Cool Kid: Jemma Richmond

10:21 pm

"Talking to Jemma Richmond"

I'm privileged enough to know some rad people on this planet and I would like to dedicate this new segment of my blog to them. The Cool Kids section of All Zuri is a random questionnaire I've conjured up for each 'guest'. Hopefully it'll help you see why I admire/love/am curious about some of these characters. If you know them, you might just learn something new.  

The first Cool Kid I'm dying to 'introduce' you to is Jemma Richmond- straight outta a story book with her recently cropped hair and transparent purple glasses. We sat on her bed and chatted about things ranging from boys to art to the influence of western fashion on the South African youth (you know, normal stuff)- me with pen and pink notebook at the ready, and her- dressed comfortably in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt brandishing the Hogwarts coat of arms. It had been a while since I last was in her room and the mint green wall completely covered in her collection of handmade hearts and butterflies from like everywhere still had me staring and trying to maybe count them, or pick my favourite one, or guess where each may have come from- ones made from woven metal wire, others from wood, all different sizes. My list of questions I had jotted down the night before looked waaay longer than it did at 2am...

Here it is- with the addition of Jemma's answers.

1. Describe your aesthetic.
Cluttered. Unusual. Better version of a hipster. 

The third description is weird so I ask her to clarify.

I'm not a hipster, I just have hipster tendencies.

2. Perfect thing(s) to put in a sandwich?
Cheese, chicken, pesto, tomatoes... basically the Mediterranean panini from Panda Land with chicken. You can't go wrong.

Panda is where we usually get lunch. 

3. Soundtrack to your life currently?
uhh.... probably Beatenberg or Jeremy Loops, or birds. Actually not much. I don't listen to music that much. 

4. Favourite tea?
Jemma collects tea. She collects quite a few things I realise as I look at the several clocks perched on cupboards and hanging on the wall opposite the Heart Wall.

That's hard... green tea and jasmine, not separately. 

The interview pauses briefly and she begins rummaging through the side table cupboard on her side of the bed, pulling out various boxes and tins. Tea. I smell the cinnamon one and another hazelnut flavoured tea. She promises we'll have one of them later. 

5. What's it like being a young female right now?
It depends on what part of society or class you're in. For me, there are lots of opportunities as a woman, not enough though in comparison to men. I still think I'm not taken seriously, especially when it comes to issues related to women 

6. Best thing to do while reading?
Drinking hot drinks. 

7. What's fashion to you?
It's a form of  artistic self expression. It's like putting on a layer of confidence.  I like proving stereotypes wrong with the way I dress. Fashion is stereotypically a skinny girl thing, but I found and created a personal style that adapted to my body. I interpret the trends to suit me. Also Engineering students aren't stereotypically stylish.

"It's like putting on a layer of confidence."

8. Describe the perfect day. (fiction or non-fiction)
It would be a non-stop adventure. not like parties or clubbing. Just an adventure with interesting people, new experiences and lots of laughs.

9. Favourite cartoon character?
I don't have one.

10. Why do you like yellow?
Yellow is a happy colour, like sunshine. You can't be sad if you're wearing yellow. 

11. What are your favourite things about Joburg and Cape Town respectively?
There's more acceptance in Joburg. Like, everyone can find something in Joburg. Cape Town- I like the Aesthetics. It looks nice.

12. What are you usually doodling when you're bored?  

13. What's one thing you'd like to change about yourself?
If I had to be completely honest, and I hate this, but, my weight. Also my ability to chill and let go- sometimes I'm too serious.

14. Opinion on hair and nails?
Hair is an accessory- you can do whatever you want with it. Cut it- it'll grow back. I like to paint my nails. I talk more with my hands when they look pretty.

Right now her nails are a light beige colour.

15. What do you think of your peers- what's cool about them, what's not?
not cool- They don't take advantage of the opportunities they have. They're kind of complacent.
cool- Sometimes though, you meet some really amazing young people. I'm inspired by people who break stereotypes. There are extremes on both ends I guess. 

16. Current item of clothing you covet?
A really crisp, button up shirt dress. 

17. Why would you be your friend?
I'm responsible and trustworthy- good to confide in. I'm not that sympathetic. But, I'm down to Earth and good to have in a crisis. I don't really gossip. No drama.

18. What are you reading?
*rolls eyes* I'm reading An Abundance of Katherines, by John Green, which I don't think is a good reflection on me. I just finished reading Half of a Yellow Sun. 

19. What's Jemma reflecting on, on her rocking chair at the age of 91?
That she wants to die soon haha. She'll be reflecting on the effect she's had on the world, looking at her shelf- some of the books hers. Also her kids- I want to raise epic kids that do cool things.. haha, basically, a life well spent.

20. What type of shoe are you?
A Caterpillar boot- stylish and practical.

21. I heard you like ice cream and potatoes?
Haha yeah. I think potatoes are the foods of the gods and ice cream is the food of the saints

"Potatoes are the food of the gods and ice cream is the food of the saints."

22. Draw something.
Haha no! I'm having a bit of a creative block at the moment.

23. What do you think of the youth fashion scene in South Africa?
I think we have a lot of potential, but right now we're very westernized. It's quite depressing. It would be cooler if  there were more African influences and accessible brands. We're not that original. Lots of the private school type teens don't really experiment that much- I'm hardly ever like "omg that's so cool". Everyone's wearing Nikes now.

I laugh as I glance down at my black and white Air Max sneakers.

24. Your blog?
My blog is about my life and interests. It's mostly based on fashion, but I'd like to write more on serious topics like gender rights, South Africa and the environment.

Fifi's Five words to describe Jemma: blue-eyed, vintage, clever, serious, leo

Check out Jemma's Blog, Plain Old Glasses by clicking here

Thanks a lot, Jem! 

Cool Kids is officially a permanent fixture on All Zuri.


Photography & Creative Direction: Refiloe Mokgele

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