would say 'Oh, 1' like as in 1:01 too. She's really into meditation and spirituality --

D: "I remember her being the happiest person!!" Danielle interjects

Y: "Haha yeah she is the happiest. She even has this thing called the Gaia minute where she thinks if people just emitted positivity into the world for a minute, the world would be a better place. She does it at 9:09 because she likes 9's and because of our inside joke. So I want to get that tattoo, and I wanted my mom to get a matching one but she's too much of a free spirit to be tied down by a tattoo so I might get her an engraved bracelet."

What's a trend you want to die?

Y: "Adidas Superstars, even though I wear mine all the time. They're just done. Like when I wear them and it rains it doesn't even matter to me."

D: "Bandage/body-con things. I don't need to wear them anymore to get into clubs. Now I just go to loungy clubs and last time went in my mom's high school jacket and jeans."

Do you have a signature phrase?

Y: "It's not so much a signature phrase as its the noises I make when I see animals. Like my friends will be like, 'Look, Yash! There's a dog!' and I get really excited."

D: "I also get really excited about dogs!"

*Cue digression on Danielle's friend who breeds french bulldogs*

Spirit Dessert?

Y: "Oh God a chocolate mousse. Danielle I feel like you'd be a dessert inside a dessert inside a dessert."

D: "Haha yeah, I'd say Oreo inside of a chocolate chip cookie for sure. I even made some and brought them to work and silently put them on the counter and smiled while they were gone in seconds."

Do you have a favorite conversation starter?

D: "I'm not good at talking to people, so no haha."

Y: "I usually just compliment people to start a conversation. But then I can't talk a compliment, so it doesn't work on me."

D: "I got called out for not knowing how to small talk. Like when someone says, 'Oh, you're from Miami?' I'm like, 'Yup.' and then they just stare at me like, 'and??'" 

Last question: How would you describe yourself as a human bean?

Y: "I'm a bean!!"

D: "What if we describe each other?"

Y: "Aww yeah! Danielle, you're effortlessly cool. Probably because you're not intimidating which is cooler than being full of yourself. Like you travel and you dress well but you're also hilarious."

D: "This is funny because I've known you since the 6th grade, but even back then you were super open, friendly, and down for whatever. Now it's the same, but different. Like now you're so entrepreneurial. You have your life together."

Y: "Lol really?!"

Xx, Maia 

 

Note from Danielle: 

I think my personal style first started evolving when I spent an early high school summer in New York interning at a PR firm that represented lifestyle, fashion, and beauty brands. I was exposed to a creative environment at a relatively young age (15), which really inspired me. I spent every summer after that back in New York interning at different companies within the industry from Editorialist to Michael Kors. For college, I knew I wanted to be in New York and study fashion business, so LIM College was the perfect place for me. While attending LIM College I worked at Brandy Melville, and interned other semesters and summers. I studied abroad in Paris for a summer and then for a semester during my junior year. It was by far the greatest experience I’ve ever had. During that semester I was documenting a lot of my outfits and travels on my Instagram as a form of creative expression, which I really enjoyed. I don’t consider myself a fashion blogger, but I do like to share my outfits occasionally, and hope it inspires the people who follow me. I don’t have a specific style or aesthetic that can be characterized, to me it really depends on the day. As I said in the interview, I can’t get myself wear a plain top with jeans. Something just needs to be weird.

Note from Yashi:

I came up with the idea for The Hip Nip in the summer of 2015. I was on the beach in West Palm Beach with my friends Belle and Kristen and we were talking about how I should start a blog. Kristen has a fashion blog of her own and was really encouraging about starting my own. So we started coming up with “blog/blogger names” and they helped me come up with The Hip Nip! I’m always making weird jokes about, let’s say, anatomy so it seemed perfect. Everything on my blog revolves around “the nip” so I call my readers “boob troop” and my blog sections are sort of punny titles that relate to nips as well. 

I started blogging as a hobby but my blog and Instagram @yashmula have started to gain some attention. I’ve worked with a few local companies and boutiques to host events and promote their brands as well as photographers to be featured in their portfolios. One company I worked with a lot last year is called The Makers Collective, a company that hosts Trend Walks every 2-3 weeks in different places around Miami like The Freehand, The Hall South Beach, etc. It’s cool because I’ll get paid to host these events and promote them and get people there. Recently I was contacting by a media company whose client is Coach to promote a purse from their pre-spring collection so I don’t get paid but I get to choose and keep the purse! 

 

The Game: Harvard-Yale 2k16

 

Happy Mod Monday! Today I’m here to reminisce about the “most wonderful time of the year.” No, I’m not prematurely looking to the holiday season just yet; let’s at least get through Thanksgiving first. Rather, I’m talking about The Game. The game destined to be a 10-peat, but, as with the rest of 2016, a loss prevailed instead; this time, against Yale.

Deemed one of the two Harvard holidays (the other being Housing Day, so stay tuned until March), the Harvard-Yale football game brings flocks of students decked out in gear repping both sides. Amidst the playful slurs of “Yuck Fale” and “Huck Farvard” (I’ll let you decide which one actually makes sense ;) ), Saturday was the day most students could proudly say they attend “Harvard State.” With the tailgate attracting everyone from the class of 2020 to alums from further back than they’d like to admit, it’s well worth the time to recount this annual tradition.

For a second, once Crimson lost to Navy (only in score, never in beauty of color, of course), I thought all of our gloaty, impending social media captions had to be scrapped. But, I remembered something a professor uttered to a friend, “from tragedy comes great art”, so our captions followed suit.

“Now that Hell has frozen over, I guess I’ll ski there too.” – Zabie

"Reunions for the win (never mind the score)." - Cat

"Yale won the game but we won the popular vote." – Annie

"Even though we lost, we'll keep our spirits HY." – Leila

"The Camelbaks were the real MVP #stayHYdrated." - Alana

"We speculated that Yale may have paid the refs, but then we realized they wouldn't have the funds because we're more..." – Me

"Accurate representation of our Harvard-Yale, being elbowed in the face by these results..." – Me, again

For me, the tailgate is all about dancing (elevated surfaces or not) and not losing too many of my friends to the spotty cell service. But some go far harder than others.

From Macklemore level game day attire or re-defining ripped jeans, to some tragic ca(shoe)alties along the way, Harvard’s streak wasn’t the only thing that was lost on Saturday:

I’m thinking about my good friend, Will's, chipped tooth. Always one to be in HY spirits, even after the following ensued:

After having put Will on blast in a groupchat and doing damage control when concerned parties reached out, I sought his permission to post the trauma on an even grander scale. A trooper the day of and on iMessage as I pleaded my case, Will recounted the incident and ensured me that a dentist appointment was already booked for tomorrow. Apparently the following transpired in a conference call between him, his mother, and his dentist:

I literally called him in a panic and was like “My face has to be symmetrical, you DON’T UNDERSTAND! My face is all I have going for me I NEED you to fix this!” and my mom immediately cut in and was like, “NO, you have a great personality and you’re so smart!!” and I was like, “SHUT UP MOM, this is NOT the time!” – Will

I guess teenage angst doesn’t really quit in your twenties.

Other favorite Game Day memories from friends were a little tamer. Shub, fond proponent of dabbing and once toter of a sign that read, “Yale kids wear Crocs.” said his favorite memory “was definitely waking up early for the ESPN college Game Day taping my freshman year!”

Allie and Emmie, prominently featured in photos from the festivities, agreed that “the best memories were storming the field freshmen year and this year's pre-game sunbathing on the turf field.”

But The Game isn’t just for chipped teeth and fostering friendship, it can also be a lucrative business venture according to resident finance mogul, Leila, who shockingly is not concentrating in Economics:

“My favorite memory HAS to be finding an extra ticket on the floor and then selling both my ticket and that one to some guy for $20 once I had already used them to get into The Game. Oh! And promptly using that money for a free meal at Bartley’s post loss.”  - Leila

And for all we cherish to remember, there are some things we’d rather forget. Perhaps full views of the “Saybrook Strip” would be one of them, or the brief moment of weakness I had when I questioned transferring to Yale for the sole reason that their band was playing Danza Kuduro… Yeah, let’s agree to forget those ever happened.

All in all, Harvard-Yale is a great time for school spirit, ascorbic wit, beating classic songs to death, and putting the LIT in “elite” (I swear, I was NOT the one to come up with that nor use it in any other context but sarcastically). So keep chanting…

“'Yuck Fale’ – Gandhi.”

“Yale cites Wikipedia.”

“In my country no one’s ever heard of Yale.”

...belting along to annual themes like...

2016:

Closer, The Chainsmokers (the song of the summer that just won’t die)

Mr. Brightside, The Killers (had to throw this in as an homage to the dutiful hosts of last year’s AEPI tailgate)

2015:

Hotline Bling, Drake (or as Yale seems to sing, “1-800-Harvard-Sucks”)

2014:

Caribou Lou, Tech N9ne (I have actually never heard of this song @ Allie, Emmie, & Wes…)

Habits, Tove Lo

2013:

Unwritten, Natasha Bedingfield

Dancing with Myself, Billy Idol

(Though these two have not been cross-referenced by another source. Given that you apparently can’t trust someone to think back too far into their past game days @Fri.)

…and start the countdown to redemption.

Xx, Maia

 

 

NYFW: The Street Style

So far, you've gotten an inside glimpse at the runway looks and our favorite city eats. Now we're here to share yet another quintessential aspect of fashion week: the killer street style. If you follow fashion week, you know it's as much about what's worn off the runways as what's worn on. For every slideshow of fresh-off-the-catwalk looks, there's a corresponding one for what people wore to the show itself. The fashion week runways practically spill onto the streets themselves, after all, street style is serious business, with the most dedicated of attendees changing outfits three, four, even five times a day. While the Mod & Bean team had neither the space in our carry-ons nor the money to commit to a week of quick-changing, we made our own fair attempt to join the ranks of the street style stars (with a helping hand from Zara, of course). 

Fashion week brings its own special air to the city: transforming bustling streets and empty event spaces into unofficial red carpets for the who's who of fashion: bloggers, A-listers, designers, and lucky beans like ourselves. While our ensembles may have paled in comparison to the couture clad, Birkin-toting fashion insiders, we managed to fool a fair share of street style photographers into thinking we were of moderate importance. Below we've shared our daily looks in addition to some sneaky street style snaps! (Important to note that we highly resisted the temptation to insert some quote about making the world your runway etc).

Day 1

Day one, I, Maia opted for this easy Zara jumpsuit. All the elegance, none of the fuss. (Perfect for noodling around the city and impromptu dance parties in side streets).

You'll also begin to realize that I took the whole "New York Noir" thing quite seriously - ditching my Miami brights and patterns for the slick, all-black ensembles. Motivation? Probably remaining stain free (or the illusion of it), as I did indeed spill coffee on the one white blouse I wore this trip (not pictured because simply tragic). I also found that black is much more forgiving of the sweat that clung to me as we shuffled through Subways and navigated too many flights of stairs with a heavy carry-on in tow. 

For our first day in the city, black was the name of the game. I, Katherine, feel overcome by this sentiment whenever I find myself in the Manhattan bubble. One moment I'm craving summer bohemian or fun feminine style -- draping myself in flowing folds of blush and jewel tones -- and the next thing I know, I'm in New York City, and my wardrobe has unwittingly assimilated, one with that of the effortlessly cool city girl -- monochrome, neutrals, and adidas reign supreme.

Can we also just take a moment to admire this mid-morning light? Having been an on-again, off-again, photographer for going on six years, I, Katherine, am almost always chasing light, whether it's that morning glow or that final, bursting golden hour. Sometimes, there are just those perfectly opportune moments like these ones below. The best things (read: good lighting) come when you least expect it, right?

And then, there's the subway. With it's mushroom-yellow glow and the added benefit of years of built up grime, such photographic conditions prove to be a challenge. Alas, we prevailed over the New York City metro system and caught these shots.

Back up from the underground for some outfit shots in the West Village, where both my, Katherine's, below and my, Maia's, above photos were captured. Tree lined streets, dappled brunch-time light. All black. 

The infamous outfit change! After a day of prancing around the city in my, Katherine's, characteristically black ensemble, I opted for this deep green evening jumper from, you guessed it, Zara. I also found myself the interviewee of a Chinese news station. It's funny to think that there may be a little sound byte of me floating about some thousands and thousands of miles away in China...

Day 2

The day started early with Misha Collection at Skylight on Clarkson Square (a beautiful west river event space). After the show, we snagged some fun candids and style shots in the industrial, ship-yard streets. I, Maia, opted for the cool statement jacket trend, assisted by none other than (do I even say it?) Zara. I, Katherine, attempted the impossible task of dressing for two seasons, opting for this light, summer white top (white after labor day is so a thing) over this cool layered black tweed skirt. I also feel it important to make note that directly after these pictures were taken I kicked off the heels and pranced around (feet beyond thankful) in adidas for the remainder of the day. Happy feet, happy bean.

Below we've included proof of my, Katherine's, shameless switch. Take special note of the effortless flare with which I seek comfort. Don't let it fool you. I was being swallowed by the heat and nearly fell over five times.

Day 3

For our final day in the city some errand running (read: purchasing banana pudding) and a brief stop at the studio of my, Katherine's, cousin was in store. The dress code? Pants and sneaks for optimal mobility (and wiggle room for our engorged cookie/ice cream/banana pudding tummies). 

While outfit posts aren't normally our things, we couldn't help but take advantage of NYFW and see what all of the fashion fun was about. And considering we were literally mobbed with photographers following shows, the Mod & Bean team was determined to look sharp ... and hand out as many business cards as possible (haha). If the fact that we're dividing NYFW into four entirely separate posts isn't evidence enough, we're quite thrilled about our whole experience. Stay tuned for our last installment: the Beans. What to expect? Lots of awkward noodling around the city. Get excited.

Xx, Katherine & Maia

Press Pass: Identities Fashion Show

 

This weekend we were invited to the Identities Fashion Show, Harvard’s preeminent fashion event pairing student catwalk models with renowned designers.  We arrived a few hours before the show started to get a behind the scenes look at its making.  

It’s always interesting to see the nitty gritty details that go behind the polished products we ultimately enjoy.  While neither of us have any real “Fashion Week” experience (hopefully one day!), we liken the backstage process of Identities to be a rather fair representation of runway shows in general: the ubiquity of those anxious minutes before the lights go down, the music turns up, and the first model steps out onto the runway.  People — models, makeup artists, coordinators  run around frantically.  A girl’s shorts are on backwards, another messed with her makeup, “Does my face blend in with my hair?” a friend asks, “Foundation is like sauce for you face” we overhear in the makeup room.

We manage to sneak into some of the quiet rooms backstage and muse through racks of clothing and runway lineups.

While we don’t have ample opportunity to speak with the designers or people behind the show, most express a mix of nervous anticipation and excitement.  One model, who wears a funky 3D piece with arms attached, recalls how at last year's show she wore a bikini with sneakers, so she's feeling a little more relaxed in this year’s less revealing ensemble.

As the final run-through transitions into VIP lounging, red carpet pictures, and general mingling, the room buzzes with enthusiasm.  People gather and dance with friends.  The photo strip and red carpet establish the night's etiquette: shameless selfies and lots of them.  We take the opportunity to immerse ourselves in the pre-show social conventions and snap some Mod & Bean team pics in front of the Identities backdrop.  

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We peruse around show-goers and show-coordinators, happen upon a table serving JP Licks ice cream, and meet some of the designers from China Central Academy of Fine Arts.  

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Spotting one of the designer's sick street style, we ask to take a picture of her outfit.  She excitedly shares with us that she hand crafted everything she's wearing.  When asked how often she designs for herself, she remarks that she makes around twenty new pieces a month.  Duly impressed and jealous, we dream of being able to curate our own wardrobes with such personal precision.

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Before we know it, the show begins, we find our seats, and the night gets under way.  Venture below to check out some of our favorite runway and behind the scenes shots:

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Sitting at the end of the runway amidst eager photographers and the event's official cinematographer, gave us a sense of importance.  Fully immersed in each dress twirl, each piercing, smoldering look of the eyes, we couldn’t have had a better night. Suffice it to say, acting as mild press for Identities gave us a taste of similar opportunities to come – crossing our fingers!

Xx, Katherine & Maia

All photos by Katherine

 

Meet Dhruv Chugh, Young Visionary

 

Dhruv is that person who’s both everywhere and nowhere at once. Always working, but never strained. Always thinking, but never distracted or inattentive. Yes, he’s the kid with the killer glasses. With a suaveness that is dually charming and indescribable. While he may appear a drifter — a dilettante in the world of art and living — he’s all substance underneath that mellow voice and Gucci sport coat.

These past few weeks have been busy for the both of us here at Mod & Bean, so when we finally sat down to write up our interview for Dhruv, we couldn’t help but compare the brilliant weather from the day of our shoot with the current chill. The setting of our shoot was midterm week. The campus was abuzz with housing day planning and the promise of impending relaxation: spring break. Now warming our hands over hot cups of tea, we laughed over the inconstancy of our beloved Cambridge weather.

Our day with Dhruv was a true, to borrow from the much-used expression, Indian Summer — an unusual period of warmth in late fall or winter. Then it hit us — how fitting for our interview with the Indian prince of Harvard himself to fall on the day of one of those elusive Indian summers. It was as though Dhruv brought the languid and comforting warmth of his home — New Delhi — with him. For a dazzling moment, the heat of that day breathed life into the humdrum routine of campus life, and everything burst with new enthusiasm. Then again, that’s also just the kind of person Dhruv is: a genuine character.

Tell us a little about where you’re from. What do you miss? What do you not?

I lived in New Delhi before coming here. I miss my parents’ positivity, younger brothers pathetic sense of humor, food (mainly shedding tears while eating spicy food), cows on the road and lately talking in my mother tongue.

I definitely don’t miss inhaling copious amounts of carbon monoxide.

Soundtrack to your life?

Happy by C2C (Thanks to Jenny [Horowitz – another incredible and utterly mod human bean]).

Aside from bumping into Dhruv en route to the Berg or around Lam Caf, you can probably find him in the Carpenter Center. An extremely talented artist, he admits, “I used to draw but wasn’t really serious about art until my gap year, and that was the time when I started to think about art as a form of expression and started to think about what art is for me.”

Tell us about your art. What inspires you? When did you start? What’s your favorite medium?

All my inspiration comes from my society and people and emotions around me. Although the definition of art is highly debatable — for me art has to be meaningful and in some way evoke a visceral reaction in the viewers.

All the art I did initially was in traditional media like painting or drawing, but recently I have been more experimental with my works.  I am very keen to do installations and am currently learning more film, audio and video, and expanding my knowledge of different media. In our times, the expanse for expression is limitless, and I ultimately want to be able to mix media, and that’s why the main focus for me right now is to learn. My favorite medium until now has to be 16mm film — using the Bolex camera and editing physical film not only takes me back to a different era, but also feels like a very special experience.

How do you balance your art with your schoolwork and social life?

I couldn’t do much art first semester, and my VES class this semester has made me realize that art is something I really want to delve deeper into – at least during the duration of my college career. I am very seriously considering pursuing a concentration in VES as that will allow me to incorporate work and art.

Who do you make your art for? You? School? Someone in particular?

I think I make it first to understand myself better and secondly to bring attention to whatever I feel is important to me and could be to others.

Tell us about your work in Nepal and the art you made during that time.

I was there as a part of an earthquake relief trip. The natural beauty really inspired me to come back and do watercolors of the natural scenery.

Would you describe your art as a passionate love affair or a tumultuous relationship?

I sadly don’t see the difference.

Not only do Dhruv’s talents manifest in his uncanny celebrity depictions, gentle watercolor paintings, and unique sculpture plans, his artistic eye aids in his sense of style as well.

Go to outfit. What’s your uniform? What is a classic look that everyone would say, “That’s so Dhruv.”

I like to think it lies somewhere between comfort and elegance. I love to wear an elegant jacket, something like a trench coat, with black joggers and comfortable but well crafted shoes – like loafers with tassels.

What’s an accessory or piece of jewelry that you’d like to be remembered by or that is iconic you?

It definitely has to be my glasses — the uniqueness of the design helps.  

What’s a current trend that you really like?

The transformation of street-wear joggers or sneakers into high fashion is something I really like and I am intrigued by.

What’s a trend that you wish would die?

I don’t want it to necessarily die, but seeing people wear caps indoors like in library and in classes really baffles me  I think it’s an American thing.

If your hair could speak, what would it say about you?

I think it’s time he lets us grow into our true selves.

What item did you wear to the ground?

My first pair of Jordans.

What’s in your pocket?

Card Holder, tickets to a show, keys and a pen that doesn’t work.

Spirit dessert?

Brownie Cheesecake.

If you were sentenced to the death penalty, what would you be convicted for and what would be your last meal?

Procrastinating sending an email to the law enforcements stating that it wasn’t me.

Sushi Burrito, for sure!

Describe yourself as a human bean

I am just someone who loves people, learning, and risk.

Xx, Katherine & Maia

Photos by Katherine

 

Introducing: Isabelle Jaffe, Ballerina Bean

 

On a blustery Friday afternoon, we grab coffee with the fresh-faced and bubbly Isabelle Jaffe, Harvard freshman, accomplished ballerina, and all around sweet human bean.  The setting is the Fogg Museum of Art’s bustling cafe. We muse over pastries and sandwiches in the display case as we attempt to find a seat in the crowded establishment.  Jaffe, a good sport, follows suit with a smile.

    “I always used to watch the movie I Want to Be a Ballerina When I grow Up,” she giggles at the interview’s start.  It seems that some things are meant to be.  At the age of 3, Jaffe took up dancing and hasn’t stopped since.  In fact, as a senior in high school, she left her home in California to live in New York City, enrolling in classes at the Professional Children’s School while pursuing her love of dance through the Ballet Academy East’s pre-professional division.  Taking off to an unfamiliar city and balancing a rigorous academic life with a pre-professional dance one isn’t a sacrifice most eighteen year olds have to make, but, as Isabelle openly admits, it was something she happily accepted.  Living with her grandmother in the city and dancing 3-4 hours a day for 6 days a week was really fun for her — as immersing herself in her art ought to be.  Though she considered taking a year off before college to further pursue dance, she now takes classes 5 days a week at Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre, all while enrolled as a full time Harvard student.

           Dance provides her with an escape from her demanding academic routine.  What does she enjoy most about dance?  Working towards mastering challenging choreography and impressing herself.  “I’m my own toughest critic.”  When asked if her relationship with ballet is a passionate love affair or a tumultuous relationship, she laughs and admits, “Passionate. Definitely. But it has some ups and downs because when you get to a certain level, and you’re trying to decide whether to audition for jobs, the different obstacles or frustrations that come in can kind of get you down.”

 A ballerina at heart, mind, and body, dance influences almost all aspects of Isabelle’s life, especially her style:

Go to outfit. What’s your uniform?

“Definitely anything black or close to black. What am I wearing right now? Hmm really dark pants, a black sweater, and white Stan Smiths.”  

Usual hairstyle?

“A bun for ballet. After ballet it’s usually in a ponytail, but I try to keep it down when I think it looks good.” (She jokingly describes her hair as “pedestrian straight” although her luscious, black mane promises differently.)

If your hair could speak, what would it say?

“Haha, probably, ‘stop putting me in a bun everyday.’”