This brings me to this past weekend when I found out that Daisy Lewellyn, star of Bravo's reality show 'Blood, Sweat and Heels' lost her battle with cancer. I never watched the show, but I had the honor of working with Daisy in 2009 when I was in fashion school. I attended Virginia Marti College of Art and Design for fashion merchandising and was determined to be a part of any and everything that would help me get my foot in the fashion industry door, so when I read about the Seventeen Magazine Style Mix Tour coming to Strongsville Mall I knew I had to be all up in it!
And I was. It was a one day event on a hot August day and we had to be there super early, I want to say like 6 am or something crazy, and there I was all bright eyed and bushy tailed waiting for my orders. That's when I met Daisy. She was the host and the coordinator of the event which consisted of a fashion show using local models walking in clothes provided by mall sponsors. I honestly don't remember that much about her except that that it was hot as hell and she had a thick scarf wrapped around her neck and a wig on her head. Me, being hot by nature wondered how the heck she was able to keep her cool cause I would have been a purple puddle on the floor lol. She was very straight to the point, no nonsense and business like which was off putting to some of the volunteers, but even then I understood it to be business and nothing personal.
There were three volunteers (including me) but one showed up a little later and Daisy cut that ass right then and there, told her to go back home or stay at the mall and shop when it opened cause she was not needed. SAVAGE lol. She gave us a speech about showing up on time or not at all and I felt her and thanked God I had my mom drop me off because the way my life is set up, I am a perpetually late person. Always.
Anyway, once we got there we were given our orders and immediately put to work. We had clothing sponsors from stores in the mall and were told to recreate outfits for the models to wear from tear sheets we got from Seventeen magazine. That was fun and right up my alley since I had notebook upon notebook of tear sheets and style inspiration from my own fashion magazines that I built my outfits on too. We then had to pull cute clothes from boxes of inventory from our sponsors and hang them up in the Seventeen Style Closet (where I first got acquainted with a steamer btw).
When the models arrived we were instructed to get them fully dressed and be ready to receive them as soon as they came off the runway, assisting them in removing their clothes and accessories and making sure not one item touched the ground. Or we got yelled at. Ahem... The whole time we did that, Daisy was hosting on stage and describing the models outfits as they came out. The show was over quickly and I was pissed that we volunteers weren't allowed to take photos. I mean it made since if they were traveling from city to city with the same clothes in malls all over. New audience members would see the same style outfits so I got it, just wasn't too happy about it.
After the show, workers moved quickly to break down the stage and props and we had to MOVE it to remove the clothing from the make shift fashion closets, check them off and pack them up to be sent to the next location. We each had a few boxes that we were responsible for and it was a long and tedious process, and I went home tired as hell but happy! I had my first solo fashion experience volunteering with a "real" fashion show- ie- one that was not put on by a school, a church or anything like that.
And now after coordinating my own fashion shows and events, I understand Daisy's short demeanor and the incredible amount of stress she had to be under to produce a tween/teen fashion show at a mall in a city that you are not from with volunteers who could not care less about the production. It was hectic but so much fun and I learned EVERYTHING that I needed to produce my own shows in the future.
So yeah, my experience with Daisy was short and sweet, but very memorable and it definitely helped to jump start my career in this industry. When I got accepted into VMCAD I honestly did not know what I was going to do, I thought I would just maybe open up a store or something like that, but after the experience I had and the adrenaline rush of choosing outfits, styling the models, helping to set the tone of the show and even the logistics of the clothes all pushed me into the direction of what I am doing now and I am forever grateful.
Rest in paradise Daisy Lewellyn and to anyone reading this- you never know how you may have touched someone's life at any point in yours...