Petra Collins: “I know what it’s like to be there”
Petra, your photography captures not only the beauty of its teenaged subjects, but also their struggles with identity and coming of age. Do you remember your first identity crisis?
You know, I didn’t really have an identity crisis because I really, really knew who I always wanted to be… But I definitely had a lot of problems with my body. I was very skinny and I guess my body was sort of pre-pubescent but when I grew hips and thighs, I just didn’t know where I was in the world. It was weird… We have this weird beauty standard where women like shouldn’t grow: what we think is feminine is often what is also pre-pubescent. So it’s just a strange in-between that you live in you’re like, “Oh I’m a woman but I’m also supposed to look like what I did when I was 12…”
Unfortunately those anxieties never really go away, even as we get older.
It’s something that I continue to struggle with. Most girls, I think, are sharing these problems, which is so sad. I read a really good quote that says, “Women learn to exhibit their bodies, not inhabit them,” which I thought was so correct. (Laughs)
Don Winslow: “I like being scorned”
Mr. Winslow, you were born on Halloween night 1953. Were you destined to end up writing noir thrillers and crime fiction?
I wonder about that sometimes! You know, when I was a small boy, I used to think that on everybody’s birthday people came to your house in costume and your parents gave them candy. (Laughs) As for its influence… People do joke about that. I guess if you’re born on Halloween in New York City, you don’t have many choices!
The story also goes that your grandmother worked for the mafia.
“Worked for” is a different definition. My grandma was a gambler in New Orleans and she ran poker games and dice games and things. So when you do things like that, you need permission from the mob, sure. I grew up with a lot of those people. I lived in mafia neighborhoods off and on when I was a kid. If you were in Little Italy, in East Harlem, in Brooklyn… Those neighborhoods were, in those years, dominated by mafia families. You knew it and you felt it, you know?