Tim describes Ali as "seriously fashion disabled." Can you describe your experience working with Ali?
Working with Ali was challenging - very challenging. It was really the best of what we do because though it was challenging, the rewards were great. She was one of those people who started off as closed as anyone I've ever met, which surprised us, because she's the one who asked for help. She was in a severe style rut, and completely blind to it. In part, she came off very insecure - trying to prove to herself that she hadn't really lost her sense of style. And the outcome was very different from what she expected. Her expectations were completely out of alignment and the story unfolds in a very interesting way.
When Ali refused to take advice from you or Tim, how did you respond?
I consider myself as someone with a long fuse, I'm very sensitive to people, and that's always helped me along in my career. But I have to tell you - Ali pushed me over the edge. It wasn't any rebuttal or attitude she gave me, the problem I had was that she was unwilling to be flexible or have any fun. It was one of the things she wouldn't allow herself or us. The biggest reason she pushed me over the edge was her initial disregard for Tim. I just couldn't stand it. I just blew my top. I've never had that happen. I've given women tough love before, I've had to say, "Wait a minute, let's take a step back and reset the situation," but with Ali, I felt there was no other way to go but to confront her. I was hoping that she wasn't aware of how much she had lost herself, which turned out to be true. Later she broke down and admitted she didn't realize how she was acting, and that's why we had empathy for her. But in the beginning, it just kept intensifying, her distance and her sharpness and her rudeness and her disregard and disrespect...it got to a point where it could not move forward.
You were able to handle the situation with Ali very well.
There was a lot of tape you didn't see, but we tried. In the end, she took it like a champ. She was tough, but she showed what she was made of, and she really did show true commitment to her initial request to meet with us. She really did want to change, and she really did want to be impacted by this experience. She finally showed that she really was 100% invested. We had to confront her, but that's what helped turn the situation around. Afterwards, she was part of the game again.