At FIT, they were inseparable: Jennifer Witting Farrell, Kim Makowski, Eve Salyer Miceli, and Gia Paccione, all Marketing: Fashion and Related Industries students, class of ’91. They matched up their course schedules and, when they could, grabbed a bite together at the cafeteria, the diner on the corner, or Levy’s on Seventh Avenue. To make plans, they taped notes inside their shared locker, which always housed a jumbo canister of hairspray. They flaunted their sky-high perms at discos like Chicago’s in Lodi, New Jersey; Hedges in Staten Island; and Pastels in Brooklyn—and got plenty of attention. “We used our hair to our advantage,” Paccione jokes.
They lived off campus and worked, sometimes multiple jobs, to make ends meet. Miceli was so hard up, she stole toilet paper from campus bathrooms. “We all had something in common: We were poor,” she says. “We had to fight hard for our education.”
After graduation, Paccione and Makowski remained close, but Farrell and Miceli drifted away. Paccione now oversees interns at a financial firm; Makowski is a kindergarten teacher in Englewood, N.J.; Farrell is the office manager at a chiropractor; and Miceli freelances as a merchandise coordinator.
An offhand comment and a lucky game of telephone led to the four friends reuniting in early 2023. Paccione’s former CFO had recently mentioned that he golfed with actor Jason Bateman. She knew Bateman had starred with Farrell’s brother, Steven Witting, in the ’80s sitcom The Hogan Family. So she asked the CFO to ask Bateman to ask Witting for Farrell’s number. When Paccione phoned, Farrell remembered her instantly—and then reached out to Miceli’s husband on Facebook.
The four friends met for lunch in February in Poughkeepsie and immediately started catching up, with no break in conversation. After 32 years apart, nothing had changed except their hair. “Jen was waiting for us in the parking lot,” Paccione recalls. “It was like we saw her the day before.”
“People are who they are,” Miceli says. “The second we got together, we were back.”