You may have seen this USC Fine Arts major pumping up the crowd during Men’s Hockey games as captain of the Ice Girls spirit squad, and now the figure skater-turned-designer is preparing to launch her own shoe line.
Campus Circle: What made you want to create the USC Ice Girls?
Niki Huenergardt: I’ve been a figure skater for the past 16 years, and I have always wanted to continue skating throughout college. Being on a spirit squad gives me the best of both worlds. When Johnny Nugyen and I started USC Ice Girls, it was just Girls’ Figure Skating. Then this past season, we put on hockey skates and started performing at intermission.
CC: What’s your passion outside of the ice rink?
NH: I have always had a passion for the arts. I love creating new things, and it has always been a way for me to express my emotions, which is why I decided to become a Fine Arts major. I especially love design and photography, and I’ve been an artist since I could hold a pencil.
CC: What do you hope to do with your major upon graduation?
NH: I want to potentially go on to grad school and study set design. I also want to expand my shoe company, NixShoes and make it a huge success.
CC: What inspired you to start a shoe line?
NH: A really close friend of mine, Felipe, who passed away from leukemia/lymphoma inspired my shoe line. He was like a brother to me, and I was devastated by his passing. I always wanted to contribute to research foundations to help out so three years after his death, I decided to establish NixShoes to help non-profit organizations while utilizing my passion for design.
CC: What makes your shoes unique?
NH: I make eco-friendly shoes that give a percentage of profits to research foundations. They are slip on shoes that have stitching going down the front to represent the baby steps we take toward finding a cure, and a loop design on the side to represent the ribbons of the various foundations they raise money for. The color of the stitch represents the cause it helps; for example, red stitching symbolizes HIV/AIDS research.
CC: How can we purchase a pair?
NH: They will be on sale this year at http://nixshoes.com/.
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