Reflections on the Child Center of NY’s Immersive Play ‘Outside In’

May 13, 2024
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Livia Caligor is an NYC-based writer and photographer who works in media operations. She graduated from Cornell University in 2021 with a B.S. in Fashion Management, a concentration in Communications, and a minor in English. She’s worked in marketing, wholesale, and operations at brands including Lafayette 148, Elie Saab, Alexander Wang, and Marchesa; through these international experiences, she developed a keen understanding of the supply chain and issues of sustainability and social responsibility – with bylines in Architectural Digest, teenVogue, and the Folklore, she seeks to use writing to facilitate industry change and make design a more equitable space. Livia is passionate about deconstructing the social stigmas around mental health; she is especially interested in how socio-economic and racial privilege, beauty standards, and industry cultures inform and shape mental health. As a new member of the BTWFoundation, she seeks to address barriers to treatment, especially for kids without the means. In her free time, she loves reading, boxing, photography, and drawing and is an avid member of the little monster community!

Follow her Instagram @livia.caligor and her photography page @puddlesbylivia

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Born This Way Foundation co-founder Cynthia Germanotta (left) BTWF Chief of Staff Josh Meredith (middle) and BTWF Youth Advisory Board Member Livia Caligor (right)

Born This Way Foundation co-founder Cynthia Germanotta (left) BTWF Chief of Staff Josh Meredith (middle) and BTWF Youth Advisory Board Member Livia Caligor (right)

To kick off Mental Health Awareness month, Cynthia, Josh, my fellow Advisory Board member Desmond Napoles, and I attended our partner The Child Center of NY’s new play Outside In at Lincoln Center. 

The Child Center of NY, a multiservice organization founded in 1953, strengthens children and families in New York through six central program areas: early childhood education, behavioral health, residential treatment, prevention and family support, health homes and integrated care, and youth development. As part of our partnership, the Child Center is collaborating with elected officials and national and global organizations to mobilize 10,000 individuals in communities around the world to earn their Be There Certificate. The Child Center is gifting limited-edition hats and t-shirts from our Cotton On collection to the first 10,000 people who earn their Be There Certificates. 

Outside In is an immersive, theatrical event that fuses scripted performance with improvisation, encouraging the audience to engage with the inner workings of the protagonist Maya, an 18-year-old grappling with her mental health. We moved from room to room, each of which featured a different central struggle, and had powerful conversations after about what we learned from the scene.

The room that resonated with me the most was “The Family Room,” where Maya has a screaming match with her parents about her lack of autonomy and her mom’s stifling expectations and standards. The scene, set in her bedroom covered in her art and exhibiting a large easel with a self portrait, quite literally mirrors her inner frustrations, as she expresses her inability to pursue a balanced lifestyle because of her mom’s demands and invalidation of her priorities and creative drive. The actors were so compelling that I quite literally felt like I could hear, feel, and experience Maya’s discontent – the most touching part was when they asked the audience what we saw, and one attendee responded “that they all have a point,” the next attendee adding “I see love.” 

Get involved with The Child Center of NY and learn more about Outside here

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