Grit Chic: The Riverdale Review Fashion Series Looks at Diversity Coordinator, Ms. Schorr Lesnick.
Grit Chic is The Riverdale Review’s style series, telling Riverdale community members’ stories through the lens of fashion and personal expression. It lives right here on the Review website. Do you have an interesting style-related story to tell? Is there a Riverdale community member you want to see featured next? Email me at email@example.com.
For our inaugural profile, Grit Chic interviewed Ms. Emily Schorr Lesnick, who wears many hats (although lapel pins are her accessory of choice). In between her demands as Diversity Coordinator, Director of Service Learning, and teaching theater classes, we sat down with the woman known as “ESL” at her desk in the Community Engagement Office.
Blue dress: Free People.
Black leggings: “Because I went to yoga class today, and I like to have easy transformations!”
Shoes: Doc Martens. “I have four pairs of Doc Martens!” She says, annunciating the ‘t’ in ‘Martens.’
Ice Cream Pin: Molly Moon’s, an ice cream shop in Seattle, “because I love ice cream.” Shirley Chisholm Pin: Radical Dreams.
The words “UNBOUGHT & UNBOSSED” caught Grit Chic’s eye. I noticed her wearing a Rosa Parks pin, which I had never seen before and thought was fantastic. But I were ashamed to say we didn’t know who the elegant woman in pearls and glasses was. This didn’t faze ESL in the slightest. “I’ve loved wearing this one because it’s been a great teaching tool for me! My students ask ‘who is that?’ and I say ‘Shirley Chisholm!’ and they say ‘who’s that?’ And they start to ask questions. ‘Wait, was she the first woman to run for president, not Hillary? Was she also the first black person to run for president?’ She was!”
ESL beams as she explains what happens next. “And then they start to ask, ‘Well, why didn’t we learn about her in school?’ And I have Rosa Parks, and Colin Kaepernick-- so they’ve started to engage with the pins.”
The juxtaposition of an ice cream cone for the sake of ice cream next to a trailblazing feminist civil rights activist and politician seems to sum up ESL’s style as a whole. Though we do not know where ESL finds the time, she also works as an improvisational comic and podcaster, which illuminates why her seriousness is combined with a delightful spunk and humor. ESL describes her style as “top button femme,” and again this combines two seemingly contrasting things. “Top button” refers to generally masculine-associated looks like blazers and button-down shirts, while femme simply means feminine. But to ESL, it’s simply a logical extension of her confident and secure identity. It makes sense that her style icons are Jenny Schecter, a fictional character from Showtime’s The L Word, and actor-musician-artist Janelle Monae, whom you may have seen this year in Moonlight or Hidden Figures. “Today I’m wearing blue, but I often wear shades of black and grey, and I think she’s [Janelle Monae] an influence in that way,” muses ESL. “I try to be dapper, and I channel her.”