Designer and president, Heroes Will Rise, Inc.
Preferred Pronouns: She / Her
Describe a moment when being both an artist/designer and a part of this community has helped you through a difficult time / helped you find a way forward.
LGBTQI folks are naturally great designers because many of us, in an effort to make a world that fits who we are and feels right, have designed our own identities and ways of existing. As a young queer kid I didn’t see any models (in the media or my small town) that were even remotely appealing to me. I think it was because I had a designer’s mindset that I began to invent my own version of how to live and work, and most importantly build my own non-traditional family to explore that with.
As a toy designer, what is the biggest difference between designing for children versus for adults?
I think adulthood is a performance, and one that I don’t find very compelling, so I prefer to design for children! As we become adults we train ourselves out of many natural instincts – play being the most obvious. We are born knowing how to play, express ourselves, be open to the world and curious… and somewhere in the process of “growing up” we stop valuing those traits and activities. I’m biased, of course, but I think queers are really good at playing because we inherently challenge many rules and norms.
Easy is Boring. For better or worse, it guides me. My toys are about “figuring out” and imagining what doesn’t exist. I had the same path with my identity. When I came out to my mom, she was upset because she wanted my [adult] life to be easier than my childhood had been. I understand that logic, but most LGBTQI folks likely relate – when it comes to identity, easy isn’t an option.
What advice do you have for young people in the LGBTQ community who want to pursue a creative path?
Realize and believe that your perspective as an outsider or outlier or “weirdo” is an asset. Bring who you are to what you do. Be confident in the value of the creative work you’ve done just to be who you are, and make it part of your work.