Text: Stan Becton
Photography: Tyler Davis

Matthew Henderson is a student here at Carnegie Mellon and is in his first year with SPIRIT Fashion Show. We had a Q&A session on how ‘discovery’ has impacted him.


Matt, what made you want to get involved with SPIRIT Fashion Show?

Spirit Fashion Show felt to me as the best way to come out of my shell and be more involved with things other than my classes on campus. I spent my freshman year overly focused on getting my footing academically and felt that I missed out on finding community and expressing myself creatively. To me, SFS provides an intensely supportive environment that makes me feel more at home on campus every day.


That’s great that SFS has been able to be an outlet for you. So tell me, how has SFS helped you in your personal discovery?

I discovered how much control I can have over my confidence in situations that would usually make me anxious, and I owe much of this realization to SFS. Coming to CMU, I really never imagined I would ever be able to do anything close to modeling, and [I] let anxiety prevent me from entering situations that would allow for personal growth. After hearing about Spirit, I decided that when tryouts came around I wouldn't let apprehension make me avoid another opportunity to step out of my comfort zone. I had understood that a lot of my fear in the past was mentally imposed, but once I was actually in the room to walk, I felt I had somehow discovered my ability to remove it.


I can tell that you’ve really have grown since being with SFS. Since we’re talking about your discovery, how do you define the word?

When I think of discovery, I almost always think of self discovery. I categorize this as moments of reflection where you can concretely understand a new facet of your personality, whether that be the realization of something new that brings you joy, something that keeps you healthy through stress, or really anything else. I feel that these realizations are extremely important to allow for personal growth and a strong sense of personal autonomy.


What do you see as some of the benefits from understanding discovery?

Through discovery I feel much more able to carry myself how I want without anxiety to dictate a safer appearance. I dress for myself,  have let my hair grow for myself and generally feel more relaxed about my day to day.


Are there any downsides to discovery?

I would say that sometimes I have to remind myself to avoid taking on more than I can manage. I feel that this discovery has had an overall very positive impact on my mental health, yet it can be easy to forget just how fundamental my academics need to be to my schedule. I'm still working towards finding the best balance!

As you can see, Henderson has used discovery to enhance his daily life. You can see more of Matthew Henderson and his discovery on Saturday April 6 from our 32nd Annual Show, Apollo!