We spoke with Ella Romero, Class of 2017, about her thesis project, titled ‘There, Once’.
There Once follows an isolated, aloof young woman whose past comes back to help her redirect her future. Though Rena enjoyed a happy childhood filled by the Filipino folktales and traditions of her immigrant grandmother, she begins to feel ashamed of them as she grows up and resolves to get as far away from them as possible in order to feel she is truly in control of her own life. Steeling herself against the emotions and memories that once made her feel special, she becomes a successful but lifeless young architect whose professional goals eclipse her relationship with her family and self. When her grandmother dies and Rena’s childhood imaginary friends suddenly reappear, she is forced to confront and accept her past self, learning how much value there can be in celebrating what makes you different.