“I was a model. There was a red carpet runway. There was a photographer and a videographer. A stylist did my hair; a makeup artist did my makeup. People came to watch. And passers-by stopped to watch me pummel the runway.”
That’s the basic version of how I spent Friday, August 15, 2014.
Let me rewind a little bit, though:
On the last day of July, I was looking at the Facebook page of That Shuu Girl (a boutique here in Lancaster City.) I had been in the store the week before–because I LOVE CLOTHES–but also to officially meet Nikki, the owner.
In October of 2013, That Shuu Girl was a vendor at the inaugural PINK: A Women’s Event which is a “girls’ night out” featuring health, wellness, fun, food, fashion and guest speakers Giuliana & Bill Rancic.
So–GUESS WHO is planning the October 11, 2014 PINK event with guest speaker–health and fitness guru Jillian Michaels? (Psst, it’s ME!)
One of the most important parts of my job is building solid relationships with my vendors. As often as I can, I try to meet the business owners, and social networking really helps me “keep tabs” so I can get to know them and the goods or services the provide. I try to help their business, and increase brand awareness by interacting with them through social media–as often as I can.
So on the last day of July, my focus was on Fall 2014 events. I was looking at That Shuu Girl’s Facebook page, and that’s when I saw this:
I already had plans to spend First Friday on the rooftop of Tellus360 with friends, and That Shuu Girl is about a block (ish) up the street.
This had SOPHIA 2.0 WRITTEN ALL OVER IT… If you’re new to the Glitter & Bruises ‘Memoir In The Making’ then you probably aren’t familiar with my dream to make dresses for drag queens.
The next day, I printed the blog post and tucked it in an envelope along with my business card.
Because…if you want the kind of life you dream is possible, you have to take some responsibility.
Opportunities knock. Rarely do they let themselves in. So at the end of my workday, I grabbed my purse, the envelope, and walked a few blocks east on King Street. I could not allow this door to remain shut–the ‘knock’ was deafening.
Fashion designer Michelle Rene was standing right by the (opportunity!) door. WE TOTALLY HIT IT OFF. My professional introduction started like this:
“Hi…Michelle! It’s so nice to meet you! I’m Sophia. Wow, how fun is this? I saw this Meet & Greet on Facebook…”
And then excitement and ADHD took hold and my professional introduction disbanded:
“OMG so I’m here to meet you because, OK well I want to learn–I mean RE-learn–how to sew, because I want to make… Well here, let me show you. I’m a writer, and I printed this for you. I bought myself a sewing machine for Christmas and it’s still in the box because I’m getting a divorce but it’s OK, I’m OK…my son and I moved in with my parents and I have like no place to set up the sewing machine and also I didn’t start working until April so I like literally did not have the money to even buy fabric or pins or anything, I work for Lancaster Newspapers but that’s not why I’m here, I don’t write for them, I am an event planner–that’s my JOB-job, and I have a website called Glitter & Bruises and that’s my job that doesn’t pay the bills YET. But back in February I was thinking, see I LOVE drag queens, like drag culture…makeup, hair, costumes, sequins and all that stuff… I was always obsessed with RuPaul, and Bianca Del Rio IS MY SPIRIT ANIMAL OMG, OK so anyway I printed out this blog post from February where I announced that I wanted to make DRESSES FOR DRAG QUEENS…like costumes and stuff, but I have to RE-learn how to sew, and I’m gonna do it! Bianca Del Rio is a costume-maker, and I’m going to be one, too! And I wrote about the Marco Marco fashion show and Marco himself retweeted it and shared it on Facebook and thanked me for understanding his work, you know, like it’s so much more than boys in dresses…”
But see, she totally GOT me. And there was love and excitement in the air, and then:
Michelle: I want you to walk for me.
Michelle: I’m having a fashion show here in two weeks, I’m going to make something for you, I want you to walk the runway for me.
Me: Um really? I’m not really, like…fluid? I’m kind of like a miniature Clydesdale?
Michelle: Oh stop, you’ll do so good!
Me: But I’m like…short. And chubby.
Michelle: STOP! You’re walking for me.
Me: But I have….cankles.
Michelle: STOPPPP! Stop tearing yourself apart!
(I think this is where she was about to kick me.)
And that’s how I ended up stomping down the runway last week.
I walked into That Shuu Girl
as an aspiring Drag Queen Costume Designer
and I walked out as a runway model.
I wasn’t sure what I had gotten myself into.
I was diggin’ the sovereign energy, though.
SO. Fortunately, I don’t have a boyfriend or anything. My life is pretty much bloated with work/parenting/website responsibilities. And some social fun time. And *just* enough room to walk a red carpet, baby!
OH BUT WAIT.
During the week between the Meet & Greet and the Fashion Show, I had a date. A lovely mid-day coffee date at Commonwealth on Queen. While I was chatting away and ignoring my phone, Michelle Rene was texting me: Heading over to see nikki at her shop if you get a free min please pop in so I can get your stats girl!!
So glad I checked my phone after I said goodbye to my date at the cafe! As I hurried down Queen Street, I thought about how different my life is now. Last August–this website didn’t exist. I was married. Working a part time retail job. Spouse was collecting unemployment. Money was tight. I was stressed and depressed.
Last August–I never would have predicted that I’d have my own blog and a rapidly growing fanbase. Working a sweet job, downtown Lancaster. Um, going on a DATE. And then dashing off to be measured for a garment to model at…That Shuu Girl.
That Shuu Girl.
That shoe girl.
Who was that girl… She was a writer… She had girlfriends. She was a style icon.
She was kind of a hot mess in a Versace dress.
An endearing train wreck.
OH MY GOD.
I’m chubby Carrie Bradshaw.
Swap cities, subtract the shoes and the sexcapades and replace with makeup and a kid. Uncanny. And brilliant.
BUT! Onto the fitting with Michelle! The tape measure seemed to have temporarily vanished, so she used a cell phone cord to measure me.
And my boobs. That was cool. My boobs were like “ohhhh right, right. yes, we remember this.”
Along the back wall (in the photo above) you can see some clothing made by Michelle Rene. I was totally eyeing up the jacket…and then realized there was a coordinating dress.
Next thing I knew, I was naked in the dressing room.
I be everywhere, everybody know me
super super fresh, super dope styling
Michelle told me she was making something just like this for me–in a different fabric and color. Perfection. I love shapely statement coats and royal-esque collars and/or lapels.
The blue is for me.
I’m intrigued. I rarely wear color. I’m also fascinated that she has fabric swatches. Not surprised–just fascinated. I never thought about it. I guess I have a lot to learn if I am going to make dresses for drag queens.
I returned to work and left my fashion fate in Michelle’s hands… I knew she’d take good care of me!
Fast forward to the next week–three days before the fashion show. All hell broke loose.
I wound up in the ER with a fierce case of RENAL COLIC, which is a fancy way of saying…I have a kidney stone. I prefer to think of it as a Divorce Diamond, created from all the stress and pressure of a terminal marriage.
But the good doc hooked me up with pain meds*
*legally prescribed and used as directed
*heard way too many ugly divorce horror stories
Yes, the good doc hooked me up with pain meds (plus a pee-strainer). I REFUSE.
And I was clear to walk the red carpet–with or without my Divorce Diamond.
I arrived with a clean face and unwashed hair, and…
…well, I’ll let the gallery tell the rest of the story.
Click on the thumbnail for more information in captions! Then–leave a comment and let me know which styles you liked best!
R. L. Heller on Facebook