“My jacket makes me feel like a badass.”

ABOUT       

“I grew up in the Chicago suburbs and spent most of last year living and studying in Florence, Italy. I surely have a small-town personality. I am very much a homebody, but I also love having access to a big city. It’s the best of both worlds.”

POWER

“As an artist, I have always been interested in empowering myself through my work. My thesis artwork is about apologies. Historically women have been taught by society to always take the blame when things go wrong. We say sorry to ease the tension and my thesis is about taking that back. Noticing how women are taught to apologize to take up space and not always apologizing for unnecessary things is hard to do. My art is taking up the space that we are taught not to.

To me being powerful means feeling independent, being able to do things for myself, and not having to rely on people all the time. I love showing my power thought being independent, in my artwork, and through physical activity. I learned a lot about being powerful from my parents. My mom is a school principal and she oversee other women. She is in a position of power as a woman. The idea of a woman being just as strong if not stronger than a man has been embedded in me since I was a child.

I ran a marathon in Chicago a few months ago. I love to start my day running because it clears my mind for the day and makes me feel physically strong. Knowing what my body can do sets the tone for the rest of the day. I get up at 5:30am and it depends on the day what time I get back. Then I just shower and get ready for the day. Running always impresses me: how powerful our bodies are and what we are capable of accomplishing.”

LEATHER JACKET

“My jacket makes me feel like a badass. I was wearing this jacket on the plane when I was flying to Chicago to run the marathon. On the plane, the woman next to me asked me if I own a motorcycle. We were just chatting, but that made me laugh. I’m the last person to own a motorcycle. She said my leather jacket and ripped jeans gave off that vibe. I was complimented. I always feel powerful in this jacket.

This jacket goes with everything and it’s warm. I love that it has a totally different vibe zipped or unzipped. I bought it in Italy, so it has a lot of sentimental value. I like to wear it everywhere – to class, going out. But, I don’t always wear it because I would be so sad if I lost it. I want to keep it forever and maybe pass it down to my daughter.

The store was a small leather shop in Florence. The man who owned the shop was so nice. He genuinely cared so much about me finding the perfect leather jacket. He wanted me to find the perfect fit and color. He kept showing me different ways Italian women wear them. I was at the store with my mom, and she started trying on jackets too. He was so insistent that we tried multiple sizes to find the best one. I remember my mom saying that she didn’t feel thin enough to wear some of them. The idea of body image came up with him, and he talked about his wife and daughters and how he wants them to always feel confident in what they wear. He completely shut my mom down when she mentioned feeling overweight. He was so genuine. It was a kind of shopping experience that I have never seen in the U.S. I would love for sales associates in the U.S. to be this authentic.

The idea of always being ready for the day and organized probably came from going to a Montessori school. Montessori teaches kids to be self-driven, organized, and have a routine. I now hate when a day just goes by and I am not productive. Getting up at 5:30 a.m., running, and then throwing on my leather jacket to go to work or class makes me ready to be powerful and feel powerful throughout my day.”