Learning More About TIME‘s Protester Cover Girl

The Occupy LA politics of Sarah Mason, a Highland Park resident whose photo was transformed into the illustration for TIME magazine’s 2011“Person of the Year” cover, are extensively detailed in an interview conducted a while back with Ithaca College’s 360 magazine.

Editor Cady Lang caught up with Mason at 7 a.m. one morning in the shadow of City Hall, as this now iconic protester exited her tent to begin another day of occupying. It’s an interesting piece, because Mason’s central issue of credit card debt was incurred in part through very careless purchasing:

While Mason is still paying her student loans, she adamantly refuses to pay her credit card debt. “I still have debt and I’m not paying it back because I feel like at this point, I have an obligation to try and disrupt and upset the financial industry, the credit industry…”

“Each paycheck that I would get, I would overspend. I got a credit card because I had no money and I needed a credit card to buy things that were essential to my life during this time. I had already spent all this money on clothes, make-up, accessories, and I got the credit card because I needed to pay my electric bill. Bank of America offered it to me, so I was like, ‘Yeah, of course – I’ll pay my electric bill with it.’ And then of course, it turned into I just started using it recklessly, thinking initially I would be able to pay it back.”

Mason told Lang she currently works at an art gallery in Santa Monica and hopes to eventually attend graduate school. Read Lang’s full interview here.

Previously on FishbowlLA:
Shepard Fairey’s TIME Magazine Cover Features Occupy LA Protester