Longtime readers might remember Nicole from way back in 2015, in the early days of the blog. She was an undergraduate student back then (and wore all black for our shoot), and now she’s a badass full time engineer and grad student. I (and so many people we walked past) could not get enough of her outfit! Check it out 🔻
Tell us a little about you!
My name is Nicole (she/her). I live in Seattle with my partner, Eric, and two chihuahuas: Gracie & Frankie. I’m a full-time software engineer at Twitter and a part-time Computer Science MS student at University of Washington. In my spare time, I like arts and crafts (especially collaging, painting, knitting, & sewing). I love music, and I learned how to play a lot of instruments growing up as a band kid. I love the Sims 4, standup comedy, roller skating, astrology, and yoga. I’m very passionate about socialist, feminist, and animal rights activism. I’ve kept a journal since I was 11 years-old. I have a mountain of half-finished projects and books that I am 75% through.
What are you wearing?
- “git it grrl shirt” - Bubblesort Zines
- pink trousers - Big Bud Press
- rhinestone platform boots - Dolls Kill
- belt - Good Will (no brand)
- tassel earrings - Baublebar from Target
- pleather pink heart backpack - Good Will (no brand)
- faux fur coat - Buffalo Exchange (brand: elevenses)
- glitter nail polish (strobe light) - Sally Hansen
- bee ring - mejuri
- semi-circle ring - gldn
How do you decide what to wear each day?
I’m an unashamed two-faced gemini. I have a bunch of different aesthetics: middle school art teacher, beach goth, widowed granny, old-timey vampire, rainbow plumber, cottage witch, pastel goth, grunge punk, stoner hippy, etc. The first thing I consider when selecting an outfit is who I’m going to be with today. I have a lot of stylish friends, and I want my outfit to complement their’s. Have you seen Dua Lipa’s music video for “New Rules”? That’s my aspiration- I love dressing to complement the group!! If I’m hanging out with Anni, I’ll wear my black lipstick and black platform boots. Oh, Abi & Stephanie are going to be there? Better bring the glitter. If I’m out with Alex, we’ve probably already decided on one of our matching sweaters. When I’m with Hannah, I’ll wear wide-leg pants, my rings from House of Intuition, and a basket purse. Fashion is more powerful in a grrl gang than it is on its own.
If I’m not going out with the group, I’m probably going to work. Every day I go into the office is another opportunity to try out some wacky outfit, and I get a lot of feedback from my co workers- mostly positive, but sometimes confused. When experimenting with wearing something a little strange, I try to pair it with something normal that I wear often. For example, I was trying out this puffy mesh sleeve crop top with black sequins that I found in a thrift store in Portland, so I paired it with my signature Doc Martens and jorts, and everyone loved it. I post my favorite outfits on my Instagram, and I get a lot of feedback from my friends which helps me decide what I want to try out next. Sitting around at the office for 8 hours is also the best time to wear your less comfortable (but very cool) shoes.
What do you feel most you in and why?
I feel very me in all the outfits I wear, but I feel the most me when I’m comfortable! In my favorite outfits, I can easily run to catch a bus 5 blocks away, join an impromptu yoga session in the park, stand around at any bar for hours, or stomp around in a mosh pit. In the summer, this outfit is jean shorts (AKA “jorts”), a cropped t-shirt, and Doc Martens boots. Any other time of year, just add some leggings under the jorts, and a big fuzzy sweater.
Besides comfort, I love wearing monochromatic outfits (as you can probably tell) because they’re so eye-catching and kind of silly. One of my favorite outfits is my yellow clogs, yellow corduroy shorts, and yellow t-shirt, and my banana earrings. It’s so silly that it makes me laugh just thinking about it.
How has your style evolved to what it is now?
I always want to look tough, for a lot of reasons. I want to be respected, and as a personified jelly donut, looking tough on the outside helps me feel tough on the inside. I used to think I could only accomplish this by wearing all black (as shown in my previous Fib Seq shoot!). I would always wear black lipstick, winged black eyeliner, and black stomping shoes. I hated being bullied as a kid, so I just started naturally wearing things that I thought embodied “don’t fuck with me”. When I moved to Seattle three years ago, I realized that being tough comes in many shapes and forms which freed me to experiment with a lot of other styles.
Most of the other influences on my style have been more subtle. A couple years ago, I transitioned from vegetarian to vegan, so I’ve slowly started replacing my leather/wool clothing items with vegan alternatives. I’ve always worn a lot of secondhand clothes, which means I have a lot of clothes that *almost* fit. As I’ve gotten better at sewing, I’ve been able to make my clothes fit better which has made a huge difference in making me look more put-together.
What are you trying to say with this outfit?
So what am I trying to say with this outfit? YOU CAN BE TOUGH IN PINK. Like really tough. That’s why I love this pink pepper spray. It says “feminine, soft, cute”, but it also says “don’t fuck with me” (which is my mantra).
s I used to be a total doormat - I was easily steamrolled over, ignored, and bullied. I don’t let that happen anymore (at least not as often). The entire outfit is actually pretty masculine. This style of trousers is traditionally masculine (they are technically unisex, not women’s pants). I’m wearing a “tech” t-shirt which is usually associated with men, though the actual design is feminine. The shoes are obviously the best part: they are sparkly and covered in rhinestones, but these shoes are hard, rough, and sharp - like armor. Trust me, you would not want to be kicked by these shoes.
Is your professional style different from your personal style?
One of the things I love most about my job is that the dress code is extremely relaxed. I am so blessed to get away with whatever gnarly hair, makeup, outfits, tattoos, or piercings I want. I was a little nervous about some of my tattoos, specifically the naked lady on my arm. I really thought it was going to be considered obscene (even though it’s literally taken from a painting in the Dallas Museum of Art), but my manager said she thought it was beautiful! I’m becoming more and more comfortable with pushing the boundaries on business wear.
In summary, I won’t wear my hot pink, pleather booty shorts, and I’ll make an effort to wear a bra every day, but other than that, my professional style is my personal style. I had one internship where I had to hide my nose ring and wear a blazer every day, and it was absolutely dreadful. I’ll never go back to that again.
What are you working on at the moment, and what do you love about it?
I’ve been working on a distributed blob store at Twitter. Most of what we store is photo and video data from Twitter users, but we also store internal metrics and other random things. This was the first team I joined after graduating college, and I could not be more lucky. The team is incredibly small (currently 9 engineers, but we were down to 3 at one point!), considering the scope of what we’re doing, which means I’ve never had useless or mundane projects! I’ve had to take on a little more responsibility than I felt comfortable with, but I also became a much better engineer in a very short amount of time because of it.
Most recently, I mentored a new-grad engineer on a project to migrate our write replication system (how we propagate writes to replicas) from using an internal messaging system at Twitter to using Apache Kafka. This migration needed to be done very carefully because of the potential data loss and backwards compatibility requirement.
I’m currently working on privacy and data protection. Because my team’s service stores user data, we have to be careful about how and when we delete that data, so I’m redesigning our storage system’s garbage collection process to meet GDPR requirements and Twitter’s internal Privacy and Data Protection requirements
How did you land where you are now? Did you have a plan?
It’s not the best reason, but a lot of my success is largely due to spite. When I was a kid, dad sent my two older brothers to space camp and built computers with them, but everyone insisted that I wouldn’t enjoy those things. As an introverted, shy kid, I liked computers a lot. I played a lot of Neopets and spent hours customizing the HTML and CSS on my profile. I played a lot of Sims 2 and loved downloading mods and creating custom content.
As I got older, my parents made it clear to me that they would not help me pay for college. I knew I needed to take out a large amount in student loans, and financial independence was my top priority. I decided on computer science because I knew it paid well. Although I liked computers as a kid, I knew almost nothing about computer science. My older brothers (who were also computer science students at the time) told me I was too stupid to get a degree in computer science, which really fueled the spite that allowed me to graduate cum laude in 4 years with a BS in Computer Science and a minor in Women’s & Gender Studies. I’m just lucky that I also coincidentally enjoyed it. I interviewed for a few jobs after graduating, and I accepted my job at Twitter solely because they offered me the most money which helped me pay off my student loans in just a few years. And I can’t believe my luck because I think I have the best tech job ever on the coolest team ever, and it was all unplanned.
What’s a project you’ve worked on that you’re proud of?
I built an in-memory cache layer on our storage hosts that saved us many HDD reads! I also created a filter to ignore duplicate writes which also saved us many HDD writes. Working on tech infrastructure means that I don’t ever have the gratification of seeing impacts on users directly, but these two projects felt tangibly impactful to me regardless!
Are there any misconceptions about STEM fields that you’d like to clear up?
The misconception that bothers me most is that you have to be obsessed with your field (especially computer science) to be successful. I don’t have any computer science side-projects. I don’t even like looking at a computer outside of work, and this is coming from someone who LOVES their job. I used to feel insecure because I didn’t have an iOS app, website, or video game side project to show off like most of my peers in tech! But now I feel comfortable letting my work and school projects speak to my technical skills. It’s great to love your field so much outside of work, but it’s not required to have an enjoyable, successful career like mine.
Anything else you’d like to share with the audience?
Check out my previous FibSeq shoot to see a lot of the style evolution I referenced! Looking back on it now, I feel proud of how much I’ve grown and changed.
Is there something you’d like to hear about from the people reading this?
I’d love to hear from other people with a wide range of aesthetics on how to make your wardrobe and living spaces more cohesive.
What is the best way for people to connect with you?
Twitter - @negiusti
I met up with Nicole while I was back in Seattle for a week before moving to New York to start my new job - I’m thrilled to have her launch our Where Are They Now series, and excited to keep adding to it as I find myself in the same city as people we’ve featured previously.
As always - please hit me up (instagram, twitter, email, comments, etc) if you’d like to be on the blog.
xx Beth ✨