Whitney Johnson paves the way for Redwood spirit

Bella Piacente

By: Bella Piacente
Whitney Johnson smiles on the football field as she approaches the end of her senior year

The gym is booming with the excitement of the homecoming rally. Students spill out of the bleachers, as potential kings and queens line up, anxiously awaiting the results. Flag wavers run back and forth, hyping up the crowd. Everyone is ready for the last event of the week, and as they watch, one student stands out. Whitney Johnson, a Redwood senior, pairs red face paint with an equally eye-catching outfit: a holographic bikini top and skirt, a fuzzy red boa, pom-pom earrings, and Redwood written on both legs.

For the past four years, Redwood students have waited to see the elaborate ensemble Johnson puts together; whether it is for Homecoming rallies or another spirit day event. While her spirited attire has become familiar to Redwood kids, it originated at a Del Mar Middle School spirit day. 

“In sixth grade, we had our first spirit day, crazy hair day. I decided to go all out. The feeling of dressing up was indescribable. From then on I would [wear] really insane costumes because I just love the feeling
of it,” Johnson said. 

The start of Johnson’s spirit frenzy was not only influenced by her love for dressing up, but also by her main supporter, her father Jeff Johnson. He has encouraged her to dress up as a form of self-expression. 

“The most important thing in life is to find out who you are and to be comfortable in your own skin. So we’re absolutely delighted that Whitney has found this piece of her and that she’s embracing it,” Jeff said. 

By: Bella Piacente
Johnson rallies up the crowds at the Valentine’s Day assembly as an M.C

Along with her father, Johnson’s close friends Vanessa Comins and Zoe Babikian form her support system. For many years the group has been friends, Comins and Babikian have continually encouraged Johnson to dress up and support her self expression

“It definitely makes me want to be more spirited and more positive. She influences me and my mood when I see how dressed up and spirited she is, it makes me feel [happier] and spirited as well,” Comins said.

Although Johnson’s family and friends have created a comfortable atmosphere for her to express herself freely, some settings do not. Sometimes at school or in public, there may be people staring and/or pointing at her. This could stop someone from dressing up, but Johnson looks past it. 

“She doesn’t care what people think of her. A lot of people don’t paint their bodies and put glitter all over themselves,” Babikian said. 

Johnson is recognized for her contagious spirit and elaborate outfits at Redwood, but she also enjoys art and entrepreneurship (possible majors she hopes to pursue in college). She is currently planning on attending the University of Colorado Boulder, though this is still indefinite. She is also a part of the Surf Rider club, which helps preserve the ocean by hosting beach clean-ups. 

Johnson wants to continue dressing up by incorporating it into the fashion industry. Her overarching dream is to design her own clothing line. Right now, she isn’t sure what the future entails, but she hopes to continue expressing herself, whether that is through dressing up or through something else.

By: Bella Piacente
Johnson brings the energy with her elaborate Homecoming Spirit Week outfit

“Everyone has certain ways that they express themselves. People express themselves through sports and art, and I feel like dressing up and being myself is something that lets me express who I am,” Johnson said. “I feel like when I dress up and when I wear my crazy outfits and clothes, it encourages other people to be themselves or express their love for something in their own way.”