Quirky, Brown Life Icon: Sydney Magruder

Quirky, Brown Life Iconsomeone who lives their life beyond the norm that is expected of them based on society's expectations. An inspiration, a breath of fresh air and a cool chick all around.

Meet Sydney. Sydney is a one-of-a-kind triple threat that you should definitely get to know. She is a classically trained ballerina, singer, actress, as well as a proud advocate and representative for the LBGTQ community. These are all reasons that I have personally chosen Sydney as a Life Icon. She was actually so nice to do an interview for my readers. Learn more about Sydney below!

1. So, I reached out to you because I noticed that you were a brown ballerina, among other amazingly cool talents! What is your major career focus and goals?
Funny you should ask. At this particular moment, I find myself at a strange crossroads. Yes, I'm a classically trained ballerina, but I'm also a triple threat dancer-singer-actor. I love musical theater, I am fortunate enough to have booked work in that field, and I enjoy the community very much. But ballet is where my heart is. If I could do both (preferably at the same time!), that'd be my personal heaven. 

2. Was your family always supportive of your career choice?

Yes! My mother was a dancer, and so was her mother. She chose to marry early and have a family, skipping a dance career and instead excelling as a homemaker, dance mom extraordinaire, artist, and writer. My parents are my biggest fans, with my 4 older siblings and loving girlfriend coming in a close second. 

3. Have you experienced any struggles/adversities in the industry with being a lesbian woman of color in the performing arts?

Interestingly, I find myself defending other people with marginalized identities more often than I find myself defending my own marginalized identities. Yes, I'm a proud queer woman of color, but because of the way I carry myself I make it known that if they choose to be ignorant, I will read them for filth. However, I have a degree in Sociology and am a trained mediator so I'm usually able to kindly but firmly address any issues that come my way. 

4. How's the dating scene in NYC? Are you dating anyone?

I wouldn't know anything about the dating scene in NYC because I've been madly in love with my partner, The Engineer, for a year and a half! She is the love of my life. The story of how we met could be a whole separate interview. My family loves her too. My 5-year-old nephew is her biggest fan. 

5. What about your life has you excited right now? (Could be an upcoming project, and inspiration, a trip, etc.)

I just wrapped an amazing run of 'The Wiz' at Boston's Historic Strand Theater. I'm back nannying my amazing 9-year-old sidekick, The Starchild, and excited to get back to my New York life after freezing my ballerina buns off in Boston since late January. 

6. What has been your craziest, quirky adventure thus far?

My partner and I took the craziest international vacation this past January. That's a whole other article. Suffice it to say that it was the most ridiculous 10 days of my life. 

Sydney interviewing Big Freedia on the Red Carpet at the 2014 GLAAD Media Awards with Elixher Magazine
7. What do you believe makes you quirky and unique?

My iTunes ranges from Georg Holzst to T.I., from Nicki Minaj to Laura Nyro. I'm a giant nerd. I will readily quote Neil deGrasse Tyson, Notorious B.I.G, Audre Lorde, Doctor Who, Parks and Recreation, Game of Thrones and Harry Potter. If you put a good book in front of me, I'll never get up. I have a running interest in medicine and astrophysics. I play the cello and the piano. I spend a lot of time researching natural methods for family planning, parenting, birthing, and teaching. I'd like to be a midwife one day. Black feminism is how I live my life. I do my best to follow Jesus. I'm passionate about my Blackness and my natural hair, and about advancing mental health initiatives for Black women. I'm a nerd, and I like it that way. 

8. Some would call you a role model because you have had success in a career that is not seen as typical for a brown woman. Do you feel that it is important for more woman of color to be represented in the arts?

Me? A role model? Jeez. I don't know if you could say I've had success yet...I'm still very young and at the beginning of my journey .I'm not even 23 yet.  It's not just important for more women of color to be represented in the arts, it's CRUCIAL. The strange thing is, we have so many brilliant women of color in every area of the arts - 6-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald,  Alvin Ailey dancers Alicia Graf Mack and Linda Celeste Sims, ABT Soloist Misty Copeland, artist and visionary Kara Walker, vocalist Janelle Monae, etc. - but how many young, inner-city, working class and/or low-income kids know their work or even their names? The task now is to make the caliber of art being presented by women of color accessible to every child, everywhere, so that they can see themselves reflected everywhere they look. 

Sydney interviewing the legendary transgender rights activist, Janet Mock!
9. If you could have a catch phrase or a one-liner that played every time that you were announced, what would it be?

Just play Janelle Monae's "Q.U.E.E.N" on my entrance. 

Want more of Syd? Make sure to follow her on Twitter!

About Us

Quirky, Brown Love is a media outlet for quirky, brown millennials. EST 2014.

Email Bryanda Law, Editor-in-Chief