Walking into the ‘Record’ office five minutes before our scheduled meeting, I was surprised to find Meghan Kiesel ’13 already sitting on the couches. I assured her, as I did when I worked below her as an executive editor, that I was not late, but she merely looked at me, smiled and said, “No, I came here early, I wanted to be here!” I realized in that moment that even though she was not editor-in-chief anymore, Kiesel had come home. And this time, she would be in the ‘Record,’ and not behind it.
So, now that I have you on the record, (see what I did there) rumor on the street is that this interview had a lot to do with why you wanted to be editor-in-chief in the first place.
[Laughs.] So obviously, being editor-in-chief is a very important and exciting job, and one of the most exciting aspects of all is definitely getting to do this interview. I was very sad when I realized that board members could not be “One in 2000,” but I quickly learned as a freshman that the editor-in-chief got to be “One in 2000.” It was a joke at the time, but I was like, “Oh, I have to be editor-in-chief because I have to be ‘One in 2000.’” Even though I’m also pathologically terrified of not being funny. But that became real, and then it became too real and now it’s happening.
So how did you end up on Record at all?
The entire reason I’m on the Record is because Matthew Piltch [’12] found me and forced me to become him in female form. I went to one meeting. You know, you’re very excited freshman year, and then this very aggressive sophomore takes you under his wing and makes you terrified of him, so all you want is to gain his approval in some magical form. I have no idea how that happened.
This sounds strangely similar to when you were a very aggressive sophomore sports editor … How did that happen?
I was trained really well. When I was still just writing for the Record, I would have these mandatory meetings with Matt [Piltch] in which we reviewed my articles and he gave me critiques. He would say, “You know these are good, but if you want to be sports editor you’ll have to do better.” I was like, “What?” [Being sports editor] was not a thing that I knew about at the time or expressed interest in.
But you stuck with it anyway and got the position?
I did not know that I was the only candidate for said position. And then [Piltch] proceeded to parade me around the office as the new him. And he continued, and somehow continues, to influence my life path. We are in fact both working at Deloitte. Different offices. Same company.
So Record has obviously been a huge part of your Williams life.
The Record has very much defined my life at Williams. To the extent that I have people coming up to me saying, “What’s the funniest thing in the paper this week?” And I’ll say guys, I have not been doing that for months. And then they say, “But … what else are you doing?” You become very attached to this office and you never want to leave it.
I can see that!
Well, no. [Laughs.] But the people you meet, and the fun times you have. You don’t get that anywhere else.
Stop! I’m tearing up. Let’s stay on this path of senior questions. What’s a crazy Williams memory you have?
The most crazy, weird thing I’ve done here actually occurred last night.
I went to Hops and Vines with two friends saying, “We’re going to get a drink; it’s going to be nice. We’re going to pretend like we are adults in a real city.” And then we’re on the “Hops” side sitting next to the Beirut table saying, “Oh, maybe we should play sometime.” Then these random guys in their late 20s come over and convince us to play ’ruit with them. It turns out that they are all alums and part of a 40-person bachelor party. Somehow, I get convinced to go over to the “Vines” side to have a drink with the groom, and then give a toast to the groom, in which all of his friends are goading me to expound upon on how well endowed he is …
[Gives questioning look.]
Which is not something I had any knowledge of! [Laughs.] Because I met Bill, who is going to be having a lovely wedding in Pennsylvania in three weeks, approximately five minutes before this happened. It was an extravagantly awkward and hilarious experience.
And then they drove off in limos?
And then they all shipped out to their school bus, which they had rented to transport them to their house that they had rented in Clarksburg, [Mass.].
Ah, classic Berkshires.
I will probably never see Bill and his friends again, but it was quite the Williams memory.
I’m not sure that your mother would approve of such behavior. Speaking of her, as a personal stalker of the Kiesel family, I would like to know: How many adoption requests do you get on a monthly basis?
I mean, at least one or two. [Laughs]. Many of the Record board decided they wanted to be adopted after discovering that, and this is not my phrasing, that my dad “is a silver fox.” I also was sure to circulate my brother’s [Steven Kiesel ’15] photo when he arrived on campus because we all needed to know who he was, lest anything untoward happen. We also got a lot of mockery up until I started college for being the “perfectly [stereotypical] American family” … without a dog. And we now have a dog.
I believe I’ve seen this dog in the Christmas pictures with the matching clothes. Can we talk about the matching?
So ever since – I think this might have been happening since my mom was a little girl, but at least since I was young – my grandma, my mom’s mom, would buy matching pajamas for the entire family. And I’m not just saying our [immediate] family, I’m saying that she has four kids, and they all have kids and we all have matching pajamas. The effect was mind boggling when we used to all spend Christmas together at my grandma’s because we were just a pack of floating heads, like, these are not individual humans.
That sounds like a herd of zebra or something.
Now we have more coordinated pajamas. I think that last year, everyone had very similar pants. I think they were football themed pants. And we all had to pose in front of the Christmas tree with the dog and take this obligatory picture before any of us were allowed to do anything.
Well, it’s working for you guys. Let me know if you’re ever looking for another sibling. It sounds like that group of extended family gets together a lot, do you guys have reunions?
Actually, we usually go to the beach, but this year my grandma wanted to do something different so she’s marshalling the forces to go to a dude ranch in Montana.
From what I understand, it’s like a working ranch except they allow people to come in and be a rancher for a week. So we’re all going, ages one to however old my grandma is (a true lady never reveals her age). We’re going fly-fishing and horseback riding.
How many family members?
Twenty-three, plus potentially other associated family members who will trickle in.
Wow, big group.
Yeah, we’re going to take over. They are all like me in that we are all quite loud and quite sure that we should be there and in charge of everything. When you get 23 people in one place that all have this opinion? We generally clear out restaurants pretty quickly.