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Heidi Howard

2. Do you notice women on the street? If so, what sort of women do you tend to notice or admire?

I admire women who wear combinations of things that are stunning. Almost always these women's clothes allow me to imagine who they are. There are many interesting styles in New York. Especially in Queens where I grew up, which was for a long time, I'm not sure if it still is, the most diverse place in world. It still great place to see fashions from all over. Luckily in New York you can wear anything without being too noticed and I love this. I lived in Portland OR for a while and I found the fashion to be pretty depressing. Except that some of the ladies at Reed College have amazing party style.

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?

When I went to Reed College I realized that being sexy and popular wasn't about dressing to fit in some style it was about being yourself and being happy, at least within that small community. I think that happened because most of the students there do not care about buying things and do not feed into a lot of the aspects of consumer culture.

9. Are there any clothing (or related) items that you have in multiple? Why do you think you keep buying this thing?

Leggings, they are what I wearing for most of the winter. I have one pair of velvet leggings from when I was a child that I would wear all the time if I could find out where to purchase them and they were affordable.

16. Please describe your body.

I'm a full figured young woman.

19. What are you wearing on your body and face, and how is your hair done, right at this moment?

I am wearing top siders with paint on them. Navy socks from UniqLo. Short white and grey striped shorts from my friend Betina. One of my ex-boyfriend's denim button-down shirts with the sleeves cut off. It has white paint on it. Turquoise earrings from an Indian reservation what my boyfriend got me in New Mexico. A gold chain my grandmother gave me for my 13th birthday, with a ceramic piece of my friend Laura Miller's thesis.

28. Would you say you “know what you like” in the area of fashion and clothing? If so, do you also know what you like in other areas of life, that is, are you generally good at discernment? Can you say where your discernment comes from, if you have it? Or if you don’t have it, why or why not?

I feel like I generally know what I like, but I listen to other people's opinions about music. Especially my father's since he is a musician and a genius.

29. Did your parents teach you things about clothing, care for your clothing, dressing or style? What lessons do you remember? Or did you just pick things up?

My dad is blind so he has very minimal opinions on clothes. He likes material that feel good and things that are well made. My mom is a feminist artist and I consider her pretty anti-fashion. I feel they influenced me by letting me look elsewhere and everywhere for style advice.

30. What sorts of things do you do, clothing or make-up or hair- wise, to feel sexy or alluring?

I don't even wash my face and I rarely brush my hair. I don't really think these things have anything to do with being sexy.

36. When you look at yourself before going out, and you are trying to see yourself from the outside, can you describe a bit about what this “other person” is like? What do they like, dislike, what sorts of judgments do they have? Is this “outer eye” based on someone you know or once knew?

What I think about is.... Is this appropriate? a.k.a. is the right amount of my body showing. Are the colors right for the place. Will I be comfortable or constantly adjusting?

37. What is your process getting dressed in the morning? What are you considering?

I like to get dressed in under 5 minutes. I work with color, weather and what is comfortable. I hate going home to change so I try to come up with something that will work for all the days activities.

61. What are some things you need to do to your body or clothes in order to feel presentable?

I wouldn't want to look like everyone else around me.

62. How does makeup fit into all this for you?

I rarely wear makeup sometimes on Halloween, or when I am very bored.

68. Is there an item of clothing that you once owned, but no longer own, and still think about or wish you had back? What was it, what happened to it, and why do you want it back?

No. I feel like a biggest part of my style is making due with what you have.

75. Were you ever given a present of clothing or jewelry that especially touched you?

My cousin Samantha Howard runs a jewelry/clothing company and she made me a ring from the end of a piece of our grandmother's silverware that I always wear. I have a lot of jewelry that was given to me that I really cherish.

77. How and when do you shop for clothes?

Hardy ever. I usually make due with my friends left-overs. I shopped way too much for a long time and I'm over it. Sometimes I will get myself something if it's under $20. I like to have relatives take me to buy shoes. Waterproof snow boots are a must-have for me.

82. Did anyone ever say anything to you that made you see yourself differently, on a physical and especially sartorial level?

One girl in high school said I looked like I came out of one of the pages of a fashion magazine and said "How do you have the confidence to actually wear clothes like that?" I found this comment really confusing at the time because I thought everyone figured out how to dress by looking at magazines.

83. Do you remember the first time you were conscious of what you were wearing? Can you describe this moment and what it was about?

I hear I was conscious about clothes from a very young age. My mom's friend Mary Lucier always tells this story about how she knew I was going to be an artist because when I was two years old we decided to go out to this fancy Italian restaurant called Manducati's and I said "I can't go there in stripes." (My parents had to take me home to change. I remember really becoming obsessed with clothes and my body in 8th grade. I remember sort of gaining this understanding about being popular being paired with looking and dressing a certain way and really making a conscious choice to be part of something through the way I dress.

What’s your birth date? 
Where were you born and where do you live now?

12/14/1986, born at Lenox Hill Hospital but raised and currently living in Queens

What kind of work do you do?

Are you single, married, do you have kids, etc.?

in a relationship

Please say anything you like about yourself that might put this survey into some sort of context.

I make portraits, mostly of women, that are supposed to expand on the way that people read people. I am very interested in this book for that reason. Also I'm a huge Zadie Smith fan, and my amazing friend writer Nicolle Elizabeth posted about this on Facebook so I thought I had to participate.

How do you feel after filling out this survey?


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