• UO Interviews: Dayna Christison

    Meet the amazing, stereotype-defying, rule-breaking Dayna Christison — a young New Yorker who turned a personal battle with cancer into a career as a UO model. We spent an afternoon in Brooklyn with Dayna to learn more about her story.
    Photos by Julia Robbs

    Above: Robyn High-Rise Pinstripe Flares, LIFE logo tee, Florence slingback heels, Duster Jacket

    Can you share a bit about yourself + your upbringing?
    I'm a 25-year-old lady currently residing in a small town called Warwick, NY, which is about an hour and a half Northwest of the city. I grew up here, moved to the city for college, and then moved back here around three years ago when I was diagnosed. 

    My mom taught me how to draw at an early age. We started with pencil drawings and it evolved to paint or pastels or whatever was around. Some of the best memories I have are sitting on our front porch and painting the trees change color on a rainy morning. I can almost still smell it. From there I took mostly to art classes but I definitely tried my hand in a whole slew of things when I was growing up. From pottery to candle making, pole vaulting, school plays, and everything in between I was a pretty active youngster.

    I was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma when I was 22 after I had just graduated college...as if that isn't already a crazy period of your life. Trying to send out your resume one day and ending up in the hospital the next is not really what I had expected my post-grad plans to be. I felt okay with getting Hodgkins because it was the "more common" cancer for 20-somethings and because Hodgkins is usually "the curable one." But, as every doctor has told me and it's rang so true to me is that everyone is different and reacts differently to certain treatments so there's no real way of saying that one disease is more easily cured than the other. Since I was diagnosed, I've gone through three different chemotherapies and two stem cell transplants. 

    I started working with photographers after my second transplant, once I became stable enough to walk around again and get back to what I called normal at the time. I had been asked to model prior to getting sick and I didn't really pursue it because I didn't feel like I needed to. After I had been sick for a while and I had lost all of my hair (eyebrows, eyelashes, and all), I would feel kind of like a gross alien sometimes and I would search for bald chicks with killer style or an awesome attitude to try to emulate and sometimes that was hard to find. So, when my friend Ryan approached me asking me to model for him with my bald head I knew that I wanted to do that for other people in my situation, and help  them to feel better about whats happening to them even in the smallest way. 

    What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned this year?
    To let it go and to listen to what your body is telling you that it needs. 

    Can you share more about your personal style? What are some staple clothing pieces for you? Who are some of your style icons?
    My style is ever-evolving. Usually vintage based with some little twists here and there. I've also been in this stage for a bit where I sometimes like to leave the house and see how many things I can wear that don't go together. 

    Staples definitely include my green Pendleton plaid pants, leotards of any kind, Levis denim jacket, and Converse. 

    My style icons are Lisa Bonet, Lou Doillon, Debbie Harry, and Florence Welch.

    Who are some of your role models?
    Erin Wasson, Vivienne Westwood, David Bowie, and Eve Salvail.

    Can you share a personal mantra or favorite quotation?
    "Only in darkness can you see the stars."

    Above: Denim Anorak JacketDuster Jacket

    Who are some of your favorite artists, musicians, and writers right now?
    Artists: Ana Teresa Barboza, Howard Nostrand, and Eugenio Recuenco. 
    Musicians: Ty Segall, Haybaby, Sylvan Esso, and Pup.
    Writers: Barry Eisler, Kurt Vonnegut, and Erik Larson.

    What are 5 other things you’ve been interested in lately?
    1. Cross stitching
    2. Salvador Dali's L'age D'or
    3. Metalworking 
    4. Film 
    5. Coding

    Follow Dayna on Instagram
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