Cameron Henderson '19

This week’s Campus Profile interviewee is one of the many prominent creative minds at Williams College. First-year student Cameron Henderson is easily recognizable by their distinctive undercut and their understated yet eclectic style. With their incredibly varied interests and many fascinating artistic endeavors, Cameron isn’t your average Williams student—in fact, they are anything but.

EW: You have a radio show called the new aesthetic on WCFM. What inspired you to create the show, and what drives your musical choices? What exactly is this “new aesthetic,” and how do you describe the vibe of the music you play?

CH: My radio show is pretty self-serving, honestly. It’s an opportunity for me to sit in a room listening to my favorite music for an hour, without doing any work, and not feel bad about myself. I’m trying to change that this semester by drawing in more listeners, improving my presentation, and making the recorded shows available online. I also want to give exposure to emerging artists and introduce students to music that they’d never hear otherwise. The show is very much focused on experimental music forms such as contemporary jazz. Basically anything that’s difficult to classify in terms of conventional genres. Paradoxically, it’s one of the most publicized shows on campus, while being one of the least accessible in terms of music.

EW: You also run a Facebook page dedicated to the potted plants of Williams College. Why potted plants? Do they have some sort of profound significance to you or to life in general, or is there a more mundane reason?

CH: For a while I had sort of a makeshift moss garden on my desk at home. I was pretty awful at taking care of it, but it was very therapeutic while it lasted. Going outside and collecting moss was how I dealt with depression at the time. Aside from that, I’ve never had any potted plants, so the project lets me experience it vicariously through others. Also, potted plants are adorable. Who doesn’t want to see more pictures of potted plants?

EW: You recently announced a possible new fashion publication in the works, and you described it as “unconventional/queer” and “creative/unusual." What kind of things do you have planned for it? What will distinguish it from other fashion publications, both student-created and commercial?

CH: That’s still very much in the conceptual stage, but I’ve gotten more than enough positive feedback to start moving in the direction of reality. I want Williams to have a publication that highlights people’s creativity and unique styles, and also focuses on queer fashion and affordability. If it does get off the ground, I could definitely see it expanding to encompass other aspects of creative culture on campus. Fashion, especially at a place like Williams, can be steeped in elitism. I want it to be about self-expression. While most fashion magazines use models as canvasses for someone else’s vision, I want to capture students’ own individual aesthetics.

EW: You seem very determined to be a well-rounded individual, because on top of music, plants, and fashion, you’re also involved in campus theater. What productions have you been involved in, and how have they enriched your college experience? What’s your favorite thing about theater, and why?

CH: Theatre is definitely a new foray for me. Over winter study I was a writer in the 24-hour play festival, which was a lot of fun. From there on, I met a lot of people involved in Cap & Bells (though mostly by virtue of coincidence). I’m currently doing costume design for Radium Girls (directed by the wonderful Caroline McArdle), which is the first real production I’ve been involved in. It’s a great artistic practice to be a part of, and I’m happy to say that I’ve met a lot of my best friends here through theatre. It’s always exciting to discover a new passion.

EW: You’re also a member in the Queer Student Union. How has your experience as a queer student been, and how would you describe queer life on campus? What are the highlights and lowlights? Are there any changes you’d like to see regarding queer student life at Williams?

CH: Queerness has definitely been a big part of my experience here. One of the first things I did after I arrived was come out as agender (or something like that). Even though I haven’t engaged in the queer community much in an official community (i.e. going to the severely underpopulated QSU meetings), I’ve met a lot of cool queer folk on campus. I guess there’s just a lot of us floating around. Or maybe we just find each other. The downside is that it’s pretty hard to find people to really relate to in a more direct sense. There aren’t a whole lot of other nonbinary/trans people that I’ve met. Being AMAB can make me feel estranged from that community too, where most people are dealing with starkly different bodies (and different issues) than mine. I’d really like to do something in the future to elevate nonbinary/trans voices on campus. Probably something artsy.

Cameron is considering majoring in Studio Art and Computer Science. They enjoy yo-yoing, writing, and spending time outdoors. After they graduate, they plan to find happiness while evading poverty and doing something artistically profound. Be sure to tune in to their radio show, the new aesthetic, on Tuesdays at 4pm via the WCFM website, and be on the lookout for many more amazing things from the mind of Cameron Henderson.