Inspired by the title of the Lake Forest based movie Ordinary People, in her column “Real Ordinary People,” senior Teresa Fawcett showcases the stories and lives of the real, ordinary people from the Lake Forest/Lake Bluff communities.
Senior Genevieve Kyle wants to make fashion into a story. That’s what she told me, snacking on healthy, seed-filled crackers in the middle of the commons on a Tuesday in early November. The idea of plot-lined fashion–or fashion that tells a story–seemed arcane, almost mystical even. But for Genevieve, the story of an outfit, or more precisely the texture and movement of many outfits, is exactly what she dreams her future will be filled with.
Kyle, a longtime resident of Lake Forest who has lived in the community since she was a kid, has always had big plans for when she leaves her hometown. Whether that’s to Hollywood or New York City, or anywhere in between, it’s the pre-production of movies, specifically the pre-production of fashion in movies that she hopes to fill her future with. This passion, however, is not new to Kyle. She’s been dreaming of this career since she was a kid.
As a kid, Kyle was “very sassy” as she candidly admitted. She was street smart, strategic, and perceptive; she could smart-mouth her way out of any situation. She spent her time reading fashion magazines, doing arts and crafts with her parents and older brother, Clayton, a music student at Berklee College of Music in Nashville, and above all watching movies–lots and lots of movies– especially the film Almost Famous, her all-time favorite.
So, as a teenager in Lake Forest, she followed the path she had forged as a kid. She’s involved in Yearbook, Chinese Club, Human Rights Club, the kind of clubs she categorizes as “how-to-better-a person” clubs. She is working towards her Girl Scout Gold Award, she’s a student in New Media, and she’s applying to film schools for next fall.
And as a teenager, another important aspect of her life is her style. From New York Street Style, to Boho style, to flipping through Vogue magazines in her free time, Kyle loves to experiment with different styles, and challenge herself to find clothes that can be used outside of their intended purpose. She loves experimenting to try to alter men’s fashion to fit a feminine style. There is, however, a small obstacle in buying clothes for Kyle: her height.
Kyle, a little person, doesn’t let the confines of her height set her back from the perceived obstacle of finding clothes. As she put it, “clothes aren’t made for me… so [I find clothes] that I feel comfortable in and that are a good representation of who I am. And also,” she added with a laugh, “clothes that don’t make me look like a cute little toddler.”
In discussing her height, Kyle only had positive things to say. Although at times in her life she has struggled with the battle of looking different, she admits it would be difficult not to. For the majority of her life she has lived in towns and schools where “no one looks like [her].” However, as a senior in high school, for Kyle, looking different only gives her confidence.
“I think people would always think my life different,” Kyle explained. “They would always be like, ‘bless her soul, she goes through so much,’ but I don’t! Literally, I’m just really short. So just imagine what life would be like if you were really short. That’s it. I can’t reach stuff. Other than that, my life is completely normal.”
As she has gotten older, Kyle explained, the more accepted she feels in her academic community. The more and more people see her in the halls, in classes, in the New Media room, the more people see her as “just Gen.” As is the case with any school and any student, it can be excruciatingly difficult to stand out from a group of peers. Kyle, however, knows people see her the same. “That’s just Gen. Yeah she’s small, but there’s nothing that she can’t do.” Kyle grinned, reciting what she knows her circle of friends and classmates see in her.
As “just Gen” struts the halls with her confidence and style in tow, she reaffirms that she is nothing but an average teenager, finding her way slowly in a community that has grown to embrace originality and creativity. She listens to a wide variety of music, ranging from J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar to indie artists and Eminem – and above all, Beyoncé. She loves Beyoncé so much that for her latest birthday, Kyle’s celebratory cake portrayed a photoshopped picture of Kyle next to the 20-time Grammy winner. She is also a self-proclaimed “horrible cook” and classifies herself as an extremely loud student who is quiet in class. Once you get to know her, she explains, her real personality – and volume–really shine.
In stride, Kyle will bring these traits with her to college next year. Wherever that may be, she hopes to work towards her childhood dream: the pre-production of fashion in movies, or in her words, making style into a story. Kyle is a film-loving, Beyoncé-adoring, quirky, “sassy,” fashionable, and confident real, ordinary Lake Forest High School student.