I’ve worn many hats – all of them stylish – over my thirtysomething years. I’ve been a Saturday Night Live Production Assistant, a rock band groupie, red Carpet Correspondent, self-produced internet pop star, lead singer in a rock group for the NASA Space Program, VH-1 reality TV star, 50 Cent music video producer and, most notably, an on-air style and trend expert. The latter brought me the celebrity I sought over the decades.
I never set out to be a fashion guru. As a child, I had an intense ambition for Madonna-like success (pop icon, acting, spokesmodel, etc). As early as eight years old, I asked my mom for an agent as a birthday present. I had an innate desire to shine bright and make people feel good in the process. I loved singing in musicals, acting in plays and putting on productions for family and friends. When friends were hanging out at the mall over summer breaks in high school, I was studying music theory and scene study with Gwyneth Paltrow in the prestigious Williamstown Theatre Festival apprenticeship program. You get the picture. I stood out not for my style but my bravado.
It was this same professional intensity, combined with a bit of luck (and fate?) that led me into the casting offices at E! Entertainment in 2004. I had written and produced a television show pilot and made the move to Los Angeles. The pilot was entitled ‘She’s Crafty!’ and the show was a punk Martha Stewart-style program for the post-teenage set. However, I was still working as a server at a Middle Eastern restaurant on La Brea. Two weeks in, I waited on a table of entertainment executives. One man, Jason Newman, was a manager with a company that represented Ashton Kutcher and Punk’d for MTV. He had recognized me from some previous work I had done as the host (and creator) of the underground internet hit, Starfreaky for the PSEUDO.com Online Television Network. He was on board to “make me a star”. A few “no’s” from the networks later, ‘She’s Crafty!’ garnered the interest of the E!/Style Network Executives.
As I drove up to the looming E! Entertainment building on Wilshire Blvd., I had the feeling of pure elation. I sat in their office, with my Forever 21 corduroy pink fitted jacket and knock-off Seven Jeans from Canal Street glowing in their compliments of my “designer” couture and how well I put together a Marc Jacobs outfit for less (if they only knew how much less!?).
A network meeting generally consists of small talk – “getting to know each other” bullshit – and then the pitch. I chatted comfortably about the ‘She’s Crafty!’ concept and when one woman asked if I was a wardrobe stylist because of the style aspect of the show, I answered, without missing a beat, “Yes!” There it is. Fake it ’til you make it, baby! I had never really styled anybody or anything in my life other than myself, and a few t-shirts I deconstructed for some friends and I was being asked to make a guest appearance a station’s most popular makeover show as a wardrobe stylist.
At the beginning I often felt like a fraud, but I stuck with my “Yes!” mentality, faking my expertise and often my confidence. This attitude led to 150 plus hours of style and trend television hosting, countless national tours for major brands at malls complete with autograph signings, and styling gigs with celebrities for red carpet and editorial work. I had made it. Today, I am often sought after for my opinions on trends, style and fashion. I’ve come to realize that my opinions and just that, my opinions.
A successful career and a successful life are a choice. Your choice. A mixture of sass, style know-how, fearlessness and a dash of good ol’ fashion B.S. can get you in any door. Even if you don’t feel like you have the confidence or chops to be (insert dream life here), that’s where the fun part comes in. Stop dreaming or talking about the life you want and just do it. Your choices reflect your destiny. You too, can fake it ’til you make it. In the coming weeks, I’ll provide even more info on how to lie your way into the life of your dreams.