Monday, July 8, 2013

Colleen Connolly: Secret Pop Icon and Explorer of the World

Colleen Connolly knew Smithsonian magazine was her perfect match. 

“It was definitely one of my top choices,” Colleen said.  “The goal of the institution and everything that falls under it is to increase and diffuse knowledge.”

Colleen can’t think of a better reason to continue writing. She also enjoys the vast range of topics the magazine covers. 

“They cover it all!" she said. "I enjoy accessible science, history, culture and food.” 

Originally from Des Moines, Iowa, Colleen is a journalism and anthropology double major at DePaul University in Chicago. She says family members have majored in journalism but calls none a journalist per se.  Instead, Colleen looks to her grandmother for writing inspiration, naming her the most influential person in her life right now. A writer herself, Colleen says her grandmother contributed to her love for reading and writing at an early age. 

“She didn’t publish anything because she wasn’t interested in that," Colleen said. "But she wrote many, many poems and even a novel. We are so alike, only separated by lots of years!” 

If she wasn’t a journalist disseminating knowledge to the masses, Colleen says she would do something that involves traveling. She admits it would be almost impossible to make a career out of traveling, but, if she could, she'd be a cultural anthropologist. 

“If I could go anywhere in the world right now, I would choose Patagonia,” she said. “I’ve been to Chile and Argentina but didn’t venture that far south. It looks stunningly beautiful, and you are at the edge of the world there. It seems surreal.” 

Being unable to leave the house without her phone, one would think it would be the first item Colleen snagged while packing for a trip. However, if she had only three minutes to pack for a worldwide excursion, she says her top three belongings to grab would be her book Life of Pi, her camera and a notebook.

Outside of writing, her interests include reading, playing tennis, running along Lake Michigan and eating ice cream. And, aside from anthropology and writing, Colleen has a deep reverence for pop icons. 

“This is totally not my personality, but if I died and could come back as anyone, I would definitely choose Madonna,” Colleen said. “I’m sure she has her troubles, but what a crazy, interesting life she’s had. You only live once, so you might as well live it up!”

If she had a chance to interview anyone she would have to do some time traveling. Her first pop interviewee? Michael Jackson.

“I’d also want to interview Julia Child. I’m reading her book now, and it’s fascinating. There’s so much more to her than I thought!”

Written by Morgan Grain, Florida A&M University, InStyle
Edited by Anna Price Olson, University of Alabama, BRIDES

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