Caroline Cotten Grenier
Texarkana native, Caroline Cotton has been leaving her fingerprint in the fashion world for the last seven years. She worked three years for Marc Jacobs as an Atelier Assistant, and then moved on to become a Materials Development Associate for brands like Coach, Kate Spade and Stuart Weitzman. In June, she and her family moved to Los Angeles for her new role as Fabric Developer at Alo, sourcing new materials for design consideration and working to develop new materials for quality yoga products.
What is your favorite Texarkana memory?
Growing up, I had some great friends, and we would make each other laugh all the time. I don’t know if I could share any one story from those memories. I loved getting to share my time as a Showstopper with my sister, Amanda. It was great to be on the same team and hang out. Picking up ICEEs after Thursday afternoon practices and belting out Celine Dion was a weekly tradition.
What is your nickname for Texarkana?
I call it TXK.
What do you think makes Texarkana famous?
Besides the obvious Town That Dreaded Sundown, I think the arts are an impressive part of Texarkana. I met people at OSU who were familiar with our award-winning high school yearbooks, and friends in New York who knew about local artists. Dance, theater, art and journalism were available and taught by some of the best educators in the state and even the entire nation. I’ll always be thankful these courses were part of my education.
What do you love about Texarkana?
People are willing to look out for each other—especially when we find each other living outside of Texarkana. It took me moving to NYC to meet Clay Mills, who graduated from Texas High a few years before I graduated from Pleasant Grove. We lived a few blocks from each other, and he really helped me settle in. We are close friends now and can’t believe our paths never crossed when we lived in Texas.
What do you miss about Texarkana?
I miss my family and friends. I see my family often, but it takes a lot more coordination to see friends now, especially since people are starting their own families and not everyone still lives in town.
What would you change about Texarkana?
The size of the airport. It would be really nice to have easier access and direct flights to get home.
How do you describe Texarkana to your friends?
It’s a small town, with big personalities. You’ll never meet a stranger.
Who is someone from Texarkana that impacted your life?
I really loved a lot of my teachers at Pleasant Grove and felt like they were genuinely invested in seeing me succeed. Also, my dance teacher, Davida High, deserves a BIG shout out. She instilled a lot of confidence in me I may not have found on my own. She expected a lot from us but would help us with anything if we asked.
Where was your favorite place to shop in Texarkana?
I was a big fan of Gap. You had to be 18 to work there, so on my 18th birthday, I went and applied. I worked there until I went off to college.
Where was your favorite place to eat in Texarkana?
Easy… TaMolly’s! After I could drive, I would go multiple times a week and would always order the same thing. It is still the first place I ask to go eat when I come back to town, and I still order the same thing.
I also really miss The Cobbler Shoppe and their cream cheese pie—that was my favorite treat. My mom has tried to recreate it for me, but it’s just not the same.
What words do you live by?
A good conversation is worth skipping sleep for. I’ve never regretted spending a little extra time with a friend.
What was the teen hangout when you lived here?
In the summers, I spent a lot of time at Jill Mitchell’s (Felix) house using their pool, or at First Baptist Church youth “helping.” Sonic was another go-to.
Were you a Hawk, Leopard, Razorback or Tiger?
I was a Hawk! And a Showstopper. My first game as a junior lieutenant was against Hooks, and it rained the night before. We were thrilled the game wasn’t rained out but didn’t think about what it meant for the field’s condition. During our entrance at halftime, I totally wiped out. I still remember thinking I didn’t want to be trampled by the rest of the line running in behind me like a scene from The Lion King, so I bounced up as fast as I could and kept going. My dad was filming the performance and had no idea it was me until my mom told him. Then, he had to stop filming because he was laughing so hard.
TXK Roots is Texarkana Magazine’s forum to highlight and honor Texarkana natives who have accomplished big things in the world. These folks may have relocated, but they took the values, education, work ethic and creativity instilled in them by growing up in this unique border city and used these qualities to blaze extraordinary trails. We asked them to share their thoughts about growing up here. No matter how far from Texarkana they may find themselves, we will always consider them our neighbors and we are proud to claim them as forever members of our extended Texarkana community. After all, “everyone is famous in their hometown!”