On September 4th, 2018, I met Niu Mao. I was halfway through my studio class when she walked into my classroom. The room was dark so I couldn’t really see her, but it was just like the movies when the new kid joins your class and walks in slow motion with their hair blowing behind them. That day our class went on a field trip to Coney Island during the second half of class. The two of us hung out while we there and instantly connected. I had never had a friend like her before- someone so intense, open, mature, and into the things that she was into. She wore a black tank top and black cargo shorts. She had a big black backpack with patches sewed all over and her motorcycle helmet clipped to a strap. She wore red eyeshadow and had 24 tattoos. I wasn’t sure if I was in love with her, wanted to be her friend, or wanted to be her. She was so interesting to me, and I learned that she had a way of making other people feel the same way. I’m still getting to know Niu Mao, but she has opened me up to a new world of music and culture. Her goofiness, generosity, honest personality, unapologetic way of presenting herself inspires me.
This is a photo of Niu Mao in Coney Island on the day we first met.