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A style gathered globally

Misha Johnson, managing director of the Rochester Civic Theatre and founder of Immersion Youth Repertory, loves wearing art through her wardrobe.

Misha Johnson
Misha Johnson on Monday, June 27, 2022, in Rochester, Minnesota.
Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin
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When Misha Johnson reimagined the script of her life and moved back from Denver after 16 years away, she wasn’t sure what roles the future might hold.

“I didn’t think I would be doing theater in Rochester, but here I am,” said the new managing director of the Rochester Civic Theatre and founder of Immersion Youth Repertory.

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After growing up here and graduating from Mayo High School, Johnson earned a bachelor’s of fine arts at the University of Colorado’s Theatre Performance Conservatory. From there, her acting and directing credits include the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Curious Theatre, Stories on Stage, Aurora Fox, Theatreworks, The Wolf Theatre Academy and Arvada Center.

After moving back to Rochester to be closer to family and for the schools here, Johnson said, she began directing for Rochester Civic Theatre. Her name was on the playbill for more than a half-dozen productions, most recently “Into the Woods.”

These days, Johnson said, with the Civic and Immersion keeping her engaged from sun up to sundown, she is continually inspired by the vibrancy of the arts community here and of the downtown where she lives. Both deserve a standing ovation, she said.


How do you describe your style?

Eclectic. Boho. Unique. Feminine.

Please tell us more?

I love art. And the only things people usually see me buy are works of art, whether for on the walls, on my person or in my ears. Now I don’t have much wall space so, so I buy works of art you can wear.

Where did your style originate?

Misha Johnson
Misha Johnson on Monday, June 27, 2022, in Rochester, Minnesota.
Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin

I also love to travel. Whenever we go someplace new, I always look to bring something back and that is art. For everywhere I have been, my souvenirs always end up being either a unique article of clothing or a piece of jewelry. That is true for what I have from Colorado, too. And, also Thailand. I lived in Thailand for two years, so I have items from there. Each piece I have is just as unique as the next, reminding me of the vast network of artists across the globe.

Any inspiration from family, friends, people you admire in the theater here or elsewhere?

If there is inspiration that comes from anywhere, it probably comes from art and theater. I enjoy watching our set designers and costume designers put all of these wonderful things on the stage.


What do you hope your style communicates?

That art is not just for the wall or museums. That you should have fun with your wardrobe and support artists in the process.

What are the most important components of your wardrobe?

Shoes. I need comfortable close-toed shoes for my work on a regular basis. I can be in a dress backstage, but I need comfortable shoes. I joke because I have nice black tennis shoes and then also my high heels.

Misha Johnson
Misha Johnson on Monday, June 27, 2022, in Rochester, Minnesota.
Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin

Anything else important in the realm of comfort or convenience?

I have a whole wardrobe in my office. Whatever the occasion, whether a TV interview or going to paint a set, I have a rack of clothes on the back of my office door. In live theater, you never know what will happen, what you will need to be in for the day. You might need closed-toed shoes and not be able to show off your pedicure.

Do you have wardrobe favorites on the more formal side?

As the managing director of The Rochester Civic Theatre, my life revolves around events, so having a closet of items I can wear to any and all of them are important. And it helps I love dressing up. I have these lovely dresses that are embroidered with really unique patterns. I have my green dress with yellow birds. It’s from Thailand. I have another with owls. They are fun art pieces that are not just a little black dress. And they have a story to them.


What should every well-dressed woman have in her wardrobe?

A Superhero cape – something that you can put on that makes you feel like you could do anything. If you don't have that cape in your closet now, take your best friend with you right now and go find it.

Is there an accessory or two that you are never without?

Mala beads. And earrings. No matter what I am wearing you will usually see me with them. … I make the beads. Mala beads are for meditation and calming and provide my Zen moment. I love making them and giving them away. ... My earrings come from places I’ve lived and traveled to.

Misha Johnson
Misha Johnson on Monday, June 27, 2022, in Rochester, Minnesota.
Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin

Anything priceless contribute to your style?

I don’t usually ask for gifts. But I love any and all of the items from family and friends who have given them to me. My grandmother was a chef with eight children and was a no-nonsense, no-frills person, and I think I picked that up. I love collecting the items that are part of a memory, from my travels or from others. The items are little tokens of gratefulness. The memories associated are priceless.

Is there something in your wardrobe people would find surprising?

Almost all of my clothes are dresses or pants that look like skirts and also most of them have pockets. Very helpful for running around in the theater.

Preferred season in terms of clothing?

Fall. I love layers and I love boots. I love boots with heels. I love them brown. I love them black. I love them short with buttons or zippers. I don’t have very many boots, but the ones I have are all different.

Do you have any favorite places to shop in town?

I love going to street festivals like Art on the Avenue where so many local artists sell their work.

Parting thoughts?

Don't be afraid to have fun with your clothes. And be you – everyone else is already taken.

Do you know someone who has unique style? Send nominations to life@postbulletin.com with "Your Style" in the subject line.

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