Today’s post is my Harper Watters interview! Who is Harper Watters? He is a demi-soloist for the Houston Ballet. As a dancer myself I was immediately captivated by Harper via a Shoe Dazzle ad on Instagram. Harper was recently brought on for a campaign with Urban Outfitters to show off their pride line. We talked about his humble beginnings, his collaboration with Urban and more!
Vida Fashionista (VF): Tell everyone about yourself and background.
Harper Watters (HW): I was born in Atlanta, Ga and adopted at 2 weeks old. My parents are caucasian and both college professors at the time. They met at Brown University. I went to a private school in New Hampshire near Maine and was the only person of color in my town and school. My freshman year of high school I came out to my parents. It was never planned but just felt right. My mom said she knew since I was 2 but was waiting for me to come out. After that I was scared to go back to school. I thought I would be treated terribly and that fear lead me to research performing arts high schools. I auditioned for the Walnut Hill School for the Performing Arts. I got in 2 weeks before the start of my sophomore year of high school. After 2 years of being there, I went to Houston in the summer of my junior year and was placed in the highest level 8 class in the summer intensive. After that I decided to leave high school and I did 2 years in the 2nd company in 2011. I joined the main company and was place in the corp de ballet in 2012 and was promoted to demi-soloist in 2016.
VF: I saw that you just took over Marie Claire Magazine’s Instastory and now you are showing off the pride line for Urban Outfitters. So tell me, why did you agree to be a part of the campaign?
HW: The first thing I did was share the news with my dad. He was so proud and supportive. I wanted to be a part because it’s pride and the story of coming out and what the collection stands for. It helps me reflect on where I started and where I am now.
VF: What influence or how big of an influence do you think dance has in fashion?
HW: In the past 2-3 years brands are looking for dancers to catapult their brands in a different way. Brands aren’t looking for rigid structure anymore. Dancers move better than models. Puma, Gap Fit etc. are using dancers more now. “Dance is fashion and fashion is dance.” Brands are always looking for dancers and good movers.
VF: What is it like to be a part of a fashion for a cause?
HW: It’s so important especially in our political climate and day to day lives to give back and be able to stand up for causes that we care about and people that we care about. I love that this collection gives back to LGBTQ and GLSEN education foundation. There are many brands that are “for pride months” but making something a rainbow doesn’t mean that you are actually making a difference. Over all of the negativity, young boys and young kids thank me for inspiring them.
VF: Ok I have to ask. Let’s talk about your YouTube channel and The Pre-Show. How did that come about?
HW: The only people that get what it’s like backstage is dancers and theater art performers. In an art form with an elite group of people and different characters and upbringings. One day someone said, “thank God that wasn’t caught on camera.” I just thought “but what if it was?” I put my phone up and recorded it, edited it and put it on my YouTube channel. I put a teaser on Instagram to direct to YouTube and it blew up. It happened very naturally. With being consistent with it and having so much fun with it, it doesn’t feel like a job. I would love to turn it into something more.
VF: What’s next for you?
HW: What excites me is using my skills and knowledge of as a trained classical ballet dancers to do new and creative things with new and creative people. Other creative worlds, that’s what I want to do. If I can merge different worlds in a creative way, that’s what I want to do. I want to use my platform if it’s a talk show, a magazine, if it’s a photographer. If I could be the next Oprah, why not? I love fashion, I love music, I love articles, I love TV and reality TV and gossip.
Thanks for reading!