Oxford Encounters: “Ole Miss Junior Darian Tessone – Reaching Higher and Higher”

This is the first in a new series of stories by HottyToddy.com contributor Steve Vassallo, who has a knack for finding people around Oxford with an interesting story to tell. As a busy man around town, Steve is always running into new people, and now he will be sharing these stories with our readers.

Darian Tessone

HottyToddy.com crossed paths accidentally recently with this ambitious Ole Miss student who happens to be a fourth generation Italian. Her story is quite interesting as her knowledge of life far exceeds her years.

HottyToddy.com: Darian, we always like to inform our readers first where you hail from and how you found Oxford.

Darian Tessone: I was attending Herrin High School near Carbondale, Illinois when a friend invited me to an Ole Miss football weekend. I fell in love with the school immediately, primarily because of the beauty of the campus. Of the 260 students in my class, at the time I decided to come here, I was the only student headed in this direction.

HottyToddy.com: Wow! Does Darian stand for daring? That was quite bold, selecting a university five hours from family and friends, not knowing anyone. 

Darian Tessone: No, not really. My dad wanted to name me Jade. However, my mother liked the name Darian because of a young girl’s name in the movie…”The Boy Scout.”

HottyToddy.com: We understand you almost ended up with the wrong family? 

Darian Tessone: That was just a joke as I was born on April fool’s day, April 1. The hospital played a trick on my mom and brought in a boy baby instead. However, she knew she had just delivered a baby girl.
HottyToddy.com: What about other siblings? 
Darian Tessone: I am the oldest of three other sisters….KTbell; Alex and Paige.
HottyToddy.com: Are you all blonde?


Darian Tessone: All except for Paige who has red hair. You can imagine what we call her…”Red.” 

HottyToddy.com: Your major of business/marketing could take you on a number of different paths. Getting close yet to a career decision?(By the way, we encountered Darian while at her hostess position at the new Marriott Courtyard.)

Tessone and Vassallo

Darian Tessone: I haven’t settled yet, but once I do, full speed ahead. My most enjoyable class is IMC (Integrated Marketing Communications) as I thoroughly enjoy social media tweeting 3x daily on an average. My favorite subject has always been math. 

HottyToddy.com: We understand your high school life was much more difficult than just cheerleading and playing tennis.

Darian Tessone: My mom passed away on my very first day of high school. We were living in Arkansas at the time. Following her death, I moved to Illinois where I completed high school. She truly made me the person I am today. 

HottyToddy.com: I cannot imagine how challenging this must have been for a 13-year-old girl. (Both John Lennon and Paul McCartney lost their mothers at an early age which helped draw the two closer.) Let’s shift gears to Ole Miss. What do you like about this place?

Darian Tessone: Definitely the people. I am a social butterfly. I enjoy meeting new people as you can tell, I like to converse. 

HottyToddy.com: Speaking of meeting people, where are some of the students from that you have met?

Darian Tessone: Countries like Uganda; Australia and Thailand are a few where I have met other students from. I enjoy traveling, and for a high school graduation gift, my aunt took me to Paris and London.

HottyToddy.com: (Talking about a generational divide, my graduation gift was to find a job.) As you are a fourth generation Italian, any plans or thoughts about seeing Italy?

Darian Tessone: This is what I would like to do upon graduating in May, 2019. Other places I would like to visit are Hawaii, a return to Paris and Colorado. I could see myself actually living in Paris.

HottyToddy.com: Let’s do a lightning round. We say a word, then you give an immediate response.

“Places”….     ”        ….Beach
“Months”….    ”       …..Years
“Season”…..    ”      …..Summer
“Movies”…..    ”      ……Theatre
“People”……    ”     …….Friends
“Famous Actress”….. Darian….Dakota Fanning

HottyToddy.com: Away from school and work, what do you enjoy?

Darian Tessone: I like meeting people and going places such as the Square and to the pool where I can interact with others. I also enjoy just walking around campus and jogging. I love to be around dogs!
HottyToddy.com: Didn’t another young lady also from the Carbondale area also decide to come to Ole Miss?
Darian Tessone: Some months after I chose to come here, Lindy Stevenson also decided that Ole Miss would be her choice as well. We ended up being the only two from our class to do so.

HottyToddy.com: Do you have a roommate?

Darian Tessone: Yes, Reilly Thornton from Birmingham. We have become very close friends.
HottyToddy.com: Being so far away from home, are you able to get back often?
Darian Tessone: Only at Christmas and Thanksgiving. My job at the Green Roof Lounge and school keep me very busy. (When my parents dropped me off in front of Fort Baxter my freshman year, they told me if I couldn’t come home for Thanksgiving, they would understand. I took the hint and traveled to B’ham to see back to back performances by the Dave Clark Five, ala 1965). 
Darian has certainly matured quickly at a very young age because of what life has dealt her. Her favorite saying ..”The only person you should try to be better than, is the person you were yesterday.” We can all learn something from this as this young lady has already experienced her own version of  “A Hard Day’s Night.”

Steve VassalloSteve Vassallo is a HottyToddy.com contributor. Steve writes on Ole Miss athletics, Oxford business, politics and other subjects. He is an Ole Miss grad and former radio announcer for the basketball team. Currently, Steve is a highly successful leader in the real estate business who lives in Oxford with his wife Rosie. You can contact Steve at sovassallo@gmail.com or call him at 985-852-7745.

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