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March’s Hot Dish

March 4, 2010

As the weather starts to warm up, we start shedding our winter layers and return to the living, and possibly even return to dating. Among single hotties to check out, we have Fiona, our March “Hot Dish,” a monthly feature that highlights a smart and sexy single person from Minnesota living in New York, who you can meet at the Minnesota Monthly Happy Hour at Le Poisson Rouge this Friday.

I must say in full disclosure that I have known Fiona since we were total geeks (in a good way!) back in junior high in St. Paul, MN. We’ve both come a long way since then, and I have to admit I’ve been quite impressed with Fiona’s path and endeavors. She’s always been a creative and artistic type, and she headed off to Rhode Island School of Design for college after graduating from the “Arts High School” as it’s known, officially called the Perpich Center for Arts Education. Fiona then went on to obtain her MFA from Columbia University and has been in New York City ever since.

This spunky Minnesota native made the most of her pastoral yet urban surroundings, and grew up riding her bike through the deserted state fairgrounds in the off-season and attending horse shows with her dad at the hippodrome. She also enjoyed exploring the U of MN agriculture buildings and looking at the cows and pigs living in the middle of the metropolis. Gibbs Farm was another warm memory of hers, where Fiona was part of the interpretive museum acting as a teacher’s aid from the pioneer days. And no Minnesota childhood would be complete without summers at the lake. Fiona spent hers at a family friend’s summer home outside of Stillwater.

Fiona got her start in artistic and creative pathways back in St. Anthony Park, a quaint neighborhood in St. Paul. She took art classes growing up, and had a fascinating internship as an artist assistant painting a fresco in the St. Paul Cathedral when she returned for one summer during college. The artist, Mark Balma, needed a model for a choir boy in the fresco, and Fiona volunteered herself and her pixie haircut. Just look for her in the ceiling next time you’re in the Cathedral!

Fiona is a photo retoucher at the New York Times, and an all-around artist. Her current project is quite intriguing – she’s working on a book about the Miss Subways beauty contest, which was held by New York City’s transit system between 1941 and 1976. Fiona has photographed several of the Miss Subways today, and these photos were featured in the New York Times a few years back. Fiona is now putting the story and photos into a book that will be out in 2011 (become a fan of Miss Subways on facebook here!). She put her Subway Beauty contest expertise to use last fall as a judge for the Miss G Pageant, in which our February Hot Dish, Anne, was a contestant!

As far as a night out with Fiona, she’s the ideal lady to go with to one of the amazing art events around the city. She lives in Brooklyn near the lovely Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Museum. Perhaps an ice skating adventure or a Free First Saturday would be nice.

If you want to meet Fiona, come introduce yourself to her at the Minnesota Monthly Happy Hour this Friday at Le Poisson Rouge email me at minneappleNYC [at] gmail [dot] com for an introduction.

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