Katherine Jania: Reflection


Photography and Text by Katherine Jania



“90% of my outfits seemed inspired by the movie Oliver Twist.” 

Noël grinned looking at her childhood photo. She wore a paperboy hat and a forced smile, her mother proudly holding her hand. Not seeing her for 7 years, I was insistent to meet when she called that she would be passing through my town.

“I was so carefree.”


“People hear me, but I don’t think they actually listen.”

She wanted to tell me her story. Fill in the details and peel away the façade of perfection her mother would gossip to family and friends. I made a mental note to go to CVS for an air refresher as she pulled a cigarette from her freshly opened pack. I sipped on my wine as she began.

“It hurt, because it mattered.”


Finishing her third cigarette she continued, telling of a time where her aches no longer came from the sting of a scraped knee. She held my gaze as dark mascara streams  ran down her face. She was raw and unarmored, embracing her hurt as if it reminded her she was just human.


Noël tapped the edge of the bowl, which she reassigned as her ashtray for the day. Her pack of cigarettes was almost empty, and she just finished telling me how empowering it was confronting her former boss.My stomach still hurt from our prior 5 minute laughing fit of how ending up in handcuffs got her a free dinner and the number of a cute policeman. Who knew the former Valedictorian prep school Class President had a wild side.


“And that’s what brings me here.” 

She finished, her voice trailing off as her eyes wandered out the window. She smiled, a hopeful smile, unforced and organic. Three hours, one pack of Marlboros, three glasses of wine, one laughing fit, and four tissues later, she was finally done.


Photography and Text by Katherine Jania, Copyright 2015.


About The Author: Katherine Jania is a senior enrolled in the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania.  Class of 2015

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