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Katie Miller “Surprises” With Her Story

Jessica Klees, Copy Editor

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Katie Miller is a new student at WAHS who has a very interesting story, but may be known to others by another name: Katie Surprise. Coming from a school in Atlanta where there were usually multiple people with the same name, Miller started using her middle name (Surprise) to differentiate herself. Her nickname is the first of many things that make Miller unique.

To start off, her living situation is unconventional. Miller said, “I was getting really stressed out with my relationship with my parents and my schoolwork and I was having trouble with friends.” So she decided to try something new and stay with family here in Charlottesville.

“I’m currently living on a family farm with my aunt and uncle and my grandpa,” Miller explained. “My parents and my sister are still living in Atlanta, though. It’s definitely been a new experience outside my usual comfort zone, but it’s been a lot of fun.”

Does Miller recommend living away from home? “Yes, completely. It’s definitely put a strain on my family and my relationship with my mom and dad, but I think that if you talk to your parents and you have a place to go, any young adult should have a chance to live outside their house and still be cared for.”

Miller said that going to Western has definitely been a big change. “It’s very different from what I’m used to in the city. There’s a lot less diversity–racially, culturally.” But she has also found that “everybody’s been very open and accepting here…I feel like I have a lot more room to grow and learn about myself and the things that surround me.”

Miller is also fascinating because she is an artist. “I’m into all forms of art–art history, drawing, painting, singing, acting, all the stuff. It’s definitely fun to be able to express myself in that way when I can’t always vocalize how I’m feeling,” she said. “I try to do that every day.”

She has been creative since she was a child, but “in the past couple of years, I started realizing that it was something that I had a special interest in.” Miller found other artistic friends that supported her and helped her “feel more comfortable to call myself an artist.”

“Doodling is my favorite thing to do because I can do it mindlessly, but that’s when I can express myself the most–when I don’t have to think, when I just kind of feel,” Miller explained. “I just draw my reality. I like to draw how I’m feeling, things that don’t necessarily make sense or things that are ironic or hypocritical because that’s kind of how I see the world.”

Miller “would love to do something with [art] professionally.” She loves comics and cartoons, which really influence her artwork. She is also inspired by “working with other artists or hanging out in the art room and seeing what other people are doing.”

Miller’s latest project is called Pho Gai, which means “pho girl.” Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup that is very important to Miller. “My favorite restaurant in Atlanta, Pho 24, it’s a restaurant that’s open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and it’s kind of my magic place…” Miller said. “It symbolizes a lot of things for me, like home and comfort in a place where you can go literally any time.”

But Miller isn’t only interested in visual art. “I’m the kind of person that wears her heart outside her sleeve. I need to let that out, and the arts help me do that.” She is also in the Musical Theater class and intends to be in more productions next year if she can.

WIth all her artistic talents as well as the risks she takes–like moving to a new state of her own accord–Katie Miller is definitely a surprise.

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