The Fifteenth

Guest List

Julián Ríos Cantú: an 18-year-old student from Mexico who, with three of his friends, designed a bra that records conditions of the wearer’s breasts using sensors. After his mother nearly died of breast cancer, Mr. Ríos Cantú and his friends invented the bra which is called “Eva.” It is not yet certified for use but can be potentially life-saving by tracking changes in the breasts that can indicate the presence of a cancerous tumor, reports The Huffington Post. Mr. Ríos Cantú is the CEO of his biosensors company, Higia Technologies.

Frank Muytjens: the head of men’s-wear design at J.Crew. Originally from Amsterdam, he went to work at Polo Ralph Lauren and, as he said, “sharpened [his] love for everything American,” according to an Esquire article. He assisted in the diversification process of men’s-wear products for J.Crew. Amidst a transition in men’s-wear fashion, Muytjens recommends that consumers adapt by mixing styles to yield modern looks, as discussed in Washington Life article.

Martyn Wilkes: a Spanish photographer who created a series of photographs as a maternity shoot parody. Over a year ago, Mr. Wilkes photographed his friend, Francisco Pérez, a father of two adult daughters, mimicking a maternity shoot, emphasizing Mr. Pérez’s large stomach, according to a Huffington Post article.

Reuben de Maid: a 12-year-old singer and makeup artist from the United Kingdom who was recently a guest on Ellen DeGeneres’s television show. On the show, he discussed how he faced bullying in school for his love of makeup but stood up to the bullies and, eventually, transferred schools. His YouTube channel has nearly 3,000 subscribers and his cover of Rihanna’s song “Love On The Brain” has close to 40,000 views.

Libby Hayes: the executive director of Homes for Families. The organization is a nonprofit in Boston which strives to lessen the affects of homelessness on families and communities. In a recent Boston Globe article, Ms. Hayes comments on the status of the homelessness crisis in Massachusetts and the state’s role in solving it. The article discusses one particular case of a family with a two-year-old daughter who endures long, uncomfortable commutes from the homeless shelter where the state is housing her family to her medical appointments.

Synopsis

These people each have distinct roles in their respective communities and represent those communities on various platforms. We believe that this would fuel the conversation at the dinner table. In particular, several of these guests would probably discuss family. Maybe Mr. Ríos Cantú would discuss his mother’s battle against cancer. Mr. Muytjens would possibly mention how his family influenced his career. Mr. Wilkes would likely talk about his inspiration for the maternity shoot parody and his own children. Perhaps Mr. de Maid would describe how his family has supported his singing and makeup interests. It is possible that Ms. Hayes would elaborate on her role in eradicating homelessness and assisting families in need.

Yet, we posit that family and community would yield even more personal conversation about which it is difficult to speculate.

We are equally interested in the role of intercultural exchange. Cultural diversity and diffusion tends to be a frequent condition of HDP. But how does it really affect the table talk? What about the invisible effects of cultural exchange? What type of cultural enlightenment would come from this group of individuals?

Would Mr. Ríos Cantú provide a unique perspective on his Mexican culture and how it shaped his work of designing “Eva?”

Would Mr. Muytjens share his observations of differences between men’s-wear in The Netherlands and in the United States and other places? Would he share observations that extend beyond the topic of fashion and style? What nuances are exposed about humanity through fashion and style to which Mr. Muytjens would privy us?

Would Mr. Wilkes discuss his experiences in documenting various cultures photographically? Photographers tend to be detail-oriented and highly observant. How does that affect his work and his insights about people across cultures?

And what does a 12-year-old boy from the United Kingdom have to share? What would Mr. de Maid, as an adolescent, discuss about his travels and intercultural encounters?

It is possible that Ms. Hayes would share information and stories from her experiences as a Peace Corps volunteer in rural Nicaragua. How did that opportunity change her perspective, if it did? How did it influence her career path? How did it affect her personal life?

Theme

Creator of HDP, Hannah Vuozzo, recently returned from living in Italy for four months. This week, in correspondence with her experiences and the guest list, we are selecting a theme related to culture and community. We believe that the act of sharing a meal has a level of sanctity across all cultures and communities. The dining room, in whatever form, is a place where people come together. The theme for the week is: “Where There Is A Fusion of Flavors, There Is A Fusion of Cultures.”

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