Since my experience away from the Midwest was such an interesting time for myself, I often think about other people who have left the Midwest and what their experiences are like. I decided to launch a series called "Midwest Expat" where I chat with a Midwesterner who has moved elsewhere to see how their Midwest is showing.
I met Willie Sinclair III in college – we both went to the University of Wisconsin-Madison and took a few design classes together. The first time we met, he called me "Sammy Sweetheart" (Jersey Shore was big at the time), and we became fast friends. Willie is now living in New York City, and has an awesome job. Learn more about his crazy cool life, and check out his take on being a Midwesterner in New York!
My Midwest Is Showing: What is your hometown, and where do you live now? How long have you lived there?
Willie Sinclair III: I’m from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and I currently live in New York City! I moved out here in August 2012 to go attend The Fashion Institute of Technology as part of an extension of my studies at The University of Wisconsin-Madison.
MMWIS: Tell me about your amazing job. What does it entail?
WS: I’m currently the wardrobe assistant for The Wendy Williams Show. Every day is a little bit different, but I assist the lead wardrobe stylist Memsor Kamarake in preparing Wendy for the show. We visit showrooms and work directly with brands to secure items so she’s all ready to film the show everyday.
MMWIS: What's your lifestyle like? Describe a typical day.
WS: A typical day for me begins getting into the office around 7am and preparing for the arrival of Wendy. We pick out 3 options each morning for her to choose from depending on her mood. Wendy usually arrives by 8am and decides on a look and we will sometimes have a brief fitting just in case any emergency alternations need to be made. Once we’ve decided on a look, I then being working on the wardrobe credits for our official website. Each day we post the details of the look from head to toe on wendyshow.com. Once the credits are started, I'll return to the dressing room to pick out options for her accessories (earrings, bracelets and shoes) and we complete the look. Once Wendy is on air we finish the credits and start preparing for the next day’s episode, take care of any returns etc.
MMWIS: Favorite thing about where you live now?
WS: I currently live in the South Bronx and my favorite part about living here is the very clear distinction from Manhattan. I like going home and feeling like its somewhat of an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. It’s so rich in culture, the food is amazing and it’s WAY less expensive to live in than Manhattan or even most of Brooklyn.
MMWIS: What do you miss most about the Midwest?
WS: Every now and then I miss driving. There’s something very calming about it for me. I also miss cheese curds, lol. People here don’t really understand what they are or ever even heard of them. And most of all I miss my mom and seeing my family. Due to my work schedule I usually only get to visit around the holidays for a few days.
MMWIS: What don't you miss?
WS: I don’t miss the frigid temperatures in the winter. It gets cold here but not nearly as cold and the major snowfalls are minimal.
MMWIS: What's something you know now that you didn't know living in the Midwest?
WS: I now understand the importance of work/life balance. In the Midwest, people are pretty easy going. In New York, everyone is moving at a fast pace. When I first moved here I was over working myself and became burnt out after about a year and a half. I had to figure out how to create time for myself to live life and do things outside of work. Working in a creative field it’s important to have life experiences and use them as a source of inspiration.
MMWIS: How does your Midwest show in your new location?
WS: LOL it actually doesn’t show too much anymore. When I first moved here I had a heavier Wisconsin accent. It still comes out when I say a few words like "bag" or "bagel". You can also tell at crosswalks (I’m so used to waiting for the traffic lights to change when true New Yorker will just walk whenever they want).
MMWIS: Do you think you will ever live in the Midwest again?
WS: That’s a very good question…Hmm… I can see myself living in Chicago. I can also see myself raising a family in Madison. If the right opportunity presented itself I would relocate in a few years. But for now, I’m perfectly ok calling NYC home.
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