Fashion has been a part of Kay Threatt’s life since she was a child. She spent years trying on different outfits for her mother, a retailer and personal stylist. Threatt (SFS ‘18) was her mother’s muse, as she puts it.
Threatt is the student coordinator of the Queen House, a Living Learning Community on Magis Row. The message of the house, as Threatt described it, is that it’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it. It provides a place for women of color and allies to represent, replenish, and resist. Threatt’s roommate, Jasmine White (COL, 2018), said that one of the hopes the House is to provide a space for women to express themselves without concern for the gaze of others.
Threatt wants to work in foreign service as a diplomat, although she is heading down a different path, at least for now. She plans to start her career by working in campus ministry for two years. “God is very central to my life,” she said. “I have realized, being at Georgetown, that when I’m stressed out, He falls to the wayside.” When things get hectic in her career, she wants to be able to take five minutes, remember her faith, and go from there.
It’s this grounding in faith that has shaped Threatt’s life. A local from Richmond, Va. (“it’s where the south starts!” she joked), Threatt grew up with her mother, or as Threatt put it, her biggest cheerleader.
Besides trying on outfits for her mother, much of her early experience with fashion came on Sundays. She loved getting dressed up to go to church on Sunday mornings, and she still does. However, there was a bit of rebellion during her early years. She didn’t want to copy her mother’s sense of style, especially after being made to try on so many different outfits.
“Being a child growing up, you kind of want to rebel against your parents a little bit, so I had to find what I loved about fashion,” she said. She eventually grew out of the rebellious phase, learning to embrace the opportunity to create her own outfits.
“My outfit is not complete without a pair of shoes,” she said, referencing her
collection of 30-plus pairs. “You have to walk every single day, so they go with me when I was in Argentina, when I was in Minneapolis this summer.”
Threatt’s bond with her mother, along with the presence of style in her life, followed her to Georgetown. “Once I came to Georgetown, it was an opportunity to really find my own sense of fashion,” she explained.
White said that Threatt’s styles are ever-evolving, mixing between bright and muted colors, and trendy and traditional styles. “I think her changing style sort of reiterates the idea of womanhood, and how femininity and being a woman is something that cannot be boxed in or restricted but rather changes according to the times and the person,” she said.
For Threatt, fashion meant more than just the clothes she wore. It also reflected her deep devotion to her faith, which plays a central role in her life. Part of dressing up for church is respecting her relationship with her religion. “Faith is the most important thing in my life,” she said. “God is the center of my life. I wouldn’t be at Georgetown without Him.”
It wasn’t always so easy, though. “My grandmother very much molded my faith beliefs, but she passed away when I was a freshman in high school. I took care of her. She had cancer. That really shook my faith a lot. I stopped going to church and stopped paying attention to it,” she said.
Threatt’s return to her faith was a gradual process. She says that she took care of her grandmother every day after school and over the summer as her grandmother fought pancreatic cancer. The faith that her grandmother felt so strongly was now being tested.
“I promised God the day we found out [about the sickness]that that would be the end of me ever believing in him. So when she passed away, that was my shutdown.”
Part of what helped her rediscover her faith was the act of getting dressed for church every Sunday. It provided some normalcy, and even helped Threatt remember her grandmother through something she had loved: hats. Getting to wear different hats to church seemed like something small, but it was important.
In the wake of her loss, Threatt turned to dance. The activity had always been a part of her life, but it took on a whole new meaning after her grandmother passed away. A mentor at her church helped her reconnect with her passion for dancing, and she slowly began to return to the community. She’s now a part of the Black Movements Dance Theatre at Georgetown.
As a senior ready to enter campus ministry before trying to become a diplomat, Threatt said that her grounding in faith is what will help center herself. Between that and her fashion sense, she’s confident that there’s always going to be someone out there looking after her.
She describes a dream she had one night: she was dancing in a church. Watching her in the back row? Her grandmother.
Photo credit: Rachel Zeide