Though she once dreamt of life as a mermaid, this art history major now spends her time educating the new crop of St. Elmo members, getting snaps at Excelano and counting down the days until graduation, all while strutting her superlative “Street” style.
STREET: Congratulations on winning the Senior Superlative for Best Dressed. Did you aggressively campaign? Be honest.
Sarah Richter: No, I was shocked! I think my roommate Beryl Sanders deserved it! I told my mom I was nominated and she made this weird face and was like, “Have they seen your weird denim dress or your awkward lace up shoes? Do you wear those at school?” I told her, “Yes! People like me! It’s fine!” Then when I won she told everyone. Even my mom’s manicurist texted me with emoticons saying, “We always knew you had it in you!” I love Jeannine.
STREET: We love your cheetah–print nails, courtesy of Jeannine. Who’s your fave Cheetah Girl?
SR: Only Raven. The rest are dispensable. And thanks!
STREET: How’d you get involved with Excelano?
SR: The first show I ever went to was my own. My friend Simone Stolzoff, who I met at a Kelly Writers House open mic night, encouraged me to come out to audition, even though I’d never read any of my poetry aloud until my audition.
STREET: How touchy–feely is the spoken word community behind the scenes?
SR: First meeting, they break you down. You need to stand this way, don’t talk about anchors, freckles, ribcages—don’t even think about it. It’s not as militant as it sounds, but it’s hard to avoid those clichés.
STREET: Is it harder to write or perform your poetry?
SR: The performing is way more nerve–wracking than writing, to the point it restricts my writing. It’s gotten harder over the years to perform, because the more you’re in Excelano, the more you understand how great it is and how your words have meaning. And then you’re like, “Oh, wow, people really take this seriously.”
STREET: Who’s your alter ego?
SR: Well, my nicknames are Slick Richter, Slick Dichter, Clit Lichter, Kick Trickster and Trina Rat. But my superego is the bouncer at Legion. Man, he’s got that shit on lock. He’s in control and powerful.
STREET: What kind of New Member Educator are you going to be for Elmo?
SR: I’m known as a bit of the, quote, “ice queen.” My partner–in–crime is the kindest human being, so we’ll balance each other nicely. I’m very good at being intimidating.
STREET: Has your final semester panic attack set in yet?
SR: I’m not getting upset about it. I’ll miss my friends, but people are having nervous breakdowns and I’m just looking at my watch.
STREET: As you move on, what will be the departing lesson you’ll take from Penn?
SR: Wear and do whatever you want and let other people worry about what they think about you. I was like, I could be giving a fuck or not giving one. One of those options is way more fun.
STREET: There are two types of people at Penn…
SR: People that are on one side of my binary and people who are on the other.
STREET: What was your first dream job?
SR: A mermaid or a mother. Which is horrible because I look at babies now and I actively dislike them. I’m like, “You nauseate me because I’m scared of having one of you.” Especially twins, since my dad has an identical one. I called them both Uncle Daddy until I was nine.