Hannah & The Power of her Tote Bag



“I am originally from Chicago. I lived in DC for a few years, and I am now working on starting my career in publishing. I will be moving to New York City in a few weeks. I love reading and writing, so I want to put that together. I love living in cities, and I would never not live in a c

“I think the willingness to fail is tied up with power for me.”


“I was born and raised in Pasadena, California and a part of my heart is definitely still on the West Coast. I currently live in Chicago; I came here for college and founded a theater company, First Floor Theater, just after graduation, so my roots here are pretty deep now as well. I’ve been in Chicago for almost a decade and, in addition to running First Floor, I work in the city as an actor and a teaching artist.

I had a brief stint in New York. I thought I was going to go into politics. I was studying speech writing at NYU but I deeply missed the opportunity to integrate the arts into my field of study and I ended up transferring to the University of Chicago. There, I majored in Theater and Performance Studies and English, and it was at UofC that started to see what a professional life in the theater would look like. Right out of school, I was focused on laying the foundation for the business-side of First Floor ( we’re now in our sixth season!) and I did my professional acting training at The ACADEMY at Black Box Acting. The team at Black Box are some of the most inspiring people I have ever met, artistically and personally. I completed my teacher training last year, and now I am grateful to be teaching there myself.

Being a working artist is living a dream I don’t take for granted, but there’s definitely a less glamorous side to the freelance schedule. There are stretches of time when I can sleep in on the weekdays, and then there are days on end when I work 14 straight hours, and then there are days I have nothing to do when I wish I did. The lack of predictability can be challenging but, honestly, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.


I think for me, being powerful ties back into how I was raised. I was told no, as a child, as little as possible, which is really a credit to my parents. Unless I was in urgent physical danger, I was basically allowed to try almost anything, go down any path, and make my own mistakes. I was never told I couldn’t do something because I was a girl. I was never discouraged from trying. As an adult, that has translated to a lack of fear of the world around me and that has given me a freedom and a confidence to fail. That willingness to try and fail is tied up with power for me. Power is not always being the model of perfect action or behavior, but rather taking the risk to be wrong, saying you’re wrong, and having the confidence of self to own that failure and still try again. I do also recognize that being able to confront the world unafraid is a privilege. It’s not a privilege I feel every day, especially in 2018, but when I am in that position of power, I feel the responsibility of that power is to fight to make our communities – on a micro and macro level – safer for all.


I wear a very similar outfit every day. I think of having a uniform as somewhere in between full on minimalism and accumulating for the sake of what’s on trend. I definitely haven’t thrown out all my clothes or anything drastic, but I have 5 to 6 categories of things that I know I look good in, confident in, attractive in, and present my best self in.

I have so many pairs of jeans. I wear jeans every day. I don’t have any pair that is completely redundant. I have black jeans, ripped jeans, button-fly jeans, boyfriend, light wash, dark wash, vintage. They all do something slightly different, but they are all jeans and I’m wearing them 95% of the time. Black, hunter green, grey, and off-white are the four colors I have in my closet. But most of my shifts are black. I leave blouses hanging in my closet all year round and I swap out t-shirts and sweaters depending on the season. I can pull anything out of the jeans drawer and pull a top off the closet with my eyes closed and they will go together, I will feel good in them, and comfortable. I wear almost the same jewelry and makeup every day. As an actor, having a uniform and being able to so cleanly say I am dressing like myself today is a fun literal division from when I’m working and I’m in wardrobe or in costume. Knowing this is what I wear everyday, having “rules”, makes it more fun when I break my own rules. I’m not saying I’m never going to show up in, say, a bright floral jumpsuit. And then when I do, it’s a statement. It’s a deliberate choice and it feels really exciting, maybe even a little more dangerous. At the end of the day, it’s a way of articulating my external appearance in a manner that’s just for me.”

www.firstfloortheater.com insta: @firstfloortheater

www.blackboxacting.com insta@blackboxacting


ity. I like cities because I get bored easily, and I love that I can find a new thing every day. I enjoy the unique mix of people, food, and opportunities. I have found that people in cities are driven and engaged with the people and community around them. It fosters an unusual sense of self and self-confidence. I love that I can get places easily on my own.

In my free time I also enjoy helping people share their stories. I spent four years working in a writing center. I think a lot of people have cool stories and don’t always have a way to tell them. I have worked with a lot of people that do not speak English as their first language, so they often have trouble explaining their stories. I think everyone should be able to express their stories through writing.


I think being powerful means being independent. Being able to do things on your own, but being able to ask for help when you need it. Also being able to be around people that allow you to be powerful and knowing when a relationship is strong or toxic. I believe it is important to surround yourself with people that allow your power to shine. Last, education leads to being powerful. The ability to continuously learn is powerful. Not everyone has the opportunity to be educated, so taking advantage of your education is powerful.


I bought this bag a few years ago when I was starting my first adult job, an internship at a PR firm in DC. The only big bag I had at the time was a backpack, and I realized I couldn’t bring that to work. So I bought this to be my work bag. I have now had it through several jobs and internships. It represents my transition from being a student to being more professional. I have lived with my best friends for the past few years and a lot of them have used this bag for similar experiences. It is often hard for friends to share clothing or shoes because everyone is different sizes, but everyone can use this bag. It is very functional. I now have it in multiple sizes and colors! This is a great black bag that can elevate and share in the power of being a young professional.”




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