You will find Anna’s most curated style expression by looking at her accessories because most of them are from people and/or places she loves. Her goal is not to be a fashion icon, but to express herself thoughtfully and with pieces that have meaning. Her clothes don’t scream: “Notice me!” but her jewelry, quietly understated, always has a great back story.
Her favorite things are necklaces. She has about 30 in rotation and usually spends the most time picking out what jewelry to style with her outfits. She thinks about what may unfold that day and who or what she wants to have close to her. A couple of years ago, when there were layoffs happening, she knew it was going to be a rough day so she chose to wear an elephant pendant because her sister gave it to her, and she thought it might give her strength on a really shitty day.
Anna currently works as a copywriter at Target and you see her work in the world every day. She went to the University of Kansas Journalism School (Rock Chalk Jayhawks!).
In addition to her full time job, she volunteers at a women’s shelter in Plymouth, MN. During her 4 hours every other week, she answers phones and provides administrative support for the women’s advocates. “Why a women’s shelter?” I asked. Anna said that a few years ago, there were 4 women killed by their domestic partners in a span of 6 months. It really disturbed her, and made her want to find a way to help.
The shelter she volunteers at provides emergency housing to women escaping domestic violence, as well as counseling, legal assistance and other resources to help them move forward with their lives.
I got to know Anna a little better through this project. We peeled back the layers, little by little with a few fun questions developed by Arthur Aron. And just like her treasured necklaces, she’s got a great story to tell.
Given the choice of anyone is the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
My Grandfather on my mom’s side. I never met him because he died 4 years before I was born. My mom tells me the stories about how he raised her and he just sounds like an amazing man. My mom had polio as a baby. It attacked her left leg, stopping its growth, which meant spending a lot of time in the hospital as a child. Her dad wanted her to live a normal life. He was determined there wasn’t anything she couldn’t do and made sure she never missed out on activities, like ice skating, by creating homemade braces for a pair of skates.
I’ve also heard that he was quite the jokester and loved all animals, which makes me think he and I would have a lot in common.
Would you like to be famous?
Not beyond a certain point. It would be nice to be known for something benefitting the community, but I’m not interested in celebrity.
Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say?
All the time, or I just put off making calls for weeks. I don’t know what it is. It’s usually complaining to Comcast or a long conversation with a friend that I haven’t seen for a while, so there’s a lot to catch up on, and it’s hard to dedicate that much time.
What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?
Spending time on a lake in Minnesota in the summer with all my favorite people. Ending the day with a BBQ and yard game. And beer. Definitely beer.
When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?
I had to sing some lyrics I’d written for a company presentation last Friday.
If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?
Do you have a secret hunch about how you’ll die?
I have a ridiculous fear of death, so I don’t think about it.
For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
My family. My parents have been married for 46 years and I feel fortunate to have grown up in a 2-parent household. My older sister is my best friend and my family travels together. In fact, my first international trip was to France when I was 9 years old. This sparked a life of exploration together with my family.
If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?
My dad traveled to Asia for his job and the opportunity to move to China for a year came up. I was in 1st grade, so this was the worst possible idea in my 1st grade mind. Knowing what I know now, I wish my sister and I weren’t so against it. I wish we would have gone for it.
If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?
A real, legit ability or a super power? If I could have a super power, it would be to fly because that seems super cool. Becoming an artist is a more realistic ability that I’d want.
What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?
The first thing that comes to mind is officiating my sister’s wedding. It’s the coolest thing I’ve ever done.
What do you value most in a friendship?
Just being there for each other.
What is your most treasured memory?
Climbing to the top of Lone Mountain in Montana. It took a few years and other family members made it when I didn’t. But I finally got to the top when I was 15 years old.
Share an embarrassing moment in your life
I was studying abroad in Italy and we went to an outdoor market near our school. I was really excited to try bargaining and practice my Italian. My friend, Skylar, and I found a watch we wanted to buy and thought the price was $15, so we negotiated to $10. The vendor didn’t argue at all, which was weird, but we left that booth feeling really badass about our awesome bartering skills. When we visited another booth and found the same watch, we realized that the price was actually $5, not $15. So we basically negotiated to pay the vendor more than the listed price. Oh, and the watches stopped working before we even got back to the States.
Diamonds or pearls
Neither because I like funkier stones.