Launching a Style Blog in Orthopedic Shoes

Two years ago on Monday, August 29th I was standing in a sweaty, steamy industrial kitchen filled with thousands of dollars of discarded food, wearing a polyster polo shirt & synthetic shoes. It was also the same day I launched a style blog with this post & this video:

Four weeks after I graduated from college I was cast on the Broadway Tour of "42nd Street". I had never even visited New York City when I boarded a plane, alone, weeping after having said good-bye to my boyfriend outside security for so long I almost missed my flight. After 16 months on the road having the time of my life, I left to join the Radio City Rockettes for my first of four seasons with them. In a given year I've heard only 2% union stage actors get to perform. In arguably one of the most competitive industries, in one of the most competitive cities, I was succeeding. But in the years that followed, in between shows, as unemployment ran out, I waited tables, was a spokesperson for everything from chairs to identity theft stamps, followed Carson Cressley around the city in a bathrobe to promote his new show & catered. The latter lead me to a lucrative yet soul-crushing job for two weeks every year, hostessing for a luxury box suite at the US Open.

On the upside, I saw the best tennis players on the world battle it out on center court & developed a love for the game -- standing on chairs to cheer for Djokovic & staying after hours to watch John Isner advance. In one week I saw Bethany Frankel, Anna Wintour & met Michelle Obama {she's lovely, even after hours with just her staff around, & asked me to sneak her some Pinot Grigio in a discrete paper cup}.

On the downside, I worked 16 hour days for 14 days straight. On my feet, rarely able to sit down, eating unsavory lunches sitting on dirty steps with people walking by. I was treated with distain & condescension by many of my wealthy guests. Sadly, it was almost always fellow women who were the most rude to me. For literally months before my stomach would be in knots. But the amount of money I could make in two weeks supported me for months. I felt imprisioned for those two weeks, captive to my bank account at the expense of my self-respect.

In February of 2011 I had decided to start Dean Street Society, & that I would push through one final US Open to build up a savings account to launch with. On Monday, August 29th, 2011 I had my first post cued up to publish, announcing my new life to the world & I walked into the stadium telling myself {for the first of a million times over the next two weeks}, "Just push through for two weeks & then you work for yourself. For good. This is the last time you will ever have to do this."

A lot of friends have commented over the last two years about how driven I am. And it's true. The #1 thing that drives me is a desire to feel empowered. I felt small, second class, lower class, stuck, trapped, without options, not using a tenth of my potential, feeling not wise, smart, intelligent, intellectual, creative, artistic, empathetic, encouraging nor any other single word that sums up who I am & what I think I have to offer. And I don't ever want to feel those things again.

Moreover, I also don't want anyone else to feel them. One of the most frustrating things for me as a friend is to see someone I love feeling they don't have freedom: financially, to move past an old relationship, use their talents, be treated with respect by their boss. And it's not a coincidence that what I do through Dean Street Society is empower people: with more confidence, knowledge, tools, encouragement, community -- in how we view ourselves in the mirror, walk into rooms, chase our dreams or build a new business.

Thank you for making this dream a reality. It's incredible to me all that has happened in just two years. I hope it shows you that you are empowered; you can change your story.  I hope it reminds you that even fancy stories of Broadway & the Rockettes inevitably have some dark days in a sweaty kitchen; that being forced to wear the polyester polo & orthopedic shoes does not diminish your capacity to be beautiful & stylish the moment you are in control again.  I hope it inspires you to think of where you can be by August 29th, 2015. It's just two years. And I'm proof it can change everything.

In what way do you want to create providence?

I can't wait to hear your story ...

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P.S. Dean Street Society is re-launching in just two days! Join me tomorrow as I share the story of building the current site {all by myself!} & on Thursday when we unveil the new one & I introduce you to my talented team!