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Nicole Schoen Visconti, 32, Jersey City, she/her

Tell us about yourself
I’m a music marketing agent, and my job is to put together strategies for tour announces for our clients, which include artist from all different genres and ranging from club to arena level. I got started in the music industry over 10 years ago by attending shows in my then local music scene in Poughkeepsie, NY and started working for an independent promoter there. My hobbies include playing music from time to time, going to Disney parks, playing Animal Crossing, and collecting nostalgic things from my childhood (Pokemon, Disney, Sanrio, Nickelodeon, etc.) and Funko pops… too many pops… I love cooking, baking, traveling, hanging out with my dog, and exploring local businesses in Jersey City and the NYC area.

Hardstyle & Phone Photos: Ruby Olivia Photography

What are you listening to these days? 
I’m sure this is cliche but my music taste is all over the place, especially since I work in music. I grew up on a lot of emo and metal music and got into hardcore once I started going to shows in Poughkeepsie. My favorite band is Architects, and I love Beyonce and Kendrick Lamar. Honestly, I never really listened to that many straight edge bands but have so much respect for them and what they’ve done for the community. Of course I’ll listen to Have Heart and Guns Up! From time to time.

What’s your straight edge story? 
I was around 18 or so when I claimed edge, but prior to that I never drank, smoked or did drugs. I never knew there was a name or a community for people who didn’t do any of those things, and I really didn’t know anyone that I could relate to in that way.

I grew up in a bar that my parents owned, so I think seeing grown adults acting stupid when they were drunk made me not interested in drinking. When my friends started smoking cigarettes and weed, I thought the smell was gross so that also didn’t interest me. As I got older, I started to watch my friends and past partners drink and do drugs a lot and experiencing them at their worst when they were high or drunk. Plus, I like having self-control and knowing exactly what I’m doing, what I’m saying and where I am at all times.

I found out about straight edge by going to shows in Poughkeepsie, NY and meeting other edge people. it took me maybe 6 months after that to start getting edge tattoos (I have 2) since I was so excited and proud to know there were others like me!

What drew me to the community was the openness. I will say that at first I felt superior to others who weren’t edge, but quickly realized that wasn’t fair and I wouldn’t want people to act superior to me because I don’t drink or smoke or do drugs… which was something I dealt with throughout high schools and intro college.

How do you define straight edge?  What makes straight edge different from being sober? 
I define straight edge as someone who doesn’t drink, smoke or do drugs.

If someone is sober all around, I would say they’re straight edge. Why not welcome people who have decided to live a truly sober lifestyle? However, if they’re sober from drinking but not smoking or doing drugs, I would just say they’re sober, which is still a big deal!

I don’t think I’ll ever not be edge. When I was in high school, a lot of people would say “wait until you’re legally able to drink” and my 21st birthday came and went, and nothing changed. However, there have been a few instances in my life where I was given alcohol on accident, including my wedding last year. I was given champagne instead of the sparkling cider that I had to provide since the venue wasn’t used to having guests who didn’t drink, but also didn’t want to just drink soda or juice. I got super upset, but my husband confirmed that it was an accident and that I was still edge

What keeps me committed are my friends and my husband. They’re so supportive of this lifestyle and I feel like this is truly me, and I would never want to change that. Those who are supportive of me will even test out drinks for me at restaurants just to make sure I don’t accidentally drink, which is just a whole other level of support.

True or False: “If you’re not now, you never were”? 
False. I personally have always been edge (aside from the few situations where I was given alcohol on accident), but I don’t think we should put down or push out people who have newly claimed edge, or used to be and decided to come back around.

Individuals in recovery have stumbled upon straight edge, and it has really spoken to them.  Do you feel that the straight edge community has been, and should be welcoming to those in recovery?   
100% yes. I’m not sure if the straight edge community has always been welcoming of those in recovery, but if someone is making a big lifestyle change like claiming edge, we should welcome them with open arms. I think people need to realize that people who are in recovery are looking to change their lives for the better and want to be a part of a community that embraces that lifestyle and can be a support system to them.

Have you ever felt that your gender has had influenced your experience in the “straight edge and/or hardcore scene”?
My gender has affected my experience with the scene for sure. Even now as someone who works in music, people still assume I’m just “someone’s girlfriend or wife” and don’t realize I’m there to represent my clients and my company. I have received criticism from people for being a woman who is straight edge assuming that I’m trying to cover up bad behavior from the past from partying too much, but that is not the case. It doesn’t happen as often now, but 10 years ago it was a constant thing.

Do you feel that the straight edge movement/scene is inclusive? 
I think it depends on the scene or your location. I feel like a lot of people don’t welcome those who are newly straight edge, or who have claimed edge before and are looking to claim it again. We have no idea what people have been or are going through, but if they want to be part of the community in a genuine way, we should welcome that. That also goes for people of different backgrounds – we should all be one cohesive community.

Has being straight edge had an impact on your relationships (family, friends, significant others)?
In the past yes, but not so much now. I do have some family that doesn’t get it, and always asks me when I’m going to have my first drink with them. My husband, parents and friends have been super supportive since day one/when I first met them. My husband is not edge, but naturally has cut back on casual drinking and it’s been great for him mentally and physically. I will say, a lot of my colleagues at first found it odd that I didn’t drink, especially working in music, but over time they’ve accepted it and are supportive of it. I do need to work on not telling people that I’m boring because I don’t drink – I just use that as a cover up so people don’t ask me too many questions or make me feel bad.

There’s an ongoing debate on whether one can be straight edge without being a part of the music scene, what’s your thoughts on this?
I think anyone can be straight edge, regardless of a connection to a music scene or not. For me, I was straight edge before I got involved in my local scene in Poughkeepsie. I did official claim edge and became more proud and outspoken about it once I met other edge people.

Final Thoughts? 
Be kind. It’s been hard to navigate the last few years, and showing some kindness goes a long way.

Also, I think it’s so great that you’re highlighting straight edge women! It’s been great to read the other interviews and I’m honored to be a part of it.

Mother, wife, small business owner.

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