Arielle Steele ’16 is a force to be reckoned with. Since meeting her on our first day at the College, a conversation with her has never had a dull moment, and ours this past weekend was no different.
So, Arielle, what’s new with you?
Besides this glorious hair?! [Laughs.]
Tell me about your hair!
I’ve always wanted to try different colors and dye my hair, but I’ve been really nervous just because my hair is dark, and we have to bleach it first and then add the color, and that can dry the oils out and cause breakage, so basically the way for me to get around all that is to add extensions. These are crochet braids, and I love them very much. I’ve had three different hair styles in one month, which is the most I’ve ever had in my life.
Is this your favorite?
Yeah, it’s my favorite thus far. If I didn’t have [to dance in] Kusika I would do this more often because the hair is so big I feel like I can’t see or hear properly. I put a bandana on it to keep it at bay.
I see you’re wearing your Hunger Games earrings. You’re a big fan of the series, right?
I am! I really do like The Hunger Games. I got into them in high school. At first, it’s not like I had an aversion to them but, you know, everyone’s like “Oh, you should read this book, whatever, whatever,” and I was just like “Mmm, I’ll get to it, I’ll get to it,” and when I finally read it, it was just like, not a life changing experience but never had I ever read a book where my heart was literally pounding out of my chest. I was so anxious in the first book I decided to take a break because it was too much for my heart. I like the fact that it doesn’t end with a happy ending because there is no way you can go through all those things – just the subjugation of the people and the oppression and all that – and have a happy ending; it’s a work in progress.
I’m sure you enjoyed the life-size cardboard cutout of Katniss Everdeen in your entry.
I was thrown because I thought she was a real person for a second; this figure was staring out like what the [hell], but I thought it was cute after a time.
Did reading the series help you appreciate Mountain Day?
Hell no. I’m not an outdoors type of girl. I can appreciate nature, and maybe we could do a little walk, that’s fine, but hiking, no, no! “But look at the view, Arielle!” I can Google image. This year I stayed inside my room, I had a cute outfit on, I did a little bit of work but I just took a “me day” and that’s fine by me. I saw the nature from outside my window, and that was good, we were in communion that way. I just don’t need to be up close, hiking, to do all that, that’s stressful.
Are you looking forward to our next holiday, Halloween?
I like Halloween a lot; it’s just so much fun. So much candy, creativity, you get to do your costumes. This Halloween [my friends and I] want to do a group costume; we want to do Flawless from Beyoncé. The new album from Beyonce is just everything. Yes, I accept my stance that I love Beyoncé. Before, I had doubts but this album was just so good, so I think that’s what we’re going to do for our costume.
As a resident of Albany, what do you make of the fact that everyone here associates it with Chipotle?
Honestly, when Chipotle was built, I went, and I wasn’t crazy about it. I still like Moe’s better. People love Chipotle, which is funny to me because it’s aight; it’s not great; it’s okay, and people will go crazy for Chipotle. With Albany, the thing that most concerns me is when people find out I’m from Albany and try to use me as a halfway house. I have no problem when it’s my friends but after a while it’s like alright, y’all, I understand getting to and from school is very hard, but just because I live very close does not mean everybody should hit me up and be like, “Hey girl, can you pick me up and take me here and there?” I don’t have a car so it’s putting it on my mom.
Speaking of your mother, what was it like being the daughter of a correctional officer?
It was fine. There was only one time when she’s ever used her correctional powers, if you will, against me. We were playing around, and she hit my pressure point and I just collapsed. And I was like “Oh my God,” and you know, that’s what they do when you’re out of hand at jail. My mom’s not an abuser! She’s not! We were joking around! But I was like, “Wow,” that was the first time I actually saw her as a correctional officer. I mean, she’s my mom – she’s teeny, she’s smaller than me, very feminine – not to say that correctional officers aren’t feminine, that’s not what I’m saying – you just wouldn’t think of her when you think of the job.
Do you watch Orange is the New Black? What do you think of it?
Yes I do;, that is my show! I think whenever you have a person in power, the way that power is implemented is heavily dependent on that person’s psyche and where they’re coming from, and I do think there are a lot of people who are bullies who are in this job. I just don’t know the reasons for the way people act the way they do but Orange is the New Black, while I do love the show, it’s so interesting to see things from both sides: through my mom’s eyes and also through the eyes of the inmates on the show. When your parents work a job it doesn’t seem real to you in a certain way because you’re not living that. It’s like that weird, alternate universe, this vacuum because it doesn’t concern you. So it’s not like I know exactly what my mom does when she goes to work. She personally, I know, has never done crazy slash atrocious stuff, but that stuff has happened, even at the Albany County Jail.
What job do you want to have?
When I was younger I always thought it would be cool just to read for a job, like read books, and basically work for a publishing house. I really do like young adult fiction, even though some of it is bad. There is something to it that is – there’s an element to it that I really love. So I thought it would be really cool just to work for a publishing office and be like, “This is a really great manuscript; I think that we should publish it.” Just being able to tell people, “Yes, this alternate reality, these characters that you put your heart and soul into, are going to be made real for other people.” I think that’s such a cool job.
How excited are you to be studying in Brazil next semester?
I have never been outside of the country before. I went on a cruise once, but that doesn’t count because it was raining in Cozumel, [Mexico,] so we just went right back on the boat. I’m nervous but I’m also really excited – I get to get a stamp in my passport and Instagram it! Traveling is so cool: being able to lose yourself, immerse yourself in a different place. I’m not going to say all that poetic stuff: “Yes, start over, forget your name,” because no, I don’t want to start over all the way from scratch and become a different person. But I think you get to explore a different facet of yourself when you’re in a different place, in a different element than you’re used to. I know once I get back from Brazil to Albany I’m probably going to have to ship some stuff back because I’m just excited to be in a different place and go to the market and go shopping.
Is it true it took your family two trips to move out of your room in Bryant last year?
Okay, okay, okay, in my defense, last year, if we had packed correctly we could have gotten it in one car. Don’t make me out to be a monster! But yeah, we had two cars. And freshman year I had everybody helping me move out of my room. Yeah, my room is filled to the brim. That’s me: disorganized, but organized; an organized chaos.