Creighton alumna and her friends' photo project goes viral
Creighton alumna and her friends' photo project goes viral

In Creighton Connections, we speak with students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends about their experiences in the face of a changing world.

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Like so many worthwhile creative endeavors, The Brooklyn Queens of Quarantine was spurred by boredom and isolation — two muses working overtime at the moment. But unlike most impromptu projects now popping up in homes across the country, this one went viral (the good kind of viral).

Creighton alumna Annie Wilkins, BA’05, and her two Brooklyn roommates launched the Instagram project at the start of quarantine restrictions. The three have lived together for two years and known each other longer. But, of course, in the time of COVID-19, everyone who lives together is getting to know each other in new ways. 

Annie and her roommates are all creatives. Annie is making a documentary. Marybeth Diss is a writer. Liz Devine is a photographer. Cooped up in their apartment as their city quickly became the world’s biggest coronavirus hotspot, the trio needed an outlet. 

An artfully silly photo project was born. From Liz’s makeshift photo studio, the three launched The Brooklyn Queens of Quarantine, a series of carefully crafted photos ranging from parody to the purely aesthetic. “Star Wars” is spoofed. As are Fleetwood Mac and Bee Gees album covers, “The Brady Bunch” and “The Price Is Right.”

“We were thinking, oh, this will probably last a couple weeks, let’s do something fun while we’re stuck inside,” Annie says. “It’s given us an outlet to express ourselves and support each other, and to lift the mood a little. Hopefully that’s been true for people who have enjoyed the photos, too.”

Their fun distraction soon drew media attention. The Brooklyn Queens were featured on a local news segment, followed by an ABC News spot, along with stories in The Luupe, Gothamist and the New York Post.

All the attention has been fun, Annie says. But more than anything, the project has been therapeutic. 

“There are days where one of us will be in a really dark space because of how heavy this situation is, how much pain there is,” Annie says. “So, it’s good to have something structured like this.”

Working together, even on something as absurd as a “Three Men and a Baby Yoda” parody, helps them get through the day. Whatever works. 

The apartments of New York City are rife with craigslist roommates — strangers and petty enemies thrown together by chance. Annie can’t say how lucky she feels to live with two people she actually cares about and enjoys spending time with. That support system makes all the difference for three women cut off from most of the rest of the world for the foreseeable future. 

Annie continues to make connections where she can. She keeps in touch with her parents, both Creighton graduates themselves, who live in Lincoln. 

And she has a tight-knit group of half a dozen Creighton friends scattered throughout the country. Most of them met their freshman year living on the same floor in Deglman Hall. So far, only one member of their circle has made the news for dressing up like Steve Guttenberg and Luke Skywalker.

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