Veronica Chambers ’91 attended this year’s International Women’s Day conference and lent her voice. She was one of three panelists discussing “Cultivating Women’s Creative Expression: Challenges and Triumphs.”
Chambers remarked on the positive responses she received from friends in the writing community when she revealed that she was pregnant with her now two-year-old daughter, Flora. She was showered with congratulations and comments that her profession as a writer would be perfect for motherhood. She was shocked and jokingly asked the audience at International Women’s Day, “Why? Do (children) take dictation? Will my child be born willing to edit drafts of books and articles?”
Despite the fact that her toddler cannot indeed serve as a secretary (yet), Chambers has successfully juggled being a mother and a writer in high-demand. Her many projects include contributing articles to magazines like Glamour (of which she is the Features Director) and Real Simple, opening an online store which sells clothing she designs, and perennially working on new books.
SR: Can you talk about your most recently published book, Kickboxing Geishas?
VC: Well, it’s about the changing roles of Japanese women. It’s a culmination of the years of love for Japan I have felt since I spent three months there in 2000. I really love the culture of Japan and I feel like it’s a huge blend of the old and the new, the traditional and the modern, like me.
SR: You’ve been a generous alumni donor. The contributions you’ve made to Bard College at Simon’s Rock has meant a lot to an innumerable amount of students. How do you make giving such a large part of your life?
VC: It’s not like I’ve made a ton of money as a writer, and when Bernie [Rodgers] invited me to become a board member he mentioned something important: you don’t have to give a million dollars to be a part of this school. I just wanted to start giving to the place that gave me so much.
SR: What was your favorite spot on campus when you were a student?
VC: I feel very fortunate for getting to live in the Orchard houses as a student. I think they’re great and I had a lot of fun there. My newest favorite spot is the study lounge in the library dedicated to my grandmother.
SR: Any particular adventure you had as a student you’d like to share?
VC: One of the memories I have an abundance of is walking to town. I never had a car as a student so I can remember walking down the hill for movies or a good meal and reluctantly walking back up hill or praying we had enough money for a cab.
SR: What are you currently working on?
VC: I’m currently writing a book on Carmen Miranda, an entertainer popular in the 40’s and 50’s.
SR: Who were your favorite teachers at Simon’s Rock?
VC: I couldn’t just pick one! These aren’t in order but: Pat Sharpe, Bernie Rodgers, Arthur Hillman, Jim Monsonis, Peter Cocks, Jamie Hutchinson, Hal Holladay and Ñacuñán Sáez. So many people helped shape my experience at Simon’s Rock and I’m so grateful for them.
Interview and article by Shanna Gregory '07