pul•chri•tude: 20 year-old Jennifer Allen expresses herself through okra, art, and Latin

Haley Mulder – Staff Writer

“It’s good fried, dehydrated, in soups, gumbos, fritters…oh! And pickled!” Jennifer Allen looked at me and let out a laugh as she leaned back in her chair. Her trendy short hair was decorated with a multi-colored head wrap.

She was holding a clear tub of dehydrated okra.

“This is the best way it’s made,” She said.

Crunch.

“A year ago I moved from Shelby, North Carolina to Red Oak, Iowa to live with my aunt. We worked in the vegetable gardens and caned and pickled basically every kind of fruit and vegetable.”

Peaches, pesto, tomatoes, and over 50 jars of pickles to be exact. But okra is her favorite, by far.

“Holy crap, I love okra. You can make okra with anything and I’ll eat it,” She said.

Allen worked in the vegetable garden, often upwards of six hours a day.

“I like digging up the potatoes because it’s like finding buried treasure,” she said. “It’s the greatest thing ever.”

Allen has always had a passion for art.

“I came to a realization in 11th grade,” she said. “God created everything and is still creating things, so in essence, I like to make art because it makes me feel closer to God. I can see why God likes it so much.”

She describes herself as “Pulchritude.”

“It’s a Latin word, it means beautiful,” she said. “Just because I’m made by God. And God is beautiful.”

She shrugged and smiled.1003070_625303070848133_1932902235_n

“I donated my hair to Pantene about a year ago,” she said. “They process the hair and dye it to match wigs for women. I donated nine inches. It’s very empowering,” she said.

She now sports a stylish, short pixie cut. Recently Allen decided to make another daring expression with her do: a dark black hue and an asymmetrical side-cut.

“I’ve been considering shaving the side of my head for a while,” Allen said. “My hair was actually purple this summer before I started to cut it shorter and shorter. Now, it really suits me.”

Allen is a sophomore and studies studio art and scenic design for theatre.

“Being here at Dordt is a huge eye opener to Gods will for my life. It is amazing what He will do when you just let him.”

She looked at me as she took another bite of dehydrated okra and smiled.

Honestly, you just can’t help but smile back at a person like Jennifer Allen.

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