My Inspirations: The Tie Guy

Who is The Tie Guy?

The Tie Guy is a gentleman who runs a Tumblr blog about menswear and men’s fashion. He also runs an Instagram and a Twitter, but his Tumblr is the most active. His primary website can be found here.

I don’t have an actual biography of The Tie Guy, but in my mind he is a mens fashionista. The advice he gives on his Tumblr is what I would expect to hear out of the mouth of Tim Gunn or Bob Mackie.

The Tie Guy is always on top of how to dress with style. He’s not about having “the hottest men’s fashion” per se, but rather using what you have to work best for you. Followers regularly post fashion questions to him and he gives his personal opinion, often with visual demonstrations.

How did I discover The Tie Guy?

Earlier in 2014 I made a conscious choice to get more out of my Tumblr experience and find things on that network that matter to me and hold my interest. Before I went to college for the first time, I had little to no interest in having a fashion and style standard. I was a simple jeans and a t-shirt type of guy. As I spent some time seeing more of the world beyond my childhood bedroom, I started noticing that I was dressing like a teenager, and it was time to start looking more like my own age. It was also time to start developing a look that I could feel confident wearing. Nice clothes weren’t just about job interviews, they were meant to be a part of everyday life.

My sartorial journey began with GQ magazine, and branched out into Details magazine. From there, I got advice from someone who worked in a clothing store. This led to getting my copy of The Details Men’s Style Manual, which gave me a true baseline to start looking at clothes and how to wear them properly.

I hit a flatline as I dropped out of school and needed to stablise myself. Working in a restaurant where nice clothes were part of the uniform helped re-ignite my interest in looking more like an adult again.

While browsing on Tumblr, one of the suggestions was The Tie Guy’s blog. I really liked what I was seeing, and put his Tumblr into my RSS reader, so I wouldn’t miss a single post.

How does The Tie Guy inspire me?

Over the course of several months of watching all the different style pictures on his blog, I started to piece together what I wanted to look like, and what types of sartorial would work best for me. I continue to use the Style Manual as a compliment to The Tie Guy’s blog, and lately he’s been showing off his own fashion choices (and face!) more often.

The Tie Guy has been instrumental in helping me evolve my own sense of style and how to use it. My next step is to start investing in good clothes and wearing them regularly, breaking all of my old habits. I’ve started with the local Van Huesen store, and plan to branch out once I have a baseline wardrobe. I’m grateful that my current job allows me to play with higher fashion and let me learn more.

Just like how Cecil has no actual description, and Kinsey will never be officially portrayed by an actress, I have a mental picture of what The Tie Guy looks like in my head. Johannes Huebel is considered one of the most stylish men in the world, and in my mind, that’s who I see when I think of The Tie Guy, though as of mid-2015 he regularly posts photos of himself.

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What has The Tie Guy taught me?

My re-ignited interest in fashion was solidified because of my interest in RuPaul’s Drag Race. Of course, Drag Race had a women’s fashion element to it, but I was particularly inspired by the fashion choices of two of the winners of the show – Raja and Violet Chachki. Both of their styles were particularly powerful and often jaw dropping on the runway, and I want to one day be like that, but in men’s clothing.

The (no longer being updated) website Drag official has a wonderful article on what is “drag.”

That being said, I do not define “my drag” by it’s traditional definition: men wearing women’s clothing. I consider the high quality menswear displayed by not only The Tie Guy, but the other menswear blogs to be what I define as “my drag.” Like how Drag Queens portray a character and “aspire to be that character” (i.e. Chad Michaels is a Cher impersonator), the images of what the The Tie Guy presents, is what I am working on eventually trying to emulate. I show this by adding the tag “my drag” to each of my sartorial re-blogs on Tumblr. A feed for that can be found here.

For example, a traditional Drag Queen could make a post about a new pair of heels they found or saw online and loved.

I consider the above to be beautiful shoes and wish I had them for myself.

By buying and wearing what I consider to be “my drag” I plan to love myself through what I wear, and gain confidence in myself. Basically, The Tie Guy is the evolution on what Latrice Royale taught me. On the professional side, I’ll be dressing for the job I want, not the job I have. On the personal side, I plan to eventually dress to show my love and respect for myself, and not just as a simple way to cover my body.

Even beyond menswear, there’s plenty of grooming advice that I’ve tried out and learned from. This Buzzfeed list has become the base that I am working myself up to, and The Tie Guy’s sartorial advice fits with it perfectly. While Don and Charlie have given me a baseline for how a gentleman should act, The Tie Guy shows me how a gentleman should look, even down to how he should smell.

Thank you, Tie Guy, for being an inspiration!

Respectfully Submitted,

Lukas Condie

My Inspirations: Elle Woods & Kate Spencer

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Who is Elle Woods?

Elle is the main character in the movie, Legally Blonde. Legally Blonde is one of two movies that I turn to in my difficult times because no matter what, these movies always cheer me up and make me happy.

Elle is an attractive blonde sorority girl from California. After her long term relationship ends because her boyfriend decides he wants a girl who is “more serious” and “less blonde” she set out to go to Harvard Law School to win him back.

Although she comes off as little more than the stereotypical “Paris Hilton” knockoff, it’s shown that even before she went to Harvard she demonstrates a strong intellect, even if much of it is related to fashion and merchandising. She knows down to the little details – such as the difference between brand name toilet paper and generic toilet paper, and a tiny detail about perms is what wins her the biggest case in the movie.

Over the course of the movie (which was originally a book!), Elle matures and expands herself out of her own comfort zone. In doing this, she saves the reputation and lives of people who she cares about. She encourages the nail stylist Paulette to get the courage to connect with the guy she’s attracted to. Elle shows the girl who becomes her best friend that first impressions aren’t always accurate, and Elle learns to believe in herself, no matter what.

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The biggest piece of Elle that I takeaway is that Elle spends the movie making the best of herself. She goes from sorority president to fully established lawyer. In the process she learns about what’s important to her, and fights to defend it.

Like Elle as she starts her journey at Harvard, I have often felt that I was the “newbie.” I had two growth spurts at my first college (one in theater and one in Business), but both eventually fizzled out. I plan to take CCV and UVM by storm, much like how Elle did to Harvard by the end.

Elle is very well versed in the things that she is passionate about. I can say the same thing for myself – many times I’ve given technology coaching, relationships talk, and gone on about TV shows I love with all my heart. Even this blog has turned into a discussion about people I’m passionate about.

Elle is the kind of person I am striving to be in my present time.

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Who is Kate Spencer?

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Kate is one of the main characters in the movie John Tucker Must DieJohn Tucker Must Die is the second movie I turn to in difficult times.

Kate starts off as a wallflower, who travels from town to town her entire life because her mother is constantly cycling through relationships with different men.

She is brought into the center of the action when it’s exposed that John Tucker is dating three different girls and they all discover each other. While in detention, Kate talks to them and and they unite together to destroy John’s reputation.

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How does Kate inspire me?

John Tucker is the second movie that I always turn to as a comfort. I was first drawn to the movie because of Jesse Metcalfe, who was my first celebrity crush after coming out. As I transitioned to Parkside, I felt exactly like Kate during my first few weeks – invisible and “the new kid.”

Over the course of the movie, Kate develops a friendship with the three girls who unite to destroy John, and she grows into her own person. By the end of the movie she’s no longer an unknown and has the confidence to be herself for the first time. She also learns quite a bit about what it means to be in a relationship, since she has to fake being in one with John for half the movie. Kate also stands up and becomes a leader in the process.

Because Jesse Metcalfe was my first celebrity crush, and much of my exposure to him was through this movie, Kate’s journey in the movie helped me gain confidence in myself after having come out. I identify with Kate’s sense of isolation at the movie’s start, and just like how Kate matures over the story, I feel myself maturing more as I take on more challenges, such as going back to school.

From a different perspective, Kate has a few things she’s shown me about dating by demonstrating what not to do. Kate’s relationship with John was fake, whereas Sakura/Rose and Sabrina have real relationships to learn from. I have learned about things not to do with/to others by seeing Kate trick John in the film. I have often wondered what Dan Savage would have said to the four girls if they would have called him for advice on John.

Thanks Elle & Kate, for being inspirations!

Respectfully Submitted,

Lukas Condie

My Inspirations: Sabrina Spellman

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Who is Sabrina Spellman?

Sabrina Spellman is the titular character in the series Sabrina The Teenage Witch. For the context of this post, I’m referring to Melissa Joan Hart’s portrayal of the character on the live-action sitcom.

Sabrina discovers that she is a “half-witch” through her father who is a pure witch who married Sabrina’s mortal mother, but left her after Sabrina was born. The TV series starts on the day Sabrina discovers this, which happens to be her sixteenth birthday. The series takes her through high school and college, and through living on her own and ending with her marriage.

During each episode Sabrina learns something about her magical powers, about the relationships she has with friends and family, how she handles romantic relationships, and how that all fits together in her life.

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(Source for the following)

Sabrina is typically a very out-going, amiable, and genuinely caring person. She looks out and stands up for her friends Jenny and Valerie whenever the cheerleaders, particulararly Libby, would insult or be condecending towards them, while simultaneously taking slurs and insults herself.

One of Sabrina’s most prominent personailty traits is her quick wit. She’s a playful smart aleck and seems to always have a clever pun or funny comeback up her sleeve. Some of which get her into more trouble then she’s already in.

She is, for the most part, very level-headed and clever although some of her ideas when it comes to using magic often land her in trouble, which often leads her to panic in some cases.

Sabrina is very socially aware and will often speak out against unfair treatment of injustices against those around her. Her often bubbly personality can occasionally be annoying to some around her, which she realizes when Valerie begins turning into her exact duplicate in the third season and when both Roxie and her cynical boss Annie comment on her consistent cheeriness. She has also been characterized as a complete busybody at frequent times, having a habit of butting into the lives of those around her.

Sabrina’s two catchphrases throughout the entire run of the show are “Woo-hoo!” and “Gotta go!” She gets made fun of a few times because of her constant use of these phrases.

She is a very loyal friend and for the most part, is liked by those around her. She has a very good relationship with both her fellow-students, friends, and many of her teachers such as Mrs. Quick and Mr. Pool. However, because of her magical nature and resulting odd behavior, she is often scrutinized by some, such as Libby and Mr. Kraft. However at the end of the day, Sabrina is a down-to-earth, caring, passionate individual who only wants to do what’s right.

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How did I discover Sabrina Spellman?

I discovered Sabrina when I was in middle school and the TV show aired just after the shows I would watch right after school. One day when it came on, I decided to give it a chance and was hooked instantly. The series ended on TV just as I was starting to embark on my own journey to adulthood like Sabrina does throughout the course of the series.

How does Sabrina inspire me?

Sabrina represents the kind of person who I want to be to others. Being bubbly and caring (like Sakura) are two things I feel people tend to see in me first. I’ve emulated Sabrina in multiple aspects throughout the course of my life. In high school, I hid the fact that I am gay just like how Sabrina is constantly having to hide the fact that she’s a witch.

In college and beyond, I used Sabrina’s interactions and relationships with her friends and family as a measuring stick for how I should interact with the people in my life. She cares deeply about others, and does everything in her power to help out wherever she can in her friend’s lives. For the longest time, I had a busybody trait very similar to hers.

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In addition to emulating her personality, I frequently use one of her two famous catchphrases regularly. “Woo-hoo!” is typically my positive reaction to things offline.

Sabrina discovers over the course of the series that she was meant to be a journalist. It starts with her working at her high school paper, becoming editor, going into journalism as a major in college, and finally getting a job in the field. Sabrina was the first person/character to spark my interest in the journalism field, which has since evolved a great deal since the show first aired.

After Sabrina started my interest, it grew through my passion and interest in social media, matured through years of loyally reading my RSS feed, and was sharpened by a friend of mine going into the field professionally. I also had some journalism inspiration in watching The David Pakman Show. As I transitioned to Vermont, going into the journalism field has been my primary motivation for going back to school.

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Over the course of the series, Sabrina has three long term relationships. Each one brings Sabrina different experiences and helps her grow more as a person until she finally discovers who she is meant to spend the rest of her life and fall in love with. Sabrina is my third role model for relationships, in addition to Sakura and Rose.

Two quotes from the series finale have particularly stuck with me:

  • “Love doesn’t have any guarantees.”
  • “Never think that ‘almost’ is good enough for you.”

Both of these quotes have shaped how I feel about romance and relationships. As someone who is constantly striving for perfection, I’ve made the mental mistake of expecting guarantees from falling in love.

The other quote is my reasoning for holding myself to a high standard in relationships. I’ve seen what happened to  Sabrina when she was going to settle for “almost” and I never want to do that myself. For that reason, I’ve been crafting a list of exactly what I’m looking for.

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Whenever I re-watch the series, I still find myself trying to “be” the Sabrina on the final season in the series. The song, “Running” by No Doubt was used as the final song in the show, and I plan to use it in my own wedding someday.

Thank you Sabrina, for being an inspiration!

Respectfully Submitted,

Lukas Condie

My Inspirations: Henry Drummond

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Who is Henry Drummond?

Henry Drummond is one of the two main characters in the stage play, Inherit The Wind. Drummond is the fictional version of the real lawyer Clarence Darrow. Inherit The Wind is the dramatized version of the Scopes “Monkey Trial” that took place in 1925. Darrow/Drummond represented a teacher who was fired for teaching evolution in a public school, which was against the law at the time.

Drummond starts out as a considered “villain” of the play – being an atheist/agnostic in a predominantly Christian town, fighting for the right to teach evolution, which was referred to by the citizens as “eviloution.” As he shows how down-to-earth he is, he gains the respect of the town and manages to restore the dignity of the teacher who was humiliated and practically tortured at the beginning of the show.

Drummond is also very intellectual. He raises deep questions about the Bible and religion in general, many of which have inspired discussions all over the world about what faith means to many people.

“Lady, when you lose the power to laugh, you lose the power to think straight.”

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How did I discover Drummond?

I first came to know Drummond in my freshman year of high school, when my english class read Inherit The Wind during class, with each student getting a different part to read. My teacher thought I would be best as Drummond, and thus in reading the part, my inspiration began.

How does Drummond inspire me?

I was raised a Methodist Christian, of which I shed any connection to in 2006 after I left for college. Drummond is a self-identified agnostic, but he has a working knowledge of the Bible – he had to use it as the only way to prove that evolution exists at one point in the show. This shows that even though Drummond doesn’t have the belief and/or faith in the stories of the book, he still can learn from it and shows that the Bible itself can be used for good. The title of the play comes from the specific Bible verse Drummond quotes at the end of the show, and his rival, Brady, quotes towards the beginning of the show:

Proverbs 11:29 KJV: “He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind, and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart.”

This quote has stuck with me ever since I first read it to my classmates over a decade ago. Drummond uses this verse to demonstrate why the characters that turned against their own families and friends suffered great losses during the show.

Quoting from CliffNotes:

Lawrence and Lee (the play’s authors) used Proverb 11:29 in two other instances in the play. In Act II, Scene 1, Reverend Brown gives a fire-and-brimstone sermon at a prayer meeting held on the courthouse lawn. He becomes overzealous in condemning Cates, and when his daughter asks him to stop, he asks for retribution for her also. Brady intervenes because he is concerned he will lose the support of the townspeople. The advice he gives to Reverend Brown is the wisdom of Solomon in the Book of Proverbs, “He that troubleth his own house . . . shall inherit the wind.” Brown has caused trouble in his own house by condemning his daughter and will, ultimately, “inherit the wind,” when Rachel leaves him.

The second time Lawrence and Lee use Proverb 11:29 is in Act III. Hornbeck comments that when Brady recited Proverb 11:29 to Reverend Brown, he was in fact ” . . . delivering his own obituary.” Brady “inherited the wind”: He died as a result of his actions. He made a mistake believing he was infallible.

The community members cause trouble for themselves because they create a circus-like atmosphere during the trial and in so doing, draw worldwide attention to their narrow-minded views. They “inherited the wind” because, like the townspeople of Dayton after the Scopes trial, their reputation remained that of the stereotypical “ignorant Southern town.”

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Drummond was my first exposure to thoughts and beliefs outside of the Christian Church. He was the first person/character I met that was not-Christian identified, and he had me wondering what it was like. While I was never abused in my original church, my first pastor was very aggressive and strict. When I was in eighth grade, that pastor and I had a very heated disagreement, and ever since that day I’ve had a distrust of religion. Reading about various other crimes committed by people in the name of Christianity made me further question the very concept of it.

Now don’t get me wrong – I don’t believe all Christians are bad by any stretch of the imagination. Just like how I was told that the devil “perverts” things and makes them bad, I feel that there are many people out there “perverting” the concept of Christianity.

My point with all of this, is that Drummond was the spark that led to my skepticism. While I was at Parkside, I discovered Unitarian Universalism, a faith and belief system that I feel is right for me. Drummond raises questions about life, and I do the same.

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Drummond stands up for what he felt was the right thing, and that’s a value that I’ve had engrained in me since I was first taught about it by the Power Rangers.

Drummond also taught me the famous phrase, “All that glitters is not gold” in this scene:

On a much grander scale, Inherit The Wind was the play that led to my interest in theater. By reading it in english class, I went on to get involved with my high school drama club, which led to being a theater major at Parkside, which led to my work at Sunset Playhouse. To this day, being the Stage Manager for Inherit The Wind at Sunset Playhouse is one of my proudest accomplishments.

“I don’t swear just for the hell of it. You see, I figure language is a poor enough means of communication as it is. So we ought to use all the words we’ve got. Besides, there are damned few words that everybody understands.”

Thanks Drummond, for being an inspiration!

Respectfully Submitted,

Lukas Condie

How To Get Started On Twitter

My friend Bridget runs a blog that’s been going on for a few years now on building social media profiles, and Twitter is her bread and butter. I’m going to line up her posts in a logical way to show you how to build yourself up on it.

The one thing I can recommend doing while reading/watching videos – make a personal twitter for yourself to practice with! Bridget runs several accounts – a personal one, the business one, her social media advice one, her political one, so on and so on. I have two – my public and my secret one where the “non-professional” stuff goes.

First Step.

She gets way more energetic in future videos, I promise! In that post/video, she explains what makes Twitter different from other social networks. In short, it’s the conversations that take place there.

Second Step.

We all start somewhere. This is how Bridget got started.

Third Step.

This is the first thing to start working on as the manager for your account. You’ll use this as a baseline for keeping yourself organized.

Fourth Step.

This is the best definition of hashtag you will find on the internet. This will become one of your most used tools on Twitter.

Fifth Step.

Now that you have the account organized and are thinking about what hashtags you can use as tools to build conversations, here’s the next part of building your account.

Sixth Step.

As you build followers it’s time to start learning about how to Retweet. My personal favorite is the Old School RT. Comment tweet is my second choice, and Rewrite Tweet is what I’ll do when posting articles from my online news reader.

Side note – you will see Hootsuite and Tweetdeck mentioned a few times at this point. Using one of them is for the power users, and eventually you’ll work your way up to them.

Seventh Step.

By now you’ve been building your conversations, you’re RTing other accounts and following new people/places and building your twitter lists. Now it’s time to create your influence.

Final Step.

This is how to think of twitter in the long term, and I get a mention in this post!

When you reach this point, you can start moving over to Tweetdeck (my favorite, since it updates in real time) or Hootsuite (which I love using through Feedly desktop) to step up your game to the professional level. Bridget’s GuruMinute Video series and her advanced “Keys To Being Social” series compliment everything said above, and are the next steps to being a Twitter professional.

Respectfully Submitted,
Lukas Condie

My Inspirations: Lupin & Slughorn

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Who is Remus Lupin?

Remus Lupin is a character in the Harry Potter book series. Lupin first appeared in the third book of the series, and was a supporting character until the end of the final book.

(Source for Lupin’s bio here.)

Remus was compassionate, intelligent, calm, tolerant, levelheaded, brave, kind, and good-natured. To much of the world, he seemed rather shy and drawn-in. Despite having suffered a great deal of prejudice in his life due to his lycanthropy, he managed to retain an ability to see the good in almost everybody and was extremely forgiving. He also had an excellent sense of humour, and when he was a student at school, was one of the Marauders. However, unlike his friends, he never partook in bullying. He hence could be described as the most mature, responsible one of the group. He even became a prefect in his fifth year. Also, unlike his friends, he was able to, or at least would try to maintain civil conversation with those he did not get along well with, a notable example being Snape.

Remus was unusually perceptive, with an uncanny ability to guess the thoughts of those around him. This is especially clear in his conversations with Harry, such as his intuiting that Harry was afraid that he thought he couldn’t handle working with the boggart. He was a gifted teacher, with a rare flair for his subject and a profound understanding of his pupils. He was, as ever, drawn to the underdog, and Neville Longbottom especially benefitted from his wisdom and encouragement.

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How does Lupin inspire me?

I was told a few years back that I remind people of a real-life Lupin. I have strived to emulate all of the qualities described of Lupin above. I try to be the good-natured, non-judgemenal friend to anyone I encounter. Just like how Lupin is described as the mature, responsible member of his group of friends, I’ve been told the same thing by my own friends on more than one occasion. The bottom line is that I can very easily relate to Lupin.

Lupin is often misunderstood, being that he is a werewolf. For various reasons, I feel the same way. On a daily basis at work, I’m often commenting “This is why I don’t make jokes – when I do, no one gets them!” I’ve been ostracized for being gay, for being an introvert, for having knowledge about BDSM, and for various other subjects. I see these traits and knowledge as interesting and it makes up a part of who I am, but I can also understand that these can be scary subjects to others. In turn, I empathize with other’s strange qualities as well, and always try to offer a safe place for friends and acquaintances to vent to about their weirdness.

Lupin, like the character Dumbledore, is very forgiving of others, and tends to give others the benefit of the doubt. Like what’s mentioned above, I have a tendency to see only the good in others and ignore their faults, weaknesses, or bad points.

I see Lupin as the kind of adult I want to become a few more years down the road.

Who is Horace Slughorn?

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(My source for Horace Slughorn’s bio is here.)

Horace Slughorn was described as having a bumbling, jovial sort of personality. He was rather vain and quite fond of food, especially crystallised pineapple. Despite being a relatively good-natured person, he only had eyes for people who he thought had talent, would go far in life, and thus give him helpful connections and be able to influence or gain benefits from them. Thus, while he invited other students to his “Slug Club,” he had a tendency to rudely ignore people like Ronald Weasley because he didn’t view them as important, talented, or famous enough to warrant his attention.

Slughorn generally displayed the more positive traits of Slytherin, such as ambition. He never wished to be famous himself; instead, he preferred to help others become famous, which, if successful, gained him influence and/or benefits from them, such as being able to recommend the next junior member of the Goblin Liaison Office, free Quidditch tickets or a box of his favourite crystallised pineapple.

Slughorn’s personality, in many ways, contradicted the “evil Slytherin” stereotype held by many students of the other Houses, Gryffindors in particular. He wasn’t a bad person, and didn’t seem to hold any real prejudice against Muggle-born witches and wizards.

Despite his ambition, Slughorn knew where to draw his personal boundaries. His tendency to ally himself with powerful, talented, and important people never blinded him to his moral values, and thus, he was never tempted to join forces with Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters.

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How does Slughorn inspire me?

I identify myself as primarily a Slytherin, and Slughorn represents the kind of Slytherin I feel I am. Slytherns are ambitious, passionate, and at the end of the day make great managers because they are resourceful to the end. Slughorn is all of those, plus he’s an incredible networker. He knows how to make connections, and further connect the people around him. This is something I strive for regularly. My most common example is directing people to my friend Bridget’s blog.

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Slughorn is very laid back. He is also a forgiving man, one who is always collecting things, and always learning. Ravenclaws learn for the sake of learning, but Slytherins will learn something so they can use it to forward their own ambitions, which is exactly what Slughorn does and what I do. Slughorn collects his fans much like how I try to collect twitter/tumblr followers.

Both of these men are professors at Hogwarts School. They have developed their craft well enough to teach it to others. I see myself doing that over the course of my life – perfecting my own skills and then eventually passing them on to people I mentor later in life.

Thank you, Remus Lupin and Horace Slughorn for being inspirations!

Respectfully Submitted,

Lukas Condie

My Inspirations: Latrice Royale

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Who is Latrice Royale?

Latrice’s Royale is a Drag Queen who was on the fourth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Latrice placed fourth in the show, but was the queen that nabbed my attention during that season. Latrice has been in the industry for over two decades, and knows her craft well. Latrice has faced many challenges over the course of her life off the show, including hitting rock bottom an being in prison while her mother passed away, which she admitted to onscreen. Latrice is known for several quotes that she has said on the show. My favorites include:

  • “Five G’s please : Good God Get A Grip Girl.”

  • “BITCH: Being In Total Control of Herself”

  • “She is large and in charge, chunky, yet funky. Bold and Beautiful.”

  • “No T no shade.”

  • “I want people to realize, that it’s okay to make mistakes, it’s okay to fall down. Get up, look sickening, and Make Them Eat It!”

  • “Jesus is a biscuit! Let him sop you up!”

Latrice was invited back to the show to compete in All Stars, after earning the title of “Miss Congeniality” for season four. During All Stars, Latrice was paired with Manilla Luzon.

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What about Latrice inspires me?

Latrice has taught me several things over the course of my being a fan. First and foremost (as the above GIF hints), Latrice has taught me how to handle my body image. Latrice never showed anger at herself for being a larger person. Latrice never complained about her weight, never shot herself down (unlike some other bigger contestants), and was thought of as “the big girl who got the farthest.” I’ve used the line, “large and in charge, chunky yet funky” to describe myself when I’m feeling down. Latrice knows how to model dresses and gowns on her size, and showcased this on the runway on several occasions. Each time, it was more about being proud of her looks rather than trying to cover them up. Slowly but surely, I’ve been trying to think of myself the same way. Dress to enhance, not to cover up. Latrice is living proof of the famous RuPaul quote, “If you can’t love yourself, how the hell are you gonna love anyone else?”

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Another big quote that Latrice lived and breathed is “I want people to realize, that it’s okay to make mistakes, it’s okay to fall down. Get up, look sickening, and Make Them Eat It!” Latrice hit rock bottom a few years before she went on TV. I was in a similar place back in 2010-2011. I didn’t go to prison and lose my mother, like Latrice did, but I did make some very serious mistakes that have had lasting consequences. Latrice picked herself back up, her community had a fundraiser to get her back on her feet and then Drag Race rocketed her back into the limelight and to a much better place. When I hit my rock bottom, I started the first job that stabilized my life. From there I started growing as a person again, and got back on my own feet. Once I was back up, I grew the strength to pick up my things and move across the country and start a new life in Vermont. Now I’m in a better place and on track to go back and finish college, which I’ve long considered one of my biggest mistakes.

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In watching Latrice love herself, I have come to start accepting myself for the way I look. I’ve considered my weight to be another biggest life mistake, but I’m starting to turn that around and look at it as an asset. What helps is seeing the gay men’s community starting to appreciate guys with a little extra as well, instead of constantly talking about men who look like they walked out of a fitness magazine. Here and here are two articles that really gave me a good psychological boost recently. Here is a gallery of bigger men who know how to showcase themselves. This article in particular was very encouraging.

Cross-referencing the HP fandom, this piece is a great discussion on how to address body image with a HP twist.

As I re-watch season four of Drag Race (and All Stars), I continue to use Latrice as my source for liking myself more and more.

Thanks Latrice, for being an inspiration!

Respectfully Submitted,

Lukas Condie