Teen breaks out of his comfort zone

BHS senior discusses his journey to becoming himself in high school

courtesy of Jack DelPrete

Originality is often admired, but not frequently mastered. For senior Jack DelPrete, originality is who he is: four-inch high heels, long hair, flawless makeup, a fashionable wardrobe, and a confidence that never falters.

The journey to where he is today was long, but life-changing. He drew inspiration from friends and social media influencers who are just like him, and eventually, he blossomed into the individual he is now.

“I wasn’t me for the first half of high school, and now I’m me,” said DelPrete. “It’s [relieving].”

He has always followed the fashion industry, but never involved himself in it.

“I decided it’s high school, it’s going to happen someday, [so] get it done in a small community,” said DelPrete. “I just slowly started being me.”

All of DelPrete’s friends and family supported and admire him for taking the necessary steps to be himself.

“What makes Jack stand out is that, while walking down the hall at school, you can see him strutting his high heels, or you can see him with his makeup done — better than I could ever do mine,” friend and teammate Leia Dorais said.

Virginia Tiah, who also runs track, spends a lot of time with Jack and expressed what she thinks are some of his best qualities.

“[I admire] the way he cares for his friends, how he lives in his truth and doesn’t care what anyone thinks of him, how he carries himself so gracefully, [and] his passion and dedication for things he cares strongly about,” Tiah said.

Virginia added that he taught her she “can do great things once [she] gets out of [her] head, especially when it comes to running.”

“[Growing up,] he was very sweet, quiet,” said mother Lisa Gouldsbrough. “He worshipped his brothers.”

However, DelPrete grew up into his own person, bringing pride to his parents.

“I would say [my proudest moment with Jack was] prom,” said Gouldsbrough. “He did it in his way and he was spectacular. I was not that brave when I was his age.”

DelPrete wore black six-inch heels, a black tux and bowtie, and long, flowing curls for his prom attire.

“[His strength] is who he is,” said Gouldsbrough. “From when he was little, he was his own person, definitely marched to his own drum.”

DelPrete remembers the excitement he felt at finally having the ability to be himself without considering what other people would say and do.

“I think of the people around me as a society, and obviously that’s a big hole [of the larger society], but I’m only a small part of it,” said DelPrete. “Whatever happens to me is not going to affect the whole society.”

However, people did not make it easy for him to express himself in the beginning.

“Some people say I’m pretty. Some people say I’m gross. I’ve had people cough at me, laugh at me,” said DelPrete. “I’ve had people call me names, hit me, and I respond the same way- I mean, I wouldn’t hit anyone.”

DelPrete indicated that people misunderstood who he was, and while they sometimes still do, he does not let it get to him anymore. The judgements of other people have only made him fiercer.

“They have labeled me as transgender, tranny, and it’s just not me,” said DelPrete. “I’m a guy. I’m androgynous — like [YouTuber] Jeffree Star.”

Androgyny combines the appearances of both males and females. In DelPrete’s case, it references individuals who are anatomically male, but are expressly more feminine.

“[Seeing male beauty influencers on social media shows] that I’m not the only one who is like this,” said DelPrete. “There are other people in the community who understand what I’m going through.”

DelPrete learns from makeup gurus like James Charles, along with Tati Westbrook and Nikkitutorials.

“They will throw shade if they need to throw shade — but they’re literally just like me,” said DelPrete. “They’re humble, they’re nice, and they will get down and dirty if they need to.”

Despite loving the beauty community, he needed to ease himself into conveying that physically.

“[I was scared to start wearing makeup and heels] because I hate being judged,” said DelPrete. “The only time I like being judged is if I’m going into a competition.”

DelPrete competes in horse competitions throughout the summer all over New England.

“He loved horses from the time he was three, began riding when he was five, and it has been his passion ever since,” Gouldsbrough said.

Spending time outdoors and “[dealing] with giant animals” excites DelPrete. Taking care of his “small farm” is part of every morning for him, along with considering outfits for barn trips after school to see Kitty.

“I always have to accommodate clothes for if I’m going to the barn after [school,] so I just have extra clothes or barn clothes so I can go to the barn, do that, [and] come back for track,” said DelPrete. “I always forget makeup wipes so I leave makeup on for track.”

DelPrete is an active member of BHS’s cross country team and both indoor and outdoor track teams, and has been throughout high school.

Along with running “with a full-beat face,” or a full face of makeup, he says people do view him as an intimidating opponent.

“I don’t find myself intimidating during sports [either, but] I’ve had people point at me and say, ‘That person is not fast,’ and then I end up beating them,” DelPrete said.

He has a motivation that does not falter.

“At practice, he’s always up on the track practicing for the 300 hurdles,” said Dorais. “He has a strong drive and will continue to run the hurdles until he gets it right.”

Tiah and Dorais both told how DelPrete ensures that his teammates are putting forth their best effort, cheering them on from the sidelines as they race by.

“I am amazed and humbled and most proud of Jack when others tell me a story about how kind he was to them or someone else,” mother Beth DelPrete said.

His kindness will continue this fall by sharing his love for cosmetics with people through Empire Beauty School in Portland.

“College wasn’t for me,” said DelPrete. “I like making people feel pretty.”

He said that later in life, around the age of 35, he hopes to own a show barn where he can train people on competing with their horses and maybe go on to compete at Worlds in Kentucky. DelPrete is a multifaceted individual with an optimistic future ahead of him.

“I walk to the beat of my own drum. Everyone is different, and I know I’m different,” said DelPrete. “Every song has their own beat, they’re never exactly the same. There’s always something different about it.”

His confidence has impacted more than just his life.

“I love that he is not afraid to stand out from the rest,” said Dorais. “He has inspired me to not be afraid to be myself, even if it is different from others.”