Read + See

Human Woman: Wilma Rudolph

I came across this incredible photo of Wilma Rudolph and it stopped me in my tracks. I didn’t know anything about her, so I did a little digging—turns out this woman was a complete boss. Actually, so was her mom: Wilma was stricken with polio as a child and lost the use of her left leg. Massage therapy was the answer, but it was too expensive for a family with 19 children. (!) So, Wilma’s mom taught herself and her daughters the massage techniques. After five years, Wilma overcame her disability and ditched her leg brace for good.

My doctors told me I would never walk again. My mother told me I would. I believed my mother.
— Wilma Rudolph

After that, it was on: she became a star in high school basketball and track, and went on to set a world record for the 200 meters in the 1960 Olympics. So, from partial paralysis to Olympic gold in a decade—pretty sure you can take whatever your excuses are getting in your way and kick them to the curb.

Human Woman: America Ferrera

Who the hell was I? And what else was I capable of that I had never dared to try?

This line, from America Ferrera's essay about triathlon training, hit home in a big way. That moment of realization, when you finally see that you're capable of so much more than you've allowed yourself to imagine, is the most empowering thing. I hope you've had it for yourself, but if not, realize this: You can do anything. You just have to do it.


Human Woman: Shannon Noon

There are badass women across the globe that I’d like to feature on this site, but to kick things off, I decided to start close to home.

My sister, Shannon Noon, has built an incredible career for herself and I’ve been lucky enough to watch it grow from go. As an interior designer for an architecture firm, she essentially creates the vibe of a space. She’s a vibe creator. (Can we make that a thing?)

Most recently, she’s been working her magic on concert venues. The Fillmore in Philadelphia has her fingerprints all over it, from the lights over the bar to the art on the walls to the walls themselves. I’ll let her give you the details.


Shannon Noon | Interior Designer / Resource Coordinator

HW: Break down what that job title actually means.

SN: So as Resource Coordinator, I am the point person for all sales reps that come to our office with products that fit into our projects—think furniture, paint, carpet, flooring, tile, that sort of thing. I’m a go-to for our design staff when they need product recommendations. We coordinate and organize all the materials coming in, and try to identify new sources that are project-appropriate and fit our aesthetic.

We have a massive library of products and materials in our office. Picture an actual library, but instead of shelves filled with books, we have books with samples of carpet in them, and fabrics in every pattern and color.  It’s always on the office tours because it looks like so much fun! People love to look around at all of the materials we have here. I also manage the students that work here with us. Recently, I’ve been focusing more on design work and less on the library.

As an interior designer here, I have been specializing in entertainment venues. It’s been an exciting segment to learn more about. We listen to the client goals and ideas then come up with concepts to help them realize the spaces they’re looking for, or the desired effect.

Did you have a lightbulb moment when it came to choosing this career?

Yes! I remember it so clearly! I took an Introduction to Interior Design principles class as a fluke. It was honestly just because I needed more credits, so I ran down the class schedule for that semester and that was the class that sounded interesting and fit the hole in my schedule.

I found that it came easy to me, and I seemed to be doing better than the people who needed that class for their major. I remember working on a project in a common room as my friends left for a party. When they came back I was in the same spot, still working. They were shocked, and so was I because I had no idea how much time had passed. I remember calling Mom to say I think I needed to change my major.

It made sense. I don’t know how many kids spent time measuring their bedroom to draw it to scale on graph paper, or cutting out teeny scaled pieces of their furniture to play with room arrangements. Pretty sure that isn’t normal. (Ed. Note: She really did this as a kid. I can attest.)

Can you describe a typical day? Does one exist?

Not really. One day might be spent in our library, hunting for materials to help build a palette for the next project. Another might be coordinating deliveries of furniture samples to arrange for a client to test them out in a meeting. The next I could be at my desk with headphones in, drawing all day or prepping our next presentation.

What are the parts of your job that feel the least like work?

Ha, spending hours on Pinterest looking for inspiration! Add in a glass of wine and I’m pretty sure that’s a dream job for some people!

No work, all play: What would you do with a free day?

I have two girls, so free days don’t come around too often. But when one does come around, it’s just downtime for us. We cook, bake, watch a movie—really just chill and spend time together.

What’s next for you? What’s on the horizon that you’re excited about?

We just presented design concepts to one of our most exciting clients, and they loved it. I’m eager to get that moving forward and see it come together. They are very hands-on so I enjoy collaborating with them. I had a lot of firsts this year and I’m excited to see them get completed: my first restaurant is opening this spring, and I am in the middle of my first office renovation in over a decade.

Keep your eyes peeled for these projects, everyone. Shannon's LinkedIn is a good place for updates on her projects and also for lady-focused business insight, so check it out. And thanks for sharing, Shannon! 

- xoxohw


Not all heroes wear capes.

That shirt says ‘Human Woman’? It should say ‘Super Woman’ with all the bullshit you ladies have to put up with everyday.

Quote of the day from a complete stranger and new favorite person who saw my sister, Shannon, sporting her Human Woman tee while out on the job in LA. 

More shirts coming very soon (yes, you need one) and more from Shannon, too.  


One more thing.

Because it helped this morning, some thoughts from writer, friend and generally kick-ass lady Emily:

Guys, I seriously cried all day yesterday. Drive to work, at my desk, in the bathroom, the whole drive home (peak ugly-cry) at home. It was bad. But my brother gave me some perspective, which was helpful. He said: 

This too shall pass. Think of the McCarthy era. Gave way to the ‘60s and great civil rights advances. It’s a roller coaster and this is the biggest low of our lives. But we’ll come back. More votes for the good guys last night than for hate and fear. Best cure for all this despair and anxiety is to take some direct action.

Which brings me to this list from Jezebel of actions to start taking, right now.

I think I'm going to volunteer for Planned Parenthood. I have utilized the fullest extent of their services, from the preventative to the OH FUCK, but never showed up for them. The time has come.