Stephanie Russo Baca is ombudsman, program director and staff attorney for the Utton Transboundary Resources Center at the University of New Mexico. The center looks for ways to resolve border issues when it comes to shared resources like water, as well as wildlife and farming.
She’s worn boots since she was a little girl because, after some major foot surgeries, they were the most comfortable shoes she could wear.
“I remember I wore boots in preschool, and I happened to have plastic spurs,” Russo Baca says.
But she says the boys in school would try to steal her spurs.
“So what did I do naturally, then, is I spurred them,” Russo Baca says.
The school banned her from wearing spurs, but she never stopped wearing her boots.
“That was were my love began, since [I was] a little girl,” she says.
As an attorney, she doesn’t exactly wear what people expect someone in her profession to; she wears her boots, for one thing.
“I don’t often look like an attorney,” she says. “Plus, the boots are a “good conversation starter.’”
Her boots go with her to the courtroom, but “also when I ride my donkey, also when I’m out working on my farm,” Russo Baca says.
“I’m wearing them all day until I take them off at nighttime,” she says.
She does take the boots off for one of her favorite hobbies: roller derby. Her derby name is Calamity Pain – a play on Calamity Jane.
Russo Baca says she’d retrofit her boots with wheels if she could, and her husband has tried. But she says the boots aren’t supportive enough for skating.
“I think that every person … especially little girls, should own a pair of boots because you never know when you’re going to need to put ‘em on and get to work,” she says.
Written by Caroline Covington.