Friends in Los Angeles –who always saw me coming and going suitcase in hand– nicknamed me the Dutchess Abroad. The Latin founders of Tallèr Amsterdam said I was their Mama Grande, a guy in Texas called me U.T., short for You Teach! I answer to all. But my parents Jaap and Nita named me Judith. I was born in 1955 in Zandvoort, a Dutch beach town and lived in Amsterdam from age one through seven, just two bridges from the Museum Quarter. In 1963 Jaap turned 65 and we moved to Allardsoog, the crossroads between meadows, forest and moor, where the three provinces, Groningen, Friesland and Drenthe meet. Three years later, we relocated to Noordenveld, at the crossroads of Alteveer, Roderesch and Steenbergen.
In May of 1974 I left for Los Angeles, where I studied fashion design, history of costume and fashion illustration at UCLA Extension and modern dance with Claudia Chaplin in Santa Monica. Via France I returned to the Netherlands in 1977. I worked as the assistant buyer of gift articles at Metz & Co (with a desk in the office under the Rietveld Dome before starting my theater design education at Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam in 1979.