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Olivia Acosta role models individuality

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By Jennifer Furrow, Talon staff reporter

“I kind of just do what I want and don’t really care what others think.”

At an age where everything seems apocalyptic, many teenagers strive to blend in. They shop at the same stores, wear the same brands, follow the same trends, and even sport the same hairstyles. As she struts down the hall in her “whatever I feel like” wardrobe, Junior Olivia Acosta isn’t concerned with her peers’ opinions; her divergence doesn’t stifle her confidence.

Acosta is commonly described as an upfront, honest, and sometimes intimidating. “You know when you get those liquid watercolors and you are supposed to mix them with water until you get the shade you want? I’m the stuff that comes right out of the bottle. I’m a very intense person,” Acosta clarified. According to Junior Blair Holman, “Livi is very much her own person. She is also one of the craziest, fast talking, opinionated people I know.” Each of Acosta’s closest friends made a point of commenting on her bluntness. She “isn’t afraid to be completely honest and speak the truth. She tells it how it is,” Junior Anna Tickner puts. Acosta admitted, “I don’t have a lot of shame . . . I can be inappropriate and rude, which makes a lot of people uncomfortable,” and “I have a lot and passion and I’m able to get a lot of stuff done, but a lot of people don’t like how fast I move.”

“Livi is amazingly anomalous in that she simultaneously the busiest and most organized person I know,” Junior Nathan Johnston stated, “and she still has a social life.”  Senior Sienna Reynolds agrees. “She seems like such a party person, and she is, she’s really fun, but she’s also really responsible.” As a long time friend, Junior Emily Spezia-Shwiff know better than many. “She really good at having a plan and creating the plan and following it, and also adapting to things that come her way.” As an avid dancer artist, and active participant in a variety of community service and extracurricular activities, including school plays and musicals, robotics, Leos, and Speech and Debate, Acosta recognizes the importance of organization. “I do a lot of stuff, so putting things in boxes and organizing those boxes is how I manage it. I think that you’re a lot more likely to be successful in doing something creative if you have a system.” Unlike many people her age, Acosta doesn’t wait for the pressure to build. “I think that procrastination for the sake of laziness is awful. I can’t understand that. I think if you need to do something, you should do it sooner. At least for me, if I have an assignment I can’t stop worrying about it until I do it. I love having everything happen when it’s supposed to happen.” Furthermore, if everything is in its place “I don’t have to devote brain cycles to it, and the rest of my brain power can go to being creative and thinking differently,” Acosta explained.

Obviously, creativity is a prevalent theme in Acosta’s life. While many teenagers are laying in bed at night staring at screens, Acosta can be found sipping flowery teas and writing in her journal or drawing in her sketchbook. “Art is her big passion,” Spezia-Shwiff emphasized.“She has all these beautiful painting around  her house and she’s like, ‘Yeah I did that three years ago.’ and I’m like, ‘This should be in an art gallery.’” But as many of her friends have said, Acosta’s creativity goes beyond the canvas. Along with making replicas of Harry Potter potions, “We once spent dipping paper in coffee to make invitations to a party,” Junior Emma Dexter explained. Beside memories of time spent doing unique crafts, many recall Acosta’s classic one-liners. After hours of dance classes, walks home, and odd-subjected conversations, Tickner has heard a number of Acosta originals. “She walked into dance today and out of the blue said, ‘MOZZARELLA? What is this communist Russia?” Reynolds has heard her fair share as well. “One time in science a kid asked her what time class got out. She responded with, ‘Eventually o’clock.’ I will always endear that moment,” Reynolds shared. It’s not a stretch to say that Acosta’s expressive side is unique.

Her uniqueness can also be observed through her purchase history and varied wardrobe. Senior Claire Hamada believes that if Acosta “actually needed” something, “she would go out and buy it herself.” Acosta detests frivolous spending. “First of all, I try not to buy into the whole consumerism thing ‘cause it’s good to not buy stuff because you want,” Acosta stated. She likes “funky shoes” but hates shopping at malls. “I think it’s really freaky when you go to a store, and you see a dress you like, and behind that dress there’s like 20 more of the exact same dress.When I go into Macy’s, everything is white and there’s mirrors everywhere, and sometimes I walk into the mirrors, and I just don’t understand what’s going on and I get so confused,” Acosta said.  “It’s more fun for me to go to a thrift store, and hunt for something and find something really cool that you would have never expected to find,” Acosta continued. “I would say my style is definitely kind of all over the place . . . I have a lot of different stuff: I have some pretty preppy dresses and bows that go in my hair, but I also have a lot of really crappy sweaters that I bought for, like, 50 cents . . . and jeans with paint on them.”

Whether she’s working on a project or treasure hunting in second-hand stores, Acosta is likely well prepared. “My life motto is ‘bring your towel’ . . . because you never know what’s going to happen. If you come to school half awake and you’re not prepared, like you don’t bring your towel and you leave your towel at home, you’re not going to get as much out of the day.” But make no mistake, that towel is useful in more areas than academics; sometimes, it can be used for warmth. “Once when I was feeling kinda excluded and targeted for being nerdy,” Johnston recalled, “she told me that people have a hard time distinguishing between genuine curiosity and “know-it-all ness. It helped.”

Her friends know her warmth, but they may be in the minority. “I feel like I give off this vibe like I don’t like most people . . .I don’t hate them,” Acosta laughed. “It’s not that I’m making fun of them; it’s that I’m laughing at their character traits that are entertaining, and it doesn’t mean I value them less.”

Confidence and individuality are the acquired traits Acosta clearly possesses and  believes everyone should strive for. Acosta enjoys “people who are entertaining, and usually that’s people who are slightly different from normal . . . people who are slightly unique and a little off.” She says her friends are “people who are just really comfortable with themselves, and are comfortable with other people who are comfortable with themselves.” But even the most confident sometimes need a pep talk. Reynolds will always remember Acosta’s friendly advice. “‘Be yourself. Be a . . .’ That’s what she said to me.”

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