A lot can happen in 10 years. A lot has happened to me in the past 10 years. I started Style It in October 2006 as an outlet for all the things I loved that I couldn’t talk about with any of my friends. A decade later, I don’t believe the girl who loved writing about lip balm & Olivia Palermo lives here anymore. At 33, I’m an incredibly different person than I was at 23.
March 1, 2017 marks a decade of living in New York. For the past 10 years, I’ve lived in Brooklyn, in the same neighborhood (Bushwick), in the same zip code, and with the same landlord. While the abusive boyfriend that I started the journey with is long gone, the dog that I adopted 13 years ago in Arkansas remains my most loyal friend.
This space has given me every professional opportunity I’ve ever had. Whether it was through relationships grown from shared interests, networking opportunities, or recognition for my work, this blog has changed my life. If I hadn’t lived in NYC, things might have been very different, but this site is also what gave me the confidence to leave Arkansas. This site fueled my dreams.
And for the most part, I achieved everything I thought I wanted. Whenever I feel this way, I can’t help but think of the lyric from Wicked “happy is what happens when all your dreams come true – well, isn’t it?”. I’ve worked with incredible brands and had unbelievable experiences. I was part of the team that executed the first runway show streamed live from Bryant Park. I was also backstage at the last show in Bryant Park. I was part of a group of women who changed how, why, and when fashion and beauty brands used the internet to reach customers. YouTube beauty gurus wouldn’t be taking trips to Bali if it wasn’t for our hard work, risks, and innovation.
I’ve sat front row at New York Fashion Week numerous times. I’ve been yelled at by Kelly Cutrone. I had to cry so I went outside. Tens of millions of people have seen me in my underwear because a good friend connected me to a brand that was looking for “plus size models”. Little did I know she meant me as the model, not a professional model. But then I modeled in lookbooks and brand campaigns. I got into an internet fight with Oprah – and won. I changed the way plus size brands spoke to and serviced their customers. I helped a brand expand their size range to include even more marginalized women. I wrote for Glamour, Lucky (RIP), Time, and Teen Vogue. I was on CNBC live and managed not to use one single four letter word. I’ve met my idols and icons, and also met the people I love most in the world – all because of a domain that I bought for a handful of dollars that literally and figuratively changed my life.
But I have changed. The world has changed. The things that used to be important to me, like the fashion industry and being “cool” enough for a brand to want to fly me across the globe, don’t hold the same meaning for me anymore. I love the people I’ve met and the communities that I’ve been fortunate to be part of. They’ve made me better every day by challenging my beliefs and showing me alternative points of view.
But now it’s time to discover what’s next. The next 10 starts now.
If you want to be updated on what’s next, sign up for Love Letters below. I still feel incredibly connected to the people that receive these emails and I will continue to periodically send updates as I uncover what’s next.