This lawyer-turned-journalist-turned-professional ice skater-turned unofficial freedom fairy for Occupy Wall Street has been creatively engaged within her circles since childhood.
“My conservative Arab father always told me I had no shame,“ Marni blogged
. “Little did he know that my insatiable desire to exhibit and entertain as a performance artist would come in handy for Occupy Wall Street.”
Marni was raised in Akron, Ohio by parents who were both academics. They sat her down at the ripe old age of 4 to determine her career path. From a shortlist which included doctor and scientist, Marni chose to become a lawyer – and a lawyer she became. After passing the bar exam in 1992, she got a job at the New York Law Journal. In her free time Marni took up belly dancing and figure-skating – skills that would later serve her well in her performance-based protesting.
“...I spend an excessive amount of time choreographing routines for my students, crafting costumes and shows for parade floats...,” wrote Marni regarding her transition to the art of protesting. “What better means, I believed, than to take my already-polished abilities to spread the message of social and political exchange.”
Come as you are...or as someone else?
In May of this year, Marni attended a protest in front of JP Morgan headquarters in New York City. She didn't go as herself, but as the “Bank Reform Bitch”, one of Marni's many protest personae. Dressed to the nines as a dominatrix, she posed with placards and effigies of JP Morgan Chase president, chairman, and CEO Jamie Dimon.
“Let me tell you something,” she said in a Business Insider
interview. “No one is really a fan of the megabanks.”
With a wardrobe of 40 outfits, Marni is always ready to shift protesting gears depending on the theme of the protest.
In one memorable protest, she was ticketed for allegedly impeding traffic in the vicinity of Wall Street – dressed as a butterfly. But the judge tossed out the charges (a popular trend for protesters associated with the Occupy movement) and declared the summons as insufficient.
“It’s absolutely ridiculous that I was impeding pedestrian traffic with silk chiffon wings and Rollerblades,” Marni told
an interviewer. “I wanted the case to go further to really challenge the law.”
More to come with Marni Halasa in my upcoming interview.