Hi, we’re Hollis and Grace! - Let us introduce ourselves
If we haven't met before, this newsletter will give you a quick glimpse into the conversations we have together…
G Alright, let’s get this show on the road! Give the people a quick intro.
H Okay! My name is Hollis Baker. I am 22, maybe 23 by the time this comes out, and I like to think… a lot. Your turn!
G Haha, okay. My name is Grace Coudal and I currently use she/her pronouns. I'm definitely 23 at this point if Hollis is 23 because our Scorpio birthdays are a day apart, and I’m originally from Chicago, just like Hollis
H Oh my god, did I literally forget to say my pronouns? You only asked me like 3 questions
G Haha yeah you did, do you wanna share them?
H Yeah! I use she/her/hers as well, but you keep talking
G Okay, wellll I like to learn about people's … secrets and their intimate lives. No, okay wow, that came off way too cryptic
H It was beautiful haha. To start, why don’t you tell the readers about some things you enjoy in life.
G Over the years I've kind of accepted that the majority of work and entertainment I like is about real people's lives, which is why I love personal artwork, watching documentaries, reading biographies and self-care books, and I really love reality tv. I mean people always say those shows are scripted but I won't allow myself to accept that. What about you?
H This might be repetitive but I also really like self-care books because I think that a lot of people are just looking for perspectives to make more meaning out of life. And that, which I will say on all my platforms, is what I think about more than anything. And one of the things that makes meaning out of my life is absurdity. And that is what I get from reality tv
H Because at the end of the pearly gates of life, someone is just standing saying “Girl, that was just a joke”
G “And it was all scripted”
H And I don't think that's unlikely but that's a conversation for another day... I also love documentaries, specifically about musicians. Probably because they have very abnormal, larger-than-life experiences, and too often have to craft a persona and stick to the script their entire careers. And it's all just really fascinating.
G Now it makes sense why we watched Never Say Never together that one day a few summers ago. Because if there is one white, cis, straight man we're having on this damn Substack, you know who it is. Justin Bieber. Because that boy has a story to tell.
H Great minds think alike!
G Why don’t you tell us a bit about where you’re coming from or our credentials? Not that we need to be proving ourselves to anyone, but ya know the people might be curious
H Yeah! So I went to Spelman, which is an HBCU in Atlanta, and HBCU stands for historically black college and university if you don't know that
G: I would hope the people that are reading this would know what that is, but if they don't, I guess we're welcoming them in
H You never know. I mean we live and we learn! Anyways, I was a sociology anthropology major there, which I loved because sociology and anthropology as a degree is a lot of critical thinking, a lot of writing, and a lot of reading. And really just asks the question of like “Why do we live like this? What's going on? What does it mean?” and then hopefully you take the next step and start thinking “How can we make it better?”
I was in something called the Social Justice Fellowship Program at school, where throughout your 4 years you take on a project and collaborate with others to carry out your project’s vision. So I was with an organization called URGE which is a reproductive justice organization because I’m passionate about health and wellness and just people having a good quality of life, which is what reproductive justice is all about. It was definitely a cornerstone of my college experience, and there are elements of it that I want to continue to create in my life now because outside of academic spaces, there's just not a lot of opportunity for communal learning, especially that’s accessible.
G That's very well said.
H Thanks! So what did you like to do with your time in college?
G That's a great question. I graduated from the University of Michigan where I studied Art & Design and Sexuality and LGBTQ+ Studies. Naturally, I loved a lot of my courses but I have some issues with the institution, or should I say the true corporation of Michigan overall, but that's a story for another day.
When I was in college, I was a part of two main communities that helped shape who I am today. The first is a grant program called Optimize, which is about a year-long entrepreneurial incubator that I was a fellow of and then a mentor for. The whole purpose of Optimize is to give grants to people that are actively trying to create a more just and sustainable world through solutions which I find inspiring. On the other hand, the other community I was a part of in college was my co-op, which was like a student cooperative house.
H Not a house!!
G I know, such a white granola girl
H I'm not even hating
G So, yeah, I lived with 30 people in a house and that taught me how to live in a community with people, communicate effectively, and ultimately showed me that people are really complex. My time at my co-op, Nakamura, was a beautiful and crazy experience and I would do it all over again, even during the pandemic. Living there really just teaches you some shit, and it makes you a very understanding person.
H I bet!
G Okay, what’s something you want to be better at?
H Mine would be leaning into sensitivity. I'm on a long journey to being more sensitive and just more expressive with my feelings.
G That’s powerful. Mine would be that I want to get better at moving my body? I don’t want that to come off the wrong way, but it really is just like the longevity of life thing. So I'm basically going to become a gym rat. No, just kidding, but I do hope one day I get that workout inspo, otherwise, I'm just going to have to keep living in a four-story walk-up.
H What is a lesson you've learned recently?
G Ha! It's so corny and lowkey depressing, but probably that truly no one is perfect, everyone is flawed, and a lot of people are projecting. What about you?
H: “Live, laugh, love” That should be the name of our Substack. No, mine would be “This is complicated.” I think it's all probably more complicated than you initially realize.
G One hundred percent. Ok, lastly, describe your ideal Friday evening.
H I’ve been trying to get back into doing things that I liked to do as a kid. I used to swim competitively when I was younger, and I really liked swimming, but at that time it was miserable because it was like you're coached and forced to perform. But I've been swimming again because I love being in the water, so ideally my Friday would be that- super peaceful with little to no human interaction just vibes in the pool.
G I think my ideal Friday would be just going out to a really good dinner and then sitting and drinking some wine somewhere outside and just talking.
H With a breeze?
G Oo yeah with a nice summer breeze and then coming home to listen to some good music and having the time slowly pass you by. And you feel like you're experiencing life.
Thank you for being curious enough to make it to the end! We hope you enjoyed this small glimpse into our conversations and feel like you got to know us just a little bit better. Within our newsletter, you will have a lot of time to read more about us as individuals, the things we’ve experienced, and the paths that we are on now. To learn more about us say hi via Instagram @hollisb and @gracecoudal.
❣️ Light prompts for you:
If someone asked you what’s something you want to be better at right now, what would you say?
What does your ideal Friday night look like?