Bridge 2.1 – Observations

Alana & Amal

Day 1: Interview


  1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?

Graham Norton, talk show host.

  1. Would you like to be famous? In what way?

Maybe like a famous singer, that’d be fun. I think there’s good and bad with everything, being not famous is okay.

  1. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?

Yes. I can’t remember how to speak when I’m on the phone, and I can’t hear very well either.

  1. What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?

Nice weather, waking up kind of early and walking around. Maybe meeting some friends for food somewhere? Nothing too special, just walking around.

  1. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?

I’m always singing to myself.

  1. 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?

Probably the body, so I can go and do things.

  1. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?

I feel like my husband is gonna die, and then I’m just going to be alive for a good 15 years after and then die from loneliness. I feel like most women live longer than their husbands. I watched this video of this 125 year old woman who just sits in her room. I don’t do anything dumb because I’m terrified of everything.

  1. Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.

We both wear a lot of black, both photographers, both take education very seriously. I feel like we live pretty different lives, approaching NY in different ways. Yes. I feel like school here is hard but once you get into a groove it’s not that bad.

  1. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

That I’ve been born into a country and family that doesn’t have to worry every second of the day about survival, and that I’m here at Parsons.

  1. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?

My parents were extremely uptight and strict, so it made me uptight. I feel like most people would have rebelled but I did the opposite. I was really shy when I was a kid and my parents would try and force me to not be, but I think I was so stubborn I made it worse. It still haunts me to this day. I’ve never gotten better at it. I wish they had let me figure it out my own. I think my mom really cares a lot about how people see me, so she’s always watching me making sure I’m acting a certain way, but it just made me not want to be that way.

  1. Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.

I was born in Houston Texas, my dad is from Texas and my mom is from Russia. They both worked so I went to daycare until I was 12. Went to Elementary school and started doing ballet in a small school. Then in 3rd grade I started going to Houston Ballet, which is like a professional school for dancing. When I was 13 I started doing online high school because I was doing ballet every day from 9am to 6:45, and then school after. I was fortunate to tour with ballet to a few different countries, Australia. I was in the second company, which is right before you become a professional, for two years. I hurt my heel, my back…I had a herniated disk and had to stand all day, and it was the worst time of my life. I was dancing with that, because in ballet you can’t show weakness. I think that’s also with my upbringing, ballet is probably more of my upbringing than my parents. It’s hard for me to express myself with people because I feel like I’ve always had to hide that in a ballet setting. I was super depressed and anxious because I was dealing with all the physical pain, and I got the courage to stop dancing. I started shooting photos, so I’m pretty new to it. Then [hurricane] Harvey happened and my house flooded, so I spent a year trying to figure out that. There was four feet of water in my house and we had to get rescued in a boat. It was a really strange moment, I felt like I was in a movie. Then I was applying for schools after that. I’m an only child, so it’s lonely, but I don’t know what it’s like to have siblings so I don’t miss it. My house isn’t even in the flood zone, but my whole neighborhood got flooded and it was like a trash dump. We redid the first story, so I was living on the second floor of my house for a year. The water sat in the neighborhood for 10 days after, and we had to stay with my grandparents. But, my dad has a bad relationship with them so they kicked us out. They have religious differences. I didn’t grow up religious at all. I went to church like twice because I slept over at my friend’s house.

  1. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?

I would want to be able to speak a bunch of different languages or play different instruments.

  1. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?

I feel like I’d want to know my future, but then by conscious of it and be trying to change it. So I wouldn’t want to know mine.

  1. Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?

I’ve always wanted to take a pottery class. That elective filled up very quickly. It just seems very fun. Or maybe to go sing in public. I sing in the subway. Nobody is really paying attention to you and it’s nice.

  1. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?

Stopping ballet took a lot of mental energy.

  1. What do you value most in a friendship?

I like when people reciprocate. I’m not a very social person, I don’t have the desire to have a lot of friends. I think when people understand you and you don’t have to explain yourself. When they just value you as a person, that shows a lot about someone’s character.

  1. What is your most terrible memory?

I was doing a ballet performance called The Nutcracker, and this particular version in the second act, there are these two characters called “flying cooks.” I’m absolutely terrified of heights. I cannot do it. I was casted because I was small and could be in the harness, suspended by a cable. They would swing me out and then I’d have to grab this rope to catch myself. And we’d just go back and forth, swinging across the stage. I can’t understand people who like heights. It’s so bad. Even if I’m on a second story I get scared. If the window is open it’s ehhh. I was swinging back and going too fast, so I went through the pulley ropes. The person with the stability rope was not paying attention, so I was going to swing back out and get intertwined with the other girl. I was frantically trying to grab onto something but the only thing to grab onto was the pulley ropes. They were burning my hands as the ropes moved and I got terrible rope burn. Traumatic.

  1. What is your most treasured memory?

I only really remember bad memories. I feel like it’s always really little moments that I remember if they’re good. My last year of ballet, when I was dealing with a lot of shit, I went to Austin with my friends and it was just one weekend where I had no anxiety or issues. It was just really fun, and I was proud of myself for giving myself two days to forget about everything going on in my life. It was just a small weekend but I really remember it.

Audio Files

Part 1 (24:42):

Part 2 (40:23):


Day 2: Observations

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