You can’t deny people are awesome. Who doesn’t like sitting down with good friends to ask them interesting, insightful, and funny questions? That’s what 11 Questions is about. I’ll be featuring some friends I look up to as well as people within the community I’ve always wanted to get to know. As a bonus, I’ve updated some of the questions!


I gotta tell ya, I love meeting new people and chatting them up. And not just chatting about the weather and debating who was the best Power Ranger, but engaging in deep meaningful conversation. That’s the marrow of life. I was fortunate enough to meet someone new in Katie Johston, founder and director of Pulptown, and we feasted on that new friendship marrow in our short time together.

Katie’s candor about her journey through life was a breath of fresh air and just what I needed to start the week. We talked about our upbringings, our shared love of zoos (where we shot these photos), and what we want from life. She is what you call “good people.” And I’m glad we’ve got her here in Orlando. I hope it’s not too long before we cross paths again.

Who do you look up to?

This list is long but I’ll go with my gut here and say, my big sister. She’s the epitome of “cool as a cucumber,” HBIC, badass mama, and so much more. The people who know what they want in life. Show yourself. Tell me your secrets. Oh and Dionysus for the creation of wine.

Favorite book, album, or musician who has impacted your life?

Passion Pit and LANY for my fun dance moves, Bon Iver for feeling ALL of my feelings, and ’90s hits for taking me back home. You didn’t ask this but my favorite movie, quite possibly of all time is “About Alex“. It’s a remake of “The Big Chill” but for my generation (hello other geriatric millennials), and I can’t ever get enough. Also in the running: “Sweet Home Alabama” for obvious reasons (I’m from Small Town, Alabama), “The Hundred-Foot Journey” for inspiration and big-dreaming, and “Pitch Perfect” for the cure to what ails ya.

If you could mate two different species of animals what would they be?

An elephant and a lion. An elephant for its memory, a lion for its willingness to put up a fight.

Who in your life has inspired you?

My friends. There are too many to name and I’ll surely leave out a few, but there’s a saying that goes, “You’re only as good as the people you surround yourself with” and I believe that to my core.

What are you proud of?

Getting out of an abusive relationship in high school/college and finding my way to the here and now. I’d be even prouder if I took what I learned from 15-year-old me and used it to help other kids that age know when to ask for help, how to put a stop to abuse, and why the world is so much better with them in it.

What rejuvenates you?

A high of 75 and being outside. It’s the perfect temp that brings with it this feeling of anything is possible. And also, I’m in front of a computer all day. Nothing feels more life-giving these days than the great outdoors.

Is there anything you haven’t done yet which you feel compelled to do?

To be on time 10 times in a row. I convince myself daily that there is time to do XYZ before leaving the house and instead of ever planning to arrive somewhere early, I set my Waze to arrive right on time. Meanwhile, I’m acutely aware that there is never enough time for anything in this life so one would assume I’d change my practices by now.

How do you balance your personal and professional life?

Real talk: I don’t. I’m terrible at this, but I’m making an avid effort to lean into things that “they” say are good for me like meditation, runs (okay, walks), reading, puzzling, journaling, coloring, baths, yoga… all those things that help to “center” you and keep you grounded. And I’ll tell you what — dogs are the absolute best and can fix most anything, but nothing compares to therapy with a licensed professional.

Best place to eat in Orlando?

Okay, so I’m going to edit this question a bit and instead just tell you about my favorite Orlando meal. It’s the pecan-crusted fish dish at SoCo. I always tell the staff there that if I could have one meal before I die, it’d be this. Close runners-up? The Mills/50 Bowl at The Neighborhood Eatery and the breakfast croissant from Foodies Cafe.

How do you hope to be remembered?

For my loud laugh, my zest for life, and the way I made you feel (assuming I made you feel good and all warm inside and like anything was possible).

If you were to choose a different career what would it be?

I’d recreate MTV’s “World of Jenks” show from 2010. If that didn’t work out, I’d love to either own a zoo or get paid to travel the world by train and write. And lastly, if nothing else, I’d revert back to 7th grade me and my high hopes of being the next Jane Goodall, though I might need to actually fill my Xanax prescription for that gig.

Click HERE to read more “11 Questions” columns by Brian Carlson.

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