SENIOR PROFILE: Nate Kissingford

by Chloe Kiparsky

If you were to look in the hallway during a passing period, your eye might immediately be drawn to a figure in a furry red coat and tall sea-foam green heels working the hall as if it were a runway. This figure would be none other than Nate Kissingford, whose life is their stage.

To be fair, Nate has been acting for their entire life, from creating their own Camp Kissingford acting weekends with friends, to dancing with Weehawken, to roles in school and community and professional plays, to now making a career out of their passion. Their passion for acting, dance, and life has only grown while they have lived here, but they are ready to have a bigger pond. “I’m definitely gonna miss Ouray,” they admitted, “it’s a really cool place. I love the mountains, I really like the people, and it’s going to be such a fascinating transition.”

The support Nate feels from their parents, Kate and John Kissingford, has “made me feel courageous in my life,” they said, “because I'm not afraid to fail. If I wanted to become an accountant, they would be just as supportive as if I wanted to become a burlesque dancer.”

But Nate knew that acting was what they wanted to go to college for, and they had a “crazy process this year; I applied or auditioned for around 30 schools,” they said, since musical theater programs are “very competitive.” After a lot of deliberation, they decided to attend the CAP21 program at Molloy University in Long Island, New York. “It’s a really cool hybrid program where you spend part of your time in Manhattan - literally on Broadway - doing your musical theater work,” they enthused, “and then you spend some of your time on the Molloy campus on Long Island doing your academics.”

Because of the rich acting scene there, New York is where Nate wants to end up in their 20’s. They are aware that there is “no job security” as an actor, so they are also interested in going into intimacy coordination, directing, choreography, set design, and dramaturgy, among other ideas. “I see myself on the stage a lot,” they said, “but I also hope I can get proficient in other things” in theater. 

The CAP21 program provides a combination of acting training and a liberal arts education, they said, and they are “excited about philosophy classes, gender studies classes, classes that focus on really niche interesting things about what it means to be human and what it means to live in a society. I am really confused most of the time,” they smiled, “but that’s kind of the human condition, isn’t it?”

This kind of habitual curiosity has contributed to class discussions throughout high school. Senior Luna Sandoval said that “they encourage me to look at life from a different perspective.” Senior Mica Hart also feels this way; she fondly said that “through talking, we learn so much together,” just by bouncing theories and ideas off of each other.

Nate’s classmates will miss what they brought to school: deep insights into the world, their self-described “flouncy, fun, weird fashion,” their easy laughter, and glowing presence, their habit of compassion and support for others, and, I just have to say, the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever tasted.

Onward. The “life that I would be psyched to live,” Nate said, will include “fulfillment, joy, the ability to affect people in a positive manner, and a lot of love.” And maybe a bigger collection of sea-foam green heels.