Hannah Pitstick, PA

Senior Writer

Hannah graduated from the University of Illinois with a journalism degree, and made a brief detour on the features desk of a daily newspaper, before jumping ship to the marginally less unstable land of freelance. She has a history of writing about oddballs and outliers, from men with alarmingly large taxidermy collections to couples who live in frighteningly small houses, but she’s convinced everyone is an exceptional weirdo at heart and she thrives on digging out and polishing their best stories. Her current clients include international financial publications and a British animal trainer who is documenting his life story.

As a Story Terrace writer, Hannah interviews customers and turns their life stories into books. Get to know her better by reading her autobiographical anecdote below.

Q-tip

When the first squiggles started popping out of my one-year-old head, my mother sighed with true empathy—she, too, had been sentenced to a life of untamable hair, and now she was to watch her youngest daughter navigate those same tangled waters.

Curly hair is a blessing and a curse. The blessing being that it looks nice occasionally, and the curse being everything else. I attracted a lot of attention as a kid walking down the street looking like an animated Q-tip, and not always the good kind. I’ll never forget when my mom and I had to hide in a Frederick’s of Hollywood to escape a strange man hell-bent on touching my hair. It didn’t help that I was so painfully shy that when strangers tried to address me, I would whisper up to my mom, “Tell them I’m shy.”

Then there was the time, while on a family vacation in Yellowstone, when my mom found the stash of dreadlocks forming underneath a curtain of curls at the back of my head. That vacation took a dark turn when the itinerary adjusted to fit in one dreadlock removal per night. Every night I would try, in vain, to hide beneath the cabin beds in mortal fear of my mom and the plastic hair pick. Growing up, my curls sometimes overshadowed my identity, with most of my nicknames being hair-related. My sister’s pet name for me started as Curl and devolved from there to Curd, and then Turd, or Turdmeister, when she was feeling feisty; Ramen Head when she was feeling hungry.

My hair became so interwoven with my identity that it has developed into a worldview—I know I’ll never be able to control everything in life, especially not my hair, and that acceptance has enabled me to take risks my Q-tipped, childhood self would never have dreamed of, like booking that one-way ticket to Paris with only a travel-sized bottle of detangler.

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