Hey, guys, serious issue coming here, so buckle up. Normally, I keep my personal life out of this blog since it already gets enough heat because people don’t understand the concept of satire or take themselves too seriously to be self aware, but I’m gonna make an exception here. Something recently happened to me over the past weekend that I want to address since I know there’s a lot of speculation as to what happened and, as a result, I’m getting blamed and criticized for it. I don’t like playing the victim, I just want to get some stuff cleared up, okay?
So, back in December of 2017, I met with Professor Andrew Lear who ran the Shady Ladies, Fashion and Beauty, and Nasty Women tours to do a collaboration for his Fashion and Beauty tour. I volunteered (normally, living history is a job for me) to dress in period clothing for the tour, talk about what I was wearing, and answer questions alongside the professor. I did a promotional video for the tour a few weeks back anticipating anyone interested in the tour. I wasn’t some attention whore who should have known better than to come waltzing into the Met unannounced in period clothing; I was there to teach. I traveled from central Jersey all the way to New York to do this tour with them because I wanted to share my love for history to a tour already interested in historical fashion. I was supposed to be there, Professor Lear had this cleared with the Met– but apparently the ball was dropped somewhere in this ladder of nonsense because I was greeted with hostility.
I arrived at the Met on schedule at 4:00 pm to go on the Fashion and Beauty tour with Professor Lear; everything was going according to plan, the public loved my dress and everything seemed normal. I had another one of my dresses in my arms to show the tour so I could compare styles, too, just to give more examples. Right as I was introducing myself to everyone, a security guard accosted me saying I first couldn’t have the gown in my arms here since there was no outside art allowed in the museum. I tried explaining to her that I was supposed to be here with Professor Lear for the Fashion and Beauty tour and she curtly interrupted me with the question of where the dresses came from stating that the Costume Institute had dresses like mine implying I stole from the museum. She wasn’t having it when I told her these were mine and I brought them for the tour. She then switched gears on me trying to find a reason for me not to be here and by this point, I was starting to get angry. I told her that I had this tour planned for months and was made aware it was cleared for me to be there on tour to which she replied she should have been made aware first. She then began badgering me about not allowing musical instruments on the tour, which struck me as odd since it was pretty obvious I didn’t have any on me then she harassed me about not taking any promotional photos and I explained I was just here to help with the tour and nothing else. She then said I wasn’t allowed here because I was in costume and it would distract from the museum, so I had to leave. The professor and I were shocked about how rudely I was accosted, so we found two other security guards to point us to their supervisor… and guess who it was… It was this asscravat. By this point, I’m fuming– I traveled all the way from my home in New Jersey, got into my period wardrobe, did my hair (I actually wound up sleeping in my hair from the previous night), and went into the city to give a tour I volunteered to help with only to have security harass me. I dragged poor Erik into this tour to help me into and out of everything hoping we could at least meet some people in the Met and try networking so I could work with them to do a concert or something in the future. I was hoping to educate the public and instead, I’m treated like a criminal.
Professor Lear told me he had cleared this with the Met, otherwise we wouldn’t have done this, so I was supposed to be there in period clothing. As I said before, I wasn’t being an attention whore and playing dressup in a museum for pictures. I was there to volunteer on a tour. He asked me to give a quick run down of what I was supposed to talk about so I obliged and gave a little rundown on the Leviathan as well as my hairstyle and people loved it. The tour was about to start, so we parted ways and I exited through the Greek sculpture garden to where the parking garage was… but I was stopped again by the same woman who told me I needed to leave. Unable to stay polite any longer, I yelled at her saying I was leaving and never coming back. Keep in mind, I never said anything profane nor did I make any threats. I was just there to help a tour for free. She was the one calling me a thief first then saying I was disrupting the museum by simply being there. I didn’t even turn around to address her as I made my exit; it was Erik who spotted a security guard stalking us like we were criminals. I yelled at him saying he didn’t need to stalk us, I knew where the exit was. He was actually really sympathetic to us and offered to quietly escort us out; he told me the woman’s name was Yvette Anzaldua and she was supervisor for the weekend or something like that– now I had a name I can address. I apologized for getting angry with him and thanked him for his help before leaving still fuming over what happened to me yet maintaining a friendly smile when the public said hello to me.
I’ve never been so embarrassed in my entire life; I was treated like a criminal for volunteering to help a tour and sharing my love for history. I’ve been going to the Met ever since I was a child and was enthralled by the artwork and history it held. I gather a lot of my inspiration from the Met’s clothing and art exhibits for my historical clothing, so the Met is kinda sacred to me. I have so many fond memories of going there on school trips or for my birthday when I was a child, to be so cruelly expelled from an institution this dear to my heart honestly feels like a betrayal. On one hand, I’m going to make a little light of this and be sort of enthused people thought my stuff was original and thank God they didn’t see the original earrings, brooch, and curling irons on my person! I would have probably been brought out in handcuffs if they noticed those details! Naturally, like any other reasonable person, I took my grievances to the book of Faces and ranted a little… I then started doing a little bit of digging to see if I could find anything regarding costume at the Met and it didn’t say anywhere on their website that I couldn’t be in period clothing to volunteer for a tour. There was even a statement on their website where they claimed to welcome everyone, including undocumented residents of New York. I guess that’s all well and good, but if you show up to help a tour in period clothing, you’re an immediate threat? Good job, Met, good job.
It wasn’t long after I made my little rant that the Daily News contacted me and shared my story– which was great, but people seem to be taking it the wrong way blaming me for the whole fiasco. After ripping my gown apart and saying everything I was making was wrong, many said that I should have known better than to dress up for the museum. Now, I’ve had friends who work at the Met tell me they’ve had people come in costume without issue; friends have told me they’ve worn period clothing to visit exhibits without a problem. Why was I targeted? Why was I treated like a criminal and thrown out? Why was I accused of theft? I’m not an attention whore seeking bad press to ruin the Met, all I want is an apology. I just want to know why it happened to me and not someone else who wasn’t volunteering their time for a tour. This was not what I wanted, I just want to know why I was treated the way I was and to receive an apology. The Met hasn’t responded to the Daily News, but NJ.com did get a response,
“The Met doesn’t have a dress code, but there are guidelines for what visitors can bring in and what activities are allowed in the galleries, and the Museum’s security officers are also there to ensure that anyone entering the building isn’t going to unnecessarily disturb fellow visitors or put the art at risk,”
Yes, because I might steal from you and hide priceless art in my pocket hoops wearing a dress I totally stole from the Costume Institute. Thanks guys. Hyperallergic also covered my Metropolitan fiasco, as well, over here. I’ll keep you posted if there’s another article.
I’m still in a state of shock and hurt from this, to be honest. I don’t know if I’m more shocked with how I was treated or more shocked with the amount of attention this is getting or more shocked with how callous people are. Either way, color me shocking pink because I sure as hell am right about now. I want an apology from the Met and an explanation as to why I was treated the way I was. I’m honestly just glad it happened to me and not someone else so that I can take this as an opportunity to speak out and make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone ever again.
I’ll make a happier post about my Friday sooner than later. Thanks for reading this, guys, I love you.