STORY TIME. This is a LONG read...but consider it a rough draft excerpt from my memoirs (Edit: I was kidding when I started writing this, but now, not so much lol).
Ambiance! Imagine me writing it in a leather-bond journal, by a pool in my mansion in the Hollywood Hills with the Barbara Walters soft-focus blur - provides the perfect dreamy effect. There's a drink with an umbrella in it sitting beside me. I'm inexplicably wearing shades.
Back when I was in college, I took the initiative to just START my career. No advice, no coursebook, no help...I just got up and did it. I just STARTED. One day in the middle of the school week I took my good friend Andrea to New York with me to attend the birthday dinner for Eva Marcille (actress and winner of America's Next Top Model) being held at Chez Josephine - a restaurant in NYC named after the great Josephine Baker. I had never met Eva prior but I WAS running a website for her with fashion and art creator, Kennard Lilly - apparently our creative collaboration garnered the right kind of attention.
Eva ironically - or purposely - had her party at Chez Josephine as she just did a Josephine Baker stylized photo-shoot with the legendary photographer and my friend, Stan Shaffer. I thought it was marketing brilliance - she was a CoverGirl, Josephine is legendary, it's her birthday; it was a win-win kinda thing. Stan was amazing...he also photographed, singer Frenchie Davis, who I now call a friend - funny how the world works.
So anyway, Andrea and I drive to New York from the mountains of Maryland on a Wednesday morning to party in NY later that evening. I'm wearing a butterscotch leather jacket, a black shirt with a black and white striped tie paired with blue jeans and matching suede butterscotch Tommy Hilfiger soft-side shoes - I just KNEW I was dressed. Ha! We arrive at Chez Josephine and Naima Mora (the current reigning winner of ANTM at the time) is standing outside the place in this knee-length magenta wrap dress that puffed and flared from her waist - she looked like a Barbie doll. She was gorgeous and caught me by surprise. She was so sweet. We chatted for a while before entering the restaurant WITH her which made our entrance all the more grand - in my eyes, at the time, this was totally surreal. Now comes the glorious Malcolm Harris - a man who wears many hats and ALL of them fabulous. Malcolm was a fashion designer at this time who had previously worked with a slew of celebrities and designed countless runways of amazing garments - he was also dressing Eva. Malcolm is actually the person who invited me to the party and dinner! He had got my contact information from the website I was running for Eva at the time and thought it a beautiful idea we meet. At least that's how I remember it.
Malcolm and all the other guest - some I'm much closer to now than I could've imagined then - all looked at us as we walked in. Malcolm stood up, gave me a hug and immediately introduced me to Eva who was as sweet as pumpkin pie. She was FLAWLESS in tailored slacks and a nice white blouse...skin dewy and paired with slick hair. Her cousin - and celebrity make-up artist - Terrell Mullin was there as well. We were whisked away to a private upstairs lounge and snapped pictures and talked and later dinner was finished and then we all headed to club Cheetah...I think that's the name. There are pictures from the evening out there but I don't exactly remember the club. So we go to the club - I was not of age...but that didn't matter, Malcolm grabbed my hand and whisked me by security as Eva, Naima and others were walking the red carpet. Inside it is PACKED. The fabulous Glamo had me by the hand and I was so scared to let go and get lost in the crowd. We finally arrived in the VIP section. There are many other ANTM models there and celebrities. I was sitting right beside Star Jones at a booth between Naima and Eva. Star was married to Al Reynolds at the time. We didn't speak - though she looked at me often. Probably wondering who the hell I was and why I had an entire booth to myself with one friend. It was my first "industry" experience and I will never forget it. short sexy wedding dresses
After that, I kept communication open with most everyone I had the opportunity to speak with. I eventually photographed Eva (that's a whole other story). We actually became something like friends I thought...she probably considered me an associate - at best. The photos we did were...copied a lot, so I consider them iconic. That one night out provided me the avenue to work with people in this industry and since then...I haven't looked back. Well, until now.
So, no one in my college believed we actually went to NY and did all of the things we did. We drove back that night! Got back to school early the next morning. We told EVERYONE! We were TOO excited! They all thought we were lying until we posted Facebook pictures as proof and then that silenced the doubters. I've been doing that since."
I say all of this to say, back then...everyone thought it probably totally unrealistic to do ANY thing remotely close to their dreams. So it was bizarre to see me - this student just like them - to go and just DO it. NOW...that we are older I see SO many people I went to school with now in this same industry to some capacity. People have become photographers, make-up artist, designers, agents, directors and more.
You just never know how what you're doing influences people around you. How what you're creating in your life blooms that flower in someone-else. It is your duty to make your dreams reality because in doing so...you're making it a reality for someone to even dream a dream.
Keep dreaming and manifesting. Keep the positive cycle going...