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Cassandra da Costa
1. When do you feel at your most attractive?
in all black, platform boots, androgy-chic, make-up free, blemish free, legs out but comfy shorts that don’t ride up my bum. i’m riding my bicycle listening to twigs or drake, i’m enjoying my solitude.
2. Do you notice women on the street? If so, what sort of women do you tend to notice or admire?
yes. ones with simple elegant clothing or with dynamic sportswear. women with make-up free faces who look confident. women with great eyebrows. women who look a bit like a mess but also happy and in a good outfit.
3. What are some things you admire about how other women present themselves?
i love when women don’t care about their nipples showing through their shirt. that’s a goal. i love women who wear boring t shirts that are a bit baggy and don’t have shape, but then wear great shorts or pants with sparkles or sleek lines. i love women with deep voices and resting bitch face. i love women with dark skin who refuse to wear bright colors.
4. Was there a moment in your life when something “clicked” for you about fashion or dressing or make-up or hair? What? Why did it happen then, do you think?
yes. when i started doing whatever the fuck i wanted to do. specifically, when i stopped chemically straightening my hair and started experimenting with fro-styles and braiding styles. when i stopped fearing look like too much or too little and dressed as up or down as i felt. when i embraced simplicity and monochromatic style. when i stopped wearing makeup.
5. What are some shopping rules you wouldn’t necessarily recommend to others but which you follow?
i always by black jeans if they look good, even if i don’t necessarily need them. always buy a boot over any other type of shoe. never buy anything full price unless it’s top quality and timeless/season crossover hit: leather jacket, black booties, denim jacket with faux-fur lining, jeans.
6. What are some rules about dressing you follow, but you wouldn't necessarily recommend to others?
I never wear bright colors just because i feel like I should or it’s summer. I don’t pay attention to seasons unless the weather is too extreme. i wear coats and sweaters with textures you can feel and stroke, etc. always wear glasses, never contacts. no make up unless i’m really discolored in some places. only two pieces of jewelry at once (usually earrings and one ring). though with earrings you can add more if they’re all the same earring, especially small silver hoops. sometimes big and small silver hoops are ok to mix. crop tops are always a go.
7. What is the most transformative conversation you have ever had on the subject of fashion or style?
when my sister and i decided we would stop feeling bad about wearing black and being simple but also fairly materialistic without wanting to embody what we’re told we should by media etc.
8. Do you have a unified way of approaching your life, work, relationships, finances, chores, etc.? Please explain.
generally trying to "manage complexity" (a term you’ll find in a lot of basic programming textbooks) by seeking simplicity without excluding nuance. you pick a road and have strong detailed reasons for doing so, and don’t be afraid to change your mind, but again, have strong detailed reasons for doing so. i try to not shy away from harshness but i do try to nurture kindness as well for myself and for others.
9. Are there any clothing (or related) items that you have in multiple? Why do you think you keep buying this thing?
black jeans, black t shirts. it’s hard to find a pair of jeans that fit properly when you’re a black woman with hips and a bum. so i keep buying this one pair of uniqlo jeans because they are perfect. black shirts bc shirts stretch and tear over time and also because i wear them almost every day.
10. Have you ever successfully given someone a present of jewelry or clothing that you continue to feel good about?
i don’t like to give people things that would determine how they dress. but i did give one of my sisters a blue dress from free people that i knew she would never buy for herself and she loves it.
11. Is there any fashion trend you’ve refused to participate in and why?
peacoats, because they affect a weird kind of snobbery that’s outdated. uggs, because they’re stupidly expensive and look terrible. booty shorts because they always turn into a thong and that’s uncomfortable. shaving the side of your head because why? why are you shaving one side of your head? unless you want this for the rest of your youth, don’t do it. oh, and wearing camisoles as shirts. get a real tank top.
12. Can you say a bit about how your mother’s body and style has been passed down to you, or not?
it hasn’t. maybe i have her hips? she and i generally like each other’s style but don’t subscribe to it.
13. Have you stolen, borrowed or adapted any dressing ideas or actual items from friends or family?
my eldest sister and i exchange a lot but are becoming more different over time. there are a few friends who have been inspirations but mostly i find what i like from what certain men wear or from what phoebe philo is doing.
14. Was there a point in your life when your style changed dramatically? What happened?
in the middle of college. (aka a year ago) i don’t know, i stopped giving a shit about what a look like to other people, and started caring more about what i looked like to myself.
15. Is there anything political about the way you dress?
yes, i don’t relax my hair, which is political. i wear dark colors, i wear clothes that may be seen as intimidating (for certain men), and that’s political for me. i guess the act of dressing the way i do, with no regard to anyone but myself, is political.
16. Please describe your body.
i’m close to being tall but am not quite tall in the strict sense. i somewhat wide hips and a round firm bum. small shoulders, medium sized breasts, medium waist, rather thick thighs but not that thick in comparison to some other black women. i’m curvy in comparison to white girls, but not especially so in comparison to black. i have a face that it once round and oval shaped. full lips, prominent nose, big eyes, messy brows.
17. Please describe your mind.
i’m an abstract and logical thinker depending on what i’m presented with. i’m emotional but adept at managing emotions for specific situations. i’m creative and constantly inventing stories and scenarios for no reason at all. my mind looks for things in people that i’m also looking for in myself. my mind is jumpy but self-aware. my mind remembers loves that i haven’t yet experienced.
18. Please describe your emotions.
my mind is my emotions and my emotions are my mind.
19. What are you wearing on your body and face, and how is your hair done, right at this moment?
i’m wearing black shorts (not denim), a black shirt with holes in the armpits, a fuzzy black crop sweater with long sleeves, grey knit socks, black high heeled lace-up boots with a platform (but the heel is separated), a gold ring on the middle finger of my left hand, silver sm/med hoop earings with a little ball in the middle, brown tortoiseshell square frames. i have very large marley twists in my hair tied up into a high pony tail. i’m wearing no makeup. i’m wearing a bra and underwear. the bra is dark brown and the underwear are a greyish brown and transparent.
20. In what way is this stuff important, if at all?
it’s important in that it makes me feel nice and comfortable and i bought it with my own money.
What’s your birth date? Where were you born and where do you live now?
I was born in Cardiff, Wales in 1993 on Halloween. I live in New Haven, Connecticut, where I am finishing my last year of college.
Say anything you like about your cultural/ethnic/economic background.
My dad is British born and raised, but Gambian and Ghanian. My mother is Zambian born and raised. I’ve lived in Cardiff, London, Las Vegas, North Carolina, Virginia, and the Philadelphia suburbs. My parents are moving to Rockville, Maryland next year. My family is upper-middle class. I have two older sisters, one lives in Rwanda and the other lives in London. I identify as a black Anglo-American.
What kind of work do you do?
I’m a student of comparative literature, including French, German, and Film. I plan to go to film school to be a filmmaker, but I also love to write.
Are you single, married, do you have kids, etc.?
I’m single and not looking.
Please say anything you like about yourself that might put this survey into some sort of context.
I’m a selectively extroverted introvert who does sketch comedy with an all-female group called the Sphincter Troupe. I’ve been in love and have had enough of the rest.
How do you feel after filling out this survey?
Very nice. Calm. And ready to do my homework.
Cassandra is 20 years old, has feelings, thoughts, ideas, and is trying to get rid of things she doesn’t need.