On March 26, 2016, we were set up at one of our favorite fleas, Bushwick Flea. I just had, a few days earlier, a seriously great buying trip a few hours north with a model from the 80's. She had a ton of super small clothing items to sell me - and as much as I was worried that no one would fit in these items, I had to have them. I took a bunch of stuff, much of it was designer items from France, but she also sold me two little blue dresses her momma made her in the 70's when this model was in middle school and high school. So, back to the flea. I displayed some of the items I bought, including the two blue dresses.
About mid-day, we see this ridiculously cute couple looking at knick knacks across the flea. There was this lovely person wearing a cute little scarf and the other wearing bells and shaggy jacket. I needed them to come to my booth! Luckily, they eventually made it to us. They looked around and the gorgeous blonde shaggy-jacket woman was interested in one of the blue dresses. They ended up leaving, and I made a little frown face to Michael (a common move I do when people leave without purchasing 😂).
It wasn't until a few hours later when this super cute couple of people came back! I was so excited! She said that she was thinking about the dress since she left and had to have it. So we made a human dressing room and let her try it on (I loved her immediately when she was not worried at all about dressing in public). I am usually super good about sizing, but I didn't think it would fit her because it was such a small dress! Also her jacket was large so it was hard to see her small figure. Anyway, it fit her. She bought the dress and looked fabulous in it.
So we exchanged names, and that's how we met Mia and Raymond. I remember going home that night and still thinking about Mia. I brought it up to Michael that I should reach out to her and ask if she would model for me. I was a little shy to ask, so I ended up putting it off. But then I did another buy and had some amazing items that I needed to get up on the site. I thought of her again, and decided to message her on instagram. I wasn't sure if it would come off as creepy, but she agreed! We had such a fun few hours together, and I was so lucky that Raymond came and helped direct the photoshoot (he does that for a living! Keep reading below to find out more). It was awesome. In our Q&A series, meet our beautiful muse, Mia Longenecker.
Q&A with Mia Longenecker
What made you want to get into acting and theater?
I was a little kid that loved to play dress up. I would wear costumes everywhere—around the house, at the grocery store, to school…I had wonderful parents. On top of the unconventional fashion aspect of it all, I would correct anyone who called me by my name and instead insist on being addressed in character as whoever I was dressed as. When I found out this was a (semi) viable adult career choice, I never looked back.
What obstacles have you had to conquer being a female in your field?
Being a woman in any performance occupation is incredibly challenging. There is an expectation that you will be pleasant and well kempt and cooperative pretty much to a fault, and most great performers are none of those things. It’s important as an actor to be able to be ugly and combative and falling apart sometimes, and as anyone but a straight cis white man in art, you really have to carve out space for yourself to be all of who you are. It’s not going to be made readily available to you. Even in New York, even in 2016.
What is it that you most wanted to do as a kid, and what is it that you most want to do now?
Well, I briefly wanted to be an astronaut, then an archaeologist (the animated dinosaur movie Land Before Time was everything to me), then around 3 or 4 I fell in love with musical theatre. I pursued that through all of my time at NYU and for a couple years after I graduated. I learned so incredibly much across so many disciplines while studying MT, but I was never particularly happy auditioning on that circuit and eventually I decided to take a break and focus on my own projects and figure out what really lights me up artistically. Now I have a theatre company with my amazing partner Raymond Arnold called Sacred Circle Theatre Company. We’re working to foster a diverse community of artists who encourage and support one another in creating art that changes perspectives. We use a movement-based approach to subvert theatrical tradition with physical and spiritual body in an artistic safe space. So….if you’re at all curious about what that means, check us out on Facebook (Sacred Circle Theatre Company) and Instagram (@sacredcircletheatre) for more info about upcoming performances and events/just generally flawless content full of our beautiful genius collaborators.
What are three of your favorite places to eat or drink in Brooklyn or Manhattan?
Ok I’m a Brooklyn girl, so: Amaranto in Bushwick is straight up the best. Really smartly modernized traditional Mexican food with hearty vegetarian options, exceptional cocktails, and the whole place is run by an adorable husband/wife team. Two Saints bar in Crown Heights is another one of my favorites. Super delicious drinks and they always play good music. Molasses Books & Bar in Bushwick is my go-to neighborhood spot. They have a constantly updated selection of used books and zines, and few little tables & a bar where you can sit and read while you have a beer, wine, or coffee on the cheap. You can also sell your old books there. I perpetually have way too many books so this is significant to me.
Where are your must-stops when it comes to shopping or art in Brooklyn or Manhattan?
L-train vintage is the greatest vintage store of all time. Somehow as huge and well-stocked as a Goodwill but as well-curated as the smaller, boutique spots that upcharge because the rent is too damn high. The price is right and the selection is crazy good. Pete’s Candy Store in Williamsburg is my go-to for good music I’ve never heard before on any night of the week. They have a miniature old-school stage in the back room where they book local acts and visiting musicians alike across a huge variety of genres, and there’s a cute little garden area out back for getting some air in-between sets.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would that be and why?
New York City! I am so so in love with this city and the opportunities it provides for artists to connect with one another and thrive in unique communities. I couldn’t wish for a better incubator for creative projects, or a more wonderful place to live and explore. If I had to pick another city, I would say Paris hands down. I speak fluent French and love the art and culture. I lived there over the summer during college and had the most amazing experiences. 10/10 would recommend.
What is one thing you can’t leave home without?
Music. I constantly have my headphones in (Except when I walk alone at night! Safety first!) and I have always loved the idea of having a constant running soundtrack to my life. I have playlists for everything from getting into character, to getting excited about waking up in the morning, to riding the subway, to having a good cry (essential). It sets the tone for whatever’s going on and keeps me in touch with my feelings.
What is one thing that you want the world to know about Mia Longenecker?
She loves you.
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