Photo by Richard Kelly.

She’s a leading force in transforming Pittsburgh’s fashion scene and creating platforms for people of color in fashion and the arts. Founder of FashionAFRICANA, which co-presented the fantastic exhibit Heroes & Sheroes: The Art and Influence of Ruth E. Carter in Black Cinema (see it before it closes Dec. 2) at Heinz History Center, Demeatria Boccella is also the co-founder of Utopia Model Agency.

During the 2009 G20 Summit, she was selected to represent Pittsburgh at the White House. When NEXTpittsburgh launched in March 2014, she was the subject of one of our features which included the fabulous photo above. 

What upcoming events are you excited to attend?

I’m on a Pittsburgh theater mission … just saw the play “Pipeline” by Dominique Morisseau at City Theatre and am looking forward to seeing “Sweat” by Lynn Nottage at Pittsburgh Public Theater on Dec. 7. I’m so excited to see these AMAZING productions in Pittsburgh!

What is your big idea for Pittsburgh?

To develop a distinctive dynamic fashion industry in Pittsburgh incorporating technology and manufacturing.

What is the one thing that would surprise Pittsburghers most about you?

When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a nun because I thought the garb was so stylish – especially the habit.

Demeatria Boccella. Photo by Joanna Totolici.

Write three words to describe Pittsburgh:

Charitable, resilient and family.

What’s one thing you would love to change about Pittsburgh?

The one thing I would love to change about Pittsburgh is the lack of Black leadership. I would like to see an intentional pro-active recruitment plan implemented in every sector to attract, promote and retain Black leadership within our region.

Podcast you’re addicted to?

NPR’s How I Built This with Guy Raz and The Wall Street Journal’s Secrets of Wealthy Women.

Who should be the unofficial Mayor of Pittsburgh?

A fierce Black woman leader.

Ideal date night in Pittsburgh?

Dinner with my husband at Molinaro’s, live jazz at the August Wilson Center, cocktails at Andy’s Wine Bar and a luxurious overnight stay at the Fairmont Hotel culminating with a spa experience in the a.m.

What book would you highly recommend?

Becoming” by Michelle Obama.

Where will we find you this Saturday night?

At The Manor Theatre with my family after a full day of holiday shopping at my favorite small businesses.

Demeatria Boccella. Photo by Joanna Totolici.

What song in your playlist is on endless repeat?

Smile” by Lil Duval (clean version LOL).

It’s time to unwind. Where do you head?


Which food truck do you want parked outside your house?


Fill in the blank: In Pittsburgh, I can’t live without my:

Favorite bakeries and coffee shops 🙂

What is the best part of your job?

The best part of my job is collaborating with a diverse group of brilliant creatives working together to bring a concept to fruition.

Favorite place you’ve traveled to in the past year and why?

Paris, because of its beautiful historic architecture, diversity and great style. I was there with FashionAFRICANA to do research on the standard of beauty from a global perspective as a participant and funding recipient of KEYWORD: INTERNATIONAL, a collaborative project between the Kelly Strayhorn Theater and Carnegie Museum of Art.

See who else is NEXT Up here.

Have a NEXT Up suggestion? Email us!

Jennifer BaronArts & Entertainment / Jobs Editor

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator of Handmade Arcade. Musically, she is in a band called The Garment District and is a founding member of Brooklyn's The Ladybug Transistor.