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WARD GIRLS

Source: Photography by Danielle James / Hello Beautiful

Macie called me 15 minutes before she arrived for her shoot. I sat at Ralph’s On The Park, a lively, white tabled restaurant, and enjoyed a French Pressed Roast with my Vice President of the Women’s Division, Allison McGevna. I take a sip and say hello, “I’ll be there in 10 minutes but I don’t know what to wear,” the 16-year-old lamented. I imagined this is what middle-aged motherhood looks like. “You’ll look fine in whatever you wear,” I responded. The shoot being totally focused on Macie, meant that there was nothing for her to prepare for, but rather, to just be. She calls me when she’s outside and I meet this beautiful young woman that could be Black, possibly Indian, mixed…later she tells me that she’s Creole. A heritage, of which she’s extremely proud.

WARD GIRLS

Source: Photography by Danielle James / Hello Beautiful

When she arrives, she is Michael Kors’d out. Her fashionable wedges with the MK label blinging in gold and paired with a jean skirt and pink top. Her handbag and gold watch are also Michael Kors. “You like Michael Kors?” I ask, already knowing the answer. “He’s my favorite designer,” she smiles and responds. Michael Kors and pink are her signature look. While she loves her Michael Kors watch, she reveals, “I always wear my grandmother’s ring because it is very special to me.”

Macie might look like a girly girl, but she’s an athlete. She chose City Park in New Orleans for many reasons: “I run here, I hang out with my friends here, my mother got married here….” she tells me on set. Her family and friends are a reoccurring topic throughout our time together, “[they] are most important to me and I enjoy spending as much time as possible with them.”

One thing I notice about Macie is her positive outlook on her future, despite the trauma of Katrina. She’s smart and plans to pursue a career in law. So smart she quickly adds, “and after I burn out, I’d love a culinary career and to open my own restaurant.” Who plans their burnout?! Macie.

Her mother, Monique, stands in the background, a proud parent, making sure that Macie tells me things that she might not remember. Macie’s NOLA pride undoubtedly comes from her mother. She insists we take a photo in front of the sign, “A Proud Place.”

Macie shares how much she loves New Orleans, how she’ll always consider it home, despite living in Texas, briefly, post-Katrina (which she later references as an opportunity). “It’s like being form New York City,”every time you tell someone your hometown, they are instantly interested.” I knew what she meant. Though young, Macie has traveled, “I have had an opportunity to live in another state, visit different states, and have also traveled to Spain. One thing I noticed was that people have a certain look depending on where they live that is copied by everyone. These experiences helped me to realize that my looks and my style are a reflection of the mixed New Orleans culture. It’s like a ‘Gumbo,’ with a little bit of everything to make it just right.”

The idea of gumbo, or a mixture, or a melting pot of not just diverse food, but a rich history and people is a consistent theme throughout NOLA. The city is full of a feeling of community and love, something that is consistent with all the girls and women I meet.

Get to know more about Macie LaFonta below in her exclusive interview for Hello Beautiful.

Name: Macie LaFonta

Nickname: Mace

Age: 16

Location (Which Ward/Area are you from): I was born and currently reside in the 7th Ward now also called New Marigny.

Occupation: I am a High School Junior (11th grade).

HB: Define your personal style

I consider my personal style as Freestyle/Unique. Creating my own looks happens when I put new items together with something I already own. I don’t commit to any particular style.

My personal style is fun. When I purchase an item I’m not sure what I will mix it with until I get home.

HB: How has New Orleans influenced your style?

New Orleans has influenced my style due to the climate, which is usually very humid and hot.  Lightweight clothing is most comfortable. I have to be versatile between dressy and casual because of the many indoor/outdoor events I attend ranging from formal weddings to outdoor festivals.

HB: What is your favorite hairstyle and why?  

My favorite hairstyle is natural curls because it holds up to the humidity better than a straight style.

HB: Is there anything you lost in Katrina (clothing or accessories related) that you still wish you had?

I didn’t really lose many material things due to Hurricane Katrina, since I was only 4 years old.  I kept my favorite things with me when we left the city and I still have them.

HB: How has your style changed post-Katrina?

My style has evolved post-Katrina. Pre-Katrina I was a preschooler and I dressed like any other kid, nothing special. When I returned to New Orleans I was in grade school and started to make decisions on my own on how I would dress. I prefer not to shop in large malls but it small boutiques in certain areas of the city to find unique items. In the process, I have also become very attached to certain items of clothing that I wear as often as possible, probably too often. My Post Katrina style is also different because I am older and able to attend more social events with family and friends.

HB: Has your relationship with clothing and accessories differed pre and post Katrina?  

My relationship with clothing and accessories is different post-Katrina because I love what I wear and put a lot of thought into dressing. I am always looking for something different.

HB: What’s one thing that people may not know about the fashion and style in New Orleans?:

People outside of New Orleans don’t know that we are individuals who create our own styles as opposed to being trendy.  We don’t care what everybody else is wearing or what is popular.

HB: What is one thing you never leave the house without?: 

I never leave the house with something MK, my phone, and lip gloss with a little color.

HB: What is the “signature” thing about your look? 

My signature look is wearing something “pink” along with a MK hand bag and watch.  My hair can be styled curly, straight, or just in a “messy bun” depending on my mood. I always wear my grandmother’s ring because it is very special to me, along with my other accessories. If my  friends or family see any jewelry, shoes, clothing, or accessories in “pink” or an MK accessory, they would definitely say, “Yes!, That’s Macie!”

DON’T MISS:

WARD GIRLS: Macie LaFonta Compares Her Style To NOLA Gumbo was originally published on hellobeautiful.com

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