My friend and fellow Corradan (a resident in Corrado, my dorm), Lia, interviewed me and wrote a paper about it for class. It was too freaking fantastic not to share, so I posted it all below. For all those still not quite sure what the whole hard hat thing is, I think this explains it well. But as always, COMMENT WITH QUESTIONS! I LOVE QUESTIONS!  I hope you enjoy as much as I did! Thank you Lia!


“Angela, most commonly known as “Freddy” is a sophomore at the University of Portland. She has started regularly wearing different hard hats to class, and around Portland, for multiple different reasons. Many may see wearing a hard hat, especially in an academic setting, as unusual, but Freddy doesn’t care about that. She started wearing these hard hats because she has recently discovered a love for them, and more importantly, she sees it as an “AWESOME conversation starter”. Freddy believes that we can learn a lot from the people around us, and the best way to start learning about our peers is by starting a conversation. Freddy has simply decided to use this unique fashion statement as a basis for conversations with other people.

Since Freddy has multiple hard hats, in various different colors, and she’s not a construction worker, many people tend to notice when she’s wearing her hard hats. Although it may seem odd, Freddy states that “people seem to really like what I am doing and think it is cool” furthermore, “people often say that it isn’t something they would do, but they are glad someone does it.” Freddy has never experienced anyone outwardly expressing negative comments towards her hard hat, many people are excited and interested in what she is doing. The aspect of the hard hat that people seem to respond to in the most positive way is the fact that she’s using her hard hats to break down gender roles. In a society where gender roles are constantly being brought up and people are constantly trying to break them, something like this is a very simple, and effective, way of trying to redefine the norms.

When asked about the opinions of family and friends, Freddy said, “My family is very supportive, but at first they were a little embarrassed, I think. Now that it is the norm [for her], they are 100% supportive.” Freddy also stated that her friends react like her family did, supportive, but without the initial embarrassment because they know her and they think hard hats fit her slightly quirky, independent personality. Freddy is often approached by strangers, which is her goal; when she talks to people, she responds by reciprocating the excitement that people give her. Although nobody has ever been rude to her, she has the perfect response: “If people were rude, I think I would just smile and wave. Like the penguins from Madagascar” [reference to the movie The Penguins of Madagascar]. The way she sees it, is that “if people want to judge me for being me and doing what I love, go ahead.” Freddy views negative responses and uncertainty towards her hard hat-wearing as a loss to whomever is negatively questioning or judging her, especially if they haven’t taken the chance to get to know her.

One of the best things about Freddy, and That Hard Hat Girl, is that she doesn’t keep wearing the same hard hat over and over again. Her most commonly asked question is, “You have more than one?” Freddy currently has 12 hard hats, and if everything goes her way, she will continue to expand her collection. When asked about her end goal and what she’s planning to achieve by doing this, Freddy said, “To show the power of curiosity and working together. And to stand up to gender roles and SHATTER the glass ceiling.” Freddy has always been someone who tries to bridge-the-gaps between people and societies, her hard hat is how she’s choosing to take action on a personal level. She believes that conversations are the first step to fixing the divisions in the world; she chose to use her hard hats as a way of starting conversations and learning about others.

Anybody who knows Freddy knows a few things, (1) She never goes by the name Angela, (2) She’s a strong, independent person who does what she wants, (3) She’s always looking out for others, and (4) You should follow “That Hard Hat Girl” on all social media platforms. Although what Freddy is doing may seem deviant and strange to most people, especially on a college campus, what she’s doing is actually really great. She’s continuing to build and show her strong personality, while also trying to defy gender norms and do good in the world. The only thing she wants out of wearing her hard hats, besides showing off her love for them, is to start conversations and get people talking to one another and learning about each other. The most important lesson anyone could learn from Freddy is that being yourself is an amazing thing, and showcasing the things you love and wanting to stand out is something to be celebrated. Freddy is accomplishing so many different goals by simply wearing a hard hat. What simple step can you take to showcase how awesome you are?”


Feel free to leave comments about the paper, too!

As an update about THHG, it is midterms, but I’m still hardhatting away! Many stories to share, coming soon!

Have a great week everyone! If people look at you weird, just “smile and wave.” And as always, Hard Hat On!!

Categories: THHG Friends


Randy Hetherington · March 9, 2017 at 12:33 pm

THHG is living proof that you can make the world a better place one conversation at a time. Like her frozen yogurt friend Dave would say, you need to find your passion and own it. Clearly THHG has done that. What will be in interesting for followers of the Blog will be hearing stories of success from others who have been part of THHG’s conversations. If THHG made a difference in your life, let all of us know. Be one of the first followers like:

THHG may never know the difference she is making for others, true difference makers often don’t. We can add our voices to the chorus. All of us together are more than any one of us in service to the greater good.

    AngelaFreddyForhan19 · March 10, 2017 at 12:48 am

    Thank you so much, Randy! I am flattered you have such kind things to say. I love that video, and how true it really is. That last line of your comment sounds pretty Rotarian-like to me! Takes on to know one, right? Thank you so much for your support, and hard-hat on!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.