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COOL GIRL: HALEY DENNIS

Cool Girl

COOL GIRL: HALEY DENNIS

Caitlin Rance

Haley Dennis Jeans & A Tee

Meet Haley Dennis, this weeks Cool Girl.Haley is currently a student at Columbia College in Chicago where she majors in dance, and minors in cultural studies. When talking about her love of dance + movement in this interview, Haley notes, "There is nothing like moving with a group of bodies that brings out such an organic/genuine energy." 


Besides answering these questions, what are you doing right now?

I’m laying in bed after a long and strenuous day at the dermatologist/hair salon!

You happen to live + go to school in Chicago. For those who have never been or are planning to go, what are the best spots to check out when in Chicago?

Parson’s Chicken & Fish!!, Museum of Contemporary Art, Antique Taco, Ahjoomah’s Apron, Knee Deep Vintage

You spent a lot of your time in Sarasota before making the big move to Chicago. What was it like going from a place of low friction, to high friction?

Luckily, I have family in NYC so I grew up spending a lot of time there before making the big move to Chicago. In the big transition, I found that one of the largest changes was the transportation. It was a very different experience going from the freedom of jumping in a car vs. public transportation.

You also spend a lot of time in New York! What’s one spot you’d recommend to a friend?

Sockerbit (Scandinavian candy heaven)

Is there any advice you could give to someone about to make that big move from a suburb area to a major city for school?

I would say, seek out those hidden spots in the major city where you can escape. Sometimes an afternoon can rejuvenate your new living conditions. Also, don’t underestimate the sun/bodies of water! I never knew how much my body would miss those two.

What’s the best thing that’s happened to you in the past year?

My ability to establish a life in a city that I never thought I would be willing to do. I’ve also been able to interact with some amazing artists that push me to work on my personal creative content.

Of course, what’s the best advice YOU’VE ever received?

My dad never let me and my siblings forget: "do everything with passion. It’s not about the money, as long as you’re doing something you love, you are set."

When talking to creatives about what inspires them, many cite movies, songs, a piece of clothing, etc. What inspires you?

Video footage, writings, and photographs involving artists or creatives that came before me. I’m inspired by my father’s photographs and paintings, as well as my mother’s creativity and intuition.

What motivates you to wake up every morning play an active role in your life?

What motivates me is my interest in the role I play in the world. I love asking big questions, rhetorical ones and ones that deserve an answer. I’m motivated to experience pleasures in life that can be overlooked. What motivates me is balancing the relationship of selflessness and selfishness in the world. How do I take care of myself and my desires, as well as helping others around me?

this or that

Leather or Denim? Denim

Runway or Vintage? Vintage with some runway items

To love or Be loved? To love

Digital or Film? Film

Eyes or Lips? Eyes

Coffee or Tea? Coffee

Hot or Cold? Cold

Nights in or Nights out? BOTH!

Call or Text? Call

Book or Movie? Movie

Black + White or Color? Color

As a dancer, what is it about dance and perhaps movement in general that you think first attracted you, and now keeps you coming back?

When you do something for so long it is sometimes difficult to pinpoint the moments that pulled you in and made you stay. I think the communal aspect of dance was, and still is a factor that is important to me. There is nothing like moving with a group of bodies that brings out such an organic/genuine energy.

In regards to movement, there is always more to investigate. Our minds and bodies are so powerful and therefore challenge us in ways that others might not be able to. I continue to move because I learn something new about my body and the way I approach moments. I love being able to give myself that opportunity to learn as well as being able to learn from other bodies.

When collaborating with someone on a project or piece, what’s one thing you look for in seeking out a partner?

I love being able to look at two things with a collaborator:

1) The experience

2) The end goal.

I am very much an artist who deeply cherishes the process in which my art is created. Yes, the end result is so important yet getting to that point is something I am really intrigued about investigating. Whether I am working alone or collaborating, establishing these elements are very important to my overall process.

When talking to creatives about what inspires them, many cite movies, songs, a piece of clothing, etc. What inspires you?

Video footage, writings, and photographs involving artists or creatives that came before me. I’m inspired by my father’s photographs and paintings as well as my mother’s creativity and intuition.

What’s one thing you can’t leave the house without (besides your phone) ?

A journal

Quick!!!! You have 10 minutes before you have to leave the house for a mystery event: What are you wearing?

Denim, a vintage tee, a leather jacket, and blundstone boots.

When do you feel most you?

I feel the most me when I am with my 4 other siblings or when I am in a space with friends eating good food and laughing till my stomach hurts.

What are the five items you think everyone should have in their closet?

A black tank top, loafers, a fur coat, undergarments that make you feel confident, and solid t-shirts (don’t forget that a good jacket can add to/transform any look.)

Who are you listening to musically right now?

Noname, Local Natives (duh), Otis Redding, Vince Staples, Solange, Simon & Garfunkle, Lorde, The Beatles

As human beings, with feelings + emotions, we tend to get in these funks that seem so hard to get out of. What’s one way you cure it?

Dancing/movin/groovin. I feel so exhilarated when my body’s strength is able to help me out emotionally. I also think that being social even during times you don’t want to can bring a lot out of a person.

The term “Cool Girl” makes me think of all the badass ladies that have inspired my art, fashion, and more. I think of red lipstick and leather jackets. I think of my friends and the people who live their lives without second guessing their opinions.
jeans & a tee

Never wear anything low rise!


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Interview by Caitlin Rance

Photography by Caitlin Rance