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Lorenzini '15 Wins Awards for Thesis on Blonde Women as Visual Symbols in Media

Photo of Seattle Acacdemy Alumni Sierra Lorenzini '15


My name is Sierra Lorenzini and I graduated from Seattle Academy in 2015, which feels like both a lifetime and a blink of an eye ago. After SAAS, I attended Duke University from which I graduated this past May with a major in Visual and Media Studies, a minor in Computer Science, and a certificate in Information Science. During college, I was a User Experience (UX)/Game Design intern for two summers at Microsoft Studios Global Publishing, where I fell in love with UX for gaming. I now work at Turn 10 Studios (owned by Microsoft) as a UX Designer where I am working on the new installment of the Forza Motorsport Series.

However, the award I am writing about now has nothing to do with video games. At the end of my junior year of college, I decided I wanted to write a thesis with my favorite professor as my advisor. I eventually landed on the subject of the use of blonde women as a visual symbol in media, a subject I cared about as I have been blonde my whole life. I won two awards for my work, the first being the Visual and Media Studies Award for Outstanding Thesis, given to a few graduating seniors in the department each year.

Inspired by this win, I then applied to and eventually won the Middlesworth Award, which is given to outstanding research which uses primary sources and rare materials from Duke’s Rubenstein Library. Utilizing the incredible sources held at the Rubenstein was one of my favorite parts of my Duke career, so it was a no-brainer to include it in my research for my thesis. I analyzed advertisements that included ideological images of blonde women which Rubenstein had through their acquisition of the collection of feminist media scholar Jean Kilbourne.

Researching and writing was difficult at times, but I think it was one of the most rewarding things I have ever done, and I was so honored to receive both awards for something I worked so hard on. If you are interested in reading more, here is a link to my portfolio and includes my thesis entitled “Fair Haired: Considering Blonde Women in Film and Advertising.