Pop!: Meet Dante
Thursday, June 20, 2013, 3:48 p.m.Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library - Central Library
Pop!: Meet Dante
Pop! Street Fashion is an experimental collection of patron street fashion at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library. It is devoted to photographically documenting the sartorial narratives of patrons who visit the library. Please email My Nguyen for more information.
Dante, 21, walked into the library one afternoon and proceeded to stun me with his fierce, confident sense of style. While striking poses with a self-assuredness that would intimidate even Naomi Campbell out of her wits, Dante answered my questions on fashion, life aspirations, and the best way to walk the runway.
Hi ya! What do you do?
[I work in] fashion at the Georgia Ave/Petworth Collaborative.
How’d you get started with that?
Who are your fashion inspirations?
I get my hair colors from Nicki Minaj, and my style from Rihanna. Just being different.
Describe your style.
Unique. Something someone would want to look at.
How do you have the confidence to be unique?
Just waking every morning, looking in the mirror, and saying, "This is what I want to do, and I’m going to do it, and I don’t care what anybody says."
You told me your mother got you into the Georgia Avenue/Petworth Collaborative, and also fashion. In what way?
My mother just saw me, when I would go out shopping with her and pick out clothes, she would say, “Why don’t you go be a fashion designer, walk on the runway or something. Be Tyra Banks!” So, eventually, she was the one looking for some type of modeling thing for me, and she found something.
And what exactly is the Georgia Avenue/Petworth Collaborative?
It’s where youth and older people can go to figure out what they want to do and just be yourself. You can be whoever you want to be, and just be expressive.
And what’s your position there?
I’m a walker. I teach younger kids how to walk, twist, turn, how to pose. I help them with whatever they need. Sometimes they come there for homework help. But after they finish their homework, they have modeling they can do.
Cool. And how do you walk? What are your tips for someone who’s trying to walk the runway and look fierce?
Act like you’re looking at someone, but you’re not. You look straight, be serious, but not really serious. Have fun with it. But never look at someone in the eye. Just look above their head.
What do you like about MLK Library?
The staff members are very warm and helpful, very pleasant. I love the books.
What book are you currently reading?
Right now, I’m currently reading Harry Potter for the tenth time.
What is your favorite book?
I used to come here when I was a kid. There was a book I used to read, Captain Underpants. That was the first book I ever read. Since then, I’ve always wanted to come here. I got older, but, you know, I get older books.
What inspires you about life?
Just seeing people go through things and do things that certain people are scared to do. And I just think that life is the dare that you need to put in your life.
What’s your motto in life?
You only live once. YOLO.
Nicki Minaj. I like the different characters she has, and the way her feelings and songs. She’s a girl with metaphors. I love figuring out what metaphor she’s trying to use, what she’s trying to say. You have to figure her out. That’s what I want people to think about me. You gotta figure me out.
What’s important to you?
Life. Living your life to its fullest. Make sure you do something that everyone is going to recognize you for.
What are your hobbies?
My hobbies? To be honest, I like playing soccer. I’ve played for a long, long time. My favorite position is goalie.
When you wake up in the morning and you get dressed, how do you piece your outfits together?
I try to be colorful. I take upon what I want to be. Do I want to be a girl today? Do I want to be a female skater? Things I want to do, I just do when I wake up, like, hey, I want to be this character today.
So it’s a means of expressing yourself?
Yes. It’s expressing, and also being different characters.
Describe yourself in five words or less.
Unique. Awesome. Excellent. Terrific.
Do you have anything else to add?
For everyone out there who wants to do something, stay in school, you can be anything. Just keep your mind to it.
Hat: Downtown Locker Room
Sunnies: Souvenir shop
Hair color: “It’s actually 3 different colors. Red, pink and sunshine orange.”
Jeans: Forever 21
Socks: The Dollar Store
Turtle ring: Hallmark (Me: “The card store? Really?” Dante: “Yep!”)
--Story and photography by My Nguyen