Objects hold stories. Clothing can be used as a form of self-expression and even narrative.
We wanted to realize these ideas around fashion and narrative at the opening party for A Queen Within: Adorned Archetypes, so we turned to Seattle storytelling collective she is FIERCE.
she is FIERCE: stories from the female and genderqueer perspective is a recurring storytelling event in Seattle where female-identified and genderqueer individuals of all demographics can share stories from their experiences that matter to them.
At the exhibition opening, six performers will perform pieces about the stories that live in their clothes, the way they express themselves through style, and the things they love or reject about fashion.
We were able to speak with some of those performers to learn more about their relationship to storytelling, fashion, and archetype.
Alyssa Yeoman is a comedian, storyteller, podcast host, and actor. She works locally as a producer for Seattle's Naked Brunch, QTPOC Is Not A Rapper, Unladylike at Comedy Underground, and as the regional director for Don't Tell Comedy Seattle.
Learn more about Alyssa in our interview below, and make sure to join us for the she is FIERCE performance at the opening party for A Queen Within: Adorned Archetypes May 10.
Interview with Alyssa Yeoman
What attracts you to storytelling as a medium?
To be honest, I feel like storytelling fell into my lap through my work as a comedian. It is a natural fit with who I am as a person outside of performance; I would consider myself highly relational and individualistic. I get a lot of energy through investing in people and learning about them through the experiences they choose to share with me.
Storytelling is so valuable because whether you're consuming or delivering you often learn that you are not alone. I love the opportunity to share, commiserate, and analyze our unique relationships to ourselves and the world outside of yourself.
The Thespian archetype in A Queen Within: Adorned Archetypes
What artists are inspiring your work currently?
My biggest inspirations right now are Tierra Whack, Blood Orange, Lizzo, and Khalid. All musicians! But that being said, I think they all have such a unique sound while incorporating radical vulnerability in their work.
I seek out artists that inspire what it means to have emotional fortitude — a.k.a. here's how I feel, why I might be feeling it, and in no way am I running from this or making it someone else's issue. And regardless of if I feel this way tomorrow, it doesn't make in invalid. I think that's hugely important in comedy, which is my primary work. It's showing you have a backbone and getting to an honesty and reliability that causes a visceral reaction.
Also, all 4 of [these artists] exhibit true fashion sense, less determined by trend and more of “this who I am and how I feel comfortable.” Tierra Whack's Whack World specifically moved something in me. The use of visuals and every detail to create such a rich world really had me reflecting on my goal of being a holistic artist. Holistic meaning how do I express my values, individuality, and inspiration all-in-one. Solange is another great example who does that and [is] a fashion god.
The Mother Earth archetype in A Queen Within: Adorned Archetypes
A Queen Within: Adorned Archetypes is themed around six archetypes: Thespian, Mother Earth, Explorer, Enchantress, Sage, and Heroine. Which archetype do you most identify with and why?
Sage for sure! I've always been told I'm wiser than my age which is true and was hard earned through life experiences.
Then maybe a hint of heroine as I'm ambitious and deliberate in my day-to-day. This is also very evident with my relationship with fashion. I believe in buying only quality clothing that I absolutely love and taking care of those items. My closet is setup in a way that allows me to never get decision fatigue. Every piece is handpicked with a lot of thought on how it goes with the rest of my wardrobe, how it makes me feel, and how it plays to the things I love the most — strong lines, non-pretentious, overall sustainability, and functionality. I love utility and I love purpose in my clothing.
The Heroine archetype in A Queen Within: Adorned Archetypes
The exhibition tells the story of these archetypes through fashion. What’s one thing you feel fashion does well? How would you like to see fashion evolve in the future?
The trend I'm loving in fashion right now is the uptick of gender-neutral clothing. I grew up wearing clothes that were not for female presenting but made me feel confident cause I love clothing that doesn’t put an emphasis on my naturally feminine body. I love seeing big companies create clothes anyone can wear and it not be about the binary. It shows what fashion is truly supposed to be about which is freedom of expression.
In the future, I hope more high-end fashion companies show a variety of body types — I think they are starting as a reactionary response, but I want it to be truly normalized. All bodies deserve to feel good and look good. And fashion companies don't deserve a pat on the back for doing the bare minimum — MAKE YOUR BRAND ACCESSIBLE.
Thanks to Alyssa for speaking with us. You can see Alyssa perform at the A Queen Within: Adorned Archetypes opening party with she is FIERCE May 10.