Standing out from the crowd

Tony Sawyer shows off his piercings.
Jimmy Britt / Castleton Spartan


     Among the 2,000 or so students at Castleton College, there are always those who stand out and catch the eyes of others. There are those who leap the fence that encapsulates expectation to roam the lands of their own desire.

     They stick out like a sunflower in the corn rows. They challenge our brains to accept what our eyes see and their simple appearance is enough to bring forth our truest convictions concerning what is and what is not permissible in our society.

     Tony Sawyer is one such person who jostles a persons’ consciousness. Though he would never say it is his intent, Sawyer has caused quite a stir this past semester on campus. He has been mentioned on ‘Yik Yak’ for his bold choice of clothing and his illustrious mustache. The metal ‘mustache’ septum piercing is one of the most notable parts of his appearance, but the rose-colored glasses (that help with his color-blindness), skull earrings, and blue dress that occasionally accompanies Sawyer is always sure to turn heads.

     Sawyer says he understands that his appearance will draw a lot of attention and he likes to have fun with it any chance he can.

     “Whenever people say my piercing looks like a mustache, I always tell them it is for mustache awareness, to raise awareness for those who cannot grow one, but in reality, I'm just along for the ride of life, and it has seemed to take me to a stop where I got a piercing that looks like a mustache,” says Sawyer.

     “Yes, I do stand out from a crowd, but I am not doing it for attention; I am actually doing it because it makes me happy, and sure, I may get judged by everybody I meet, but as long as I'm doing what I like to do, that's all that matters to me, and that should go for everybody as well.”

     Sawyer is a sophomore who studies history education with minors in music, theater arts, and writing. He has a love for the performing arts that has propelled his life to where he is now.

Jimmy Britt / Castleton Spartan

     Sawyer is also the music director and temporary treasurer at WIUV, the school’s radio station. He enjoys writing screenplays and working on movie and stage productions. In high school, Sawyer was featured in the Vermont State Drama Festival as the youngest director to represent the state. There he showcased a play that he wrote and directed for his school’s theater department. Sawyer’s new aspirations include learning how to play four new instruments by the end of the academic year.

     Sawyer’s driven dedication to his lifestyle stems from a strong relationship with his grandparents. One of his grandfathers passed away the day Sawyer started his college career, and the last thing his grandfather said to him was, “have fun in college.”

     “And, well, you don’t want to disobey your grandfather, am I right?” he said with a grin.    

     Sawyer got his septum pierced the day after he died and said he was trying to deal with his death.

     "I was not thinking about what I was doing and somehow wound up in a piercing parlor getting a needle through my septum.  The day after, I went home for his funeral and that is when I realized what I just did the day before," he said. "I didn't tell my family that I did this and when I arrived home, I faced a lecture from my grandmother about piercings while my younger brothers just stared at me.  Most of my family, however, thought it looked good."

     As for what his grandfather would have thought?

    “Honestly, my grandfather probably would have said something like, ‘What the hell did you do’ when he first saw my piercing and glared at me for an hour and then accepted it,” he said.

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