Text: Stan Becton
Photography: Christina Jin


Shadie Ellington, first joined SPIRIT Fashion Show, as a freshman during our 30th anniversary show Resistance. Now in her 3rd year at Carnegie Mellon, Ellington returns to SFS with a new sense of liberation and freedom.

“It took me a while to find my liberation at CMU. Freshman year I was so centered on just staying above water with my grades I forgot that college is a holistic experience outside of just my GPA,” said Ellington.  “[When I started] making sure I took time to do things that made me happy, I've enjoyed the city and my college experience so much more.”

Ellington now finds herself taking time to explore as it helps her feel more free and liberated.  She has found liberation to be empowering as she can be her true self.

“I have a relatively strong personality so around most people I try to tone myself down, but when I'm around people that match my energy, I can be my complete self.  Nothing feels better than that,” said Ellington.


Ellington self describes liberation as “freedom to see and decide what choice is best for me and to enjoy in all aspects of that wholeheartedly”. However, she does acknowledge that there can be a downside to being liberated as it can lead to unnecessary judgement. Despite whatever judgement may come, Ellington still says,

“At the end of the day it's important to live your life for yourself. Only you know how to make yourself happy so you can't sit around waiting for when it's the right time to start making choices that bring you closer to being true to you”.