One in 2000: Katy Newcomer ’14

--Kate Flanagan/Contributing Photographer
–Kate Flanagan/Contributing Photographer

I’ve finally fulfilled one of my Williams dreams: interviewing my best friend for “One in 2000” and not having to bribe the entire ‘Record’ staff in order to do it. It wasn’t hard to track down this girl; just simply head to Woodbridge, and you’ll find her nestled on her ridiculously comfortable futon that we dragged from the tag sale to our second-floor suite. Katy Newcomer ’14 was dressed in a black The Kooks concert T-shirt from her semester abroad in Australia, barefoot and holding her most prized possession – her heavily stickered white Macbook – as I sat down on her bed and prepared to do the most important ‘Record’ assignment I’ve been handed so far. 

So, Katy [said in terrible southern accent] … tell us about growing up in Macon, Ga. Maybe a couple highlights?

Well, Macon, Ga., is a lovely place. It’s in the heart of the South, and I grew up in an extremely liberal family … severely liberal you could say. It was an interesting time in my life.

I’m from the Pacific Northwest, so I don’t know much about the South. What’s the South like, Katy? Let’s do a South 101.

You have to say “yes, ma’am” and “no, sir.” Always put cheese in your grits. Never wear cowboy boots with more than two colors of thread.

Wait, that’s an actual rule?

Yep.

Who made that up?

It’s just a known rule. If you have black boots, brown thread and white thread, you’re asking for trouble. It’s not good.

Anything else? Perhaps a personal anecdote from your formative youth in Georgia?

In Georgia there are no rules on how awesome or intact your car has to be to drive it. So when I was in high school, I drove a Dodge minivan with one hubcap remaining and a door that was taken from another van and placed on my car. It didn’t have air conditioning, but it did have heating. It only had a right side rearview mirror, no center or left rearview mirrors. The lock on the trunk didn’t always work, and sometimes it would just stop if it didn’t feel like running that day.

So what would you do if it “didn’t feel like running that day?”

Well, on that day, I would pull right on over to the side of the road and wave one of my friends down on the way to school. And they’d be like, “[did] your van stop again?” And I’d say, “yep, I left it in the orthodontist’s parking lot, like always.”

Yikes. Okay, well let’s fast forward a little bit and talk about Williams, perhaps starting with entry life.

Well, I don’t know if you fellow seniors remember, but I do remember that the day we moved in as freshmen it was a balmy 97 degrees outside.

I remember. I know I will never forget the sweat running down my body…

So coming from Georgia, I was like, “SWEET! THIS IS GREAT! This is what I’m looking for.” And then I got to my entry, and people, including you, were basically crying about it.

Excellent. Any other entry highlights?

Well, my entry was great. I really enjoyed my time there. One of my entrymates would sometimes come knock on my door and ask me to help fold his clothes. I would also sometimes help put my makeup on his hickies because we had the same skin tone. I think he wore more of that makeup than I did freshman year.

Ah, yes. Ok, let’s move out of entry life. Tell us something about your academic experience at Williams. I know I’ve seen a strange array of textbooks and reading packets in your room over the years.

I am without a doubt the weird class guru at Williams College. I came to Williams knowing that I wanted to major in environmental science, so I got started on my divisional requirements right away. So every semester I usually have one or two course spots for me to just play around with. Which means that at Williams, not only have I taken “Documentary Filmmaking,” “Buddhism in Society,” “Poetry and Politics” and a Jane Austen seminar class at night, but I’ve also randomly taken Italian 101 and 102 [“Elementary Italian”], “The Horror Film and Society,” Dance 102 [“Skills”] and finally my personal favorite, “Russian Literature in the 19th Century.” All of which have made me a better person today, especially Russian literature because now I have a sick Russian accent and an obsession with Russian books.

This explains so much. Let’s talk about the piercings. You have a lot of them. You also wear concert T-shirts or crop tops, ride a long-board around campus and are part of Nothin’ But Cuties (NBC). I think people perceive you as a little edgy.

I identify the most with my piercings – I do have a lot of them. My piercings are a fun part about me. Sometimes when I look at myself in the mirror and I don’t have my piercings in, I don’t recognize who I am. They all have a story behind them – most of them are small acts of rebellion, a.k.a. “being able to take charge of your own life” situations. I’ve gotten one in every major city I’ve lived in since I was 18. My piercings are a part of me – don’t take them as being scary. Take them as being fun and entertaining and a reason why I don’t have tattoos! Let’s be honest – they’ve definitely stopped me from getting like a giant octopus tattooed on my shoulder this far.

When people look at me, I don’t expect them to be intimidated by me because I don’t feel like an intimidating person. And often I’m wearing sweatpants and flip-flops. I’m just going to go ahead and put it out there right now that I’m going for Senior Washed-Up Girl this year, so if you see me around and think I look cuter than normal, let me know, because that’s not what I’m hoping for.

I can’t even contain my laughter right now. Let’s talk about your other interests! I know you’re really into marine biology and studied it in Australia. Tell us more about Australia, mate!

[At this point in the conversation, Newcomer stares deeply into Dugdale’s eyes and judges her for saying “mate.”]

Australia was great! I went scuba diving all the time; I saw octopuses and sharks and giant eagle rays and turtles. I also did really fun things like learn how to longboard, which is how I would get to class every day. And I became this girl that only wore red Vans and longboarded, which secretly was because I had brought all these shoes to Australia but none of them were good to longboard in, so I basically just wore these one single pair of shoes everyday. And then I would go to parties and wake up the next day on somebody’s beachfront property in their hammock.

Ending this on a different note, what are some of your personality quirks that you haven’t shared yet?

I have this theory that all good foods should be able to be eaten with a spoon. I have an obsession with hot sauce. I also once ate a pepper at a Mexican restaurant while I was living in San Diego and had sweat pouring down my face and was crying for a solid 20 minutes after. Basically, you should get to know me.