Bragging Rights: Erin


We love bragging about you. That's why we have an interview series where we feature one of our biggest fans each month. We want everyone to get a peek at the amazing work they're doing and be inspired, because they're seriously some of the coolest people we've ever met.

This month we're bragging about Erin (@shazzamahan)... and her jacket!

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I'm a theatre professional from Northern Virginia, just over the river from Washington DC. I love theatre, and in normal years I see upwards of 50 productions a year of everything from touring Broadway shows to world-premiere avant-garde dramas. I'm one of those "but just think of the story you'll have to tell your grandchildren!" pandemic brides, having gotten married in July in a lovely, intimate wedding that was absolutely nothing like we planned. Pre-pandemic, my then-fiance's and my favorite activities were going to the theatre and going to the movies, so when our governor implemented a Stay At Home order, we were left with a lot of time on our hands and a lot of anxious fidgeting and doomscrolling to do, which is when I decided to pick up embroidery! I've loved having something to fill my hands with other than my smartphone now that I'm home every evening. I'd tried many other crafty habits over the years, including knitting and quilting, but none of them ever stuck; I think what really makes the difference for me with embroidery is that there's so much variability (don't hate me knitters, but a scarf is a scarf is a scarf as far as I'm concerned). With embroidery, because you're effectively drawing with textiles, every project can be completely new and different from the ones that have come before. I've been relying on Pinterest and YouTube tutorials to learn new stitches and after a couple of months of practice with prepared kits, I'm starting to experiment with creating my own designs!

What is your hidden talent?

I am excellent at writing polite but firm emails. I'm weirdly good at whistling, to the point of startling people in the vicinity. I have a vast mental collection of trivia related to the Lincoln assassination.

What is the coolest (or weirdest) thing you have ever done?

In 2007, I was part of the ceremonial guard for Queen Elizabeth II's visit to Williamsburg VA commemorating the 400th anniversary of the founding of Virginia.

The song that's currently in your head?

"Caution," by the Killers; "Here Comes the End" by Gerard Way; "Highwomen" by the Highwomen (listen to that one and try not to cry)

The book you share with all your friends?

I am a book fiend, and as soon as I finish a good book I have to tell all the other readers I know about it, so the answer to this is constantly changing. But one of my favorites to recommend is "Carry On" by Rainbow Rowell, especially if you're from the Harry Potter generation; this takes the Chosen One formula and turns it inside out and dissects it, with the Chosen One and his roommate-slash-nemesis calling a reluctant truce in order to investigate a murder mystery. It has my favorite slowburn romance of all time! This is the companion book to another of her novels/another of my favorites, "Fangirl," and has spawned a sequel with a third in the works, so you can either enjoy the standalone story or deep dive into the full Simon Snow world. 

What superlative would you give yourself? (ie. mostly likely to become a crazy cat lady)

"Most Likely To Blow Her Whole Paycheck on Books and Theatre Tickets"

What embroidery project are you most proud of?

This is a strange pick because I can't really take credit for it, but this vintage kitchen herbs sampler was started by my grandmother sometime in the '70s; she finished everything except the borders, but when I started stitching this spring, she gave the incomplete kit to me to finish off. Even though I only did about 5% of it, I love that it's something we both contributed to. 

Inspired by Erin's interview? You can follow her on Instagram (@shazzamahan).

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