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Confession: I was not familiar with Tim Gunn or Tim Gunn's Guide to Style when my friend Lisa emailed me the show's application last spring. But that's not surprising given my lack of exposure to the world of fashion before I arrived in this exciting city. I thought W was a magazine about the President. Lisa's email came after I had moved to New York from Washington D.C., had just turned 30 and was feeling particularly emboldened. So I completed the application, and 6 months later here I am typing a blog entry about my experience! My biggest fear going into the process was how the crew and hosts would treat me and whether they would make me uncomfortable for the "sake of good TV." I wish I had saved myself the stress! Tim and Gretta offered advice, not insults. They were not pushy or mean, and to my relief, they did not try to make me into someone I am not. Rather, they sought to enhance my potential and to put me in my best light. It was truly the most fun experience I have ever had and wish every female on the planet could be treated to a week with Tim Gunn. For anyone who watches the episode I think you will see that I had a fantastic experience.
People always ask, "Did you get cool new clothes?" and the answer is, of course, yes - but the week brought so much more. It was five days of confidence-boosting by friends, family and complete strangers! I told my friends I wouldn't need a big wedding because I was made to feel like a bride for five straight days. Tim is the kindest man and is just as witty and good-natured when the cameras are off or turned away. Gretta is equally wonderful. She has the ability to make you feel like you have been friends for life. And the crew went above and beyond to make sure I was comfortable and at ease. The entire show works together on this process and I was amazed at the lengths they went to provide me with the ultimate experience. I had a running joke with the producers about how I am a laugher not a crier and that I rarely cry - especially at times when you are most humanly apt to cry. Well, they can pat themselves on the back because when my oldest friend Sarah, who was on the verge of delivering her first child, secretly flew in from Denver and walked through the door, I burst into tears! Sarah and I have been friends since our days at all-girls St. Agnes middle school in Virginia. On top of being a phenomenal friend, she has an amazing gift and talent for fashion. She studied in Paris, worked for Christian Lacroix, and started her own business of fine-embroidered pillows and baby items. I always loved visiting with Sarah because she would make me dress up - but because we are separated by two time zones, I haven't had enough quality time with Sarah to gain her fashion prowess by osmosis. I hope I did her proud with her visit, and I will forever be thankful that she took that flight for me with her big beautiful belly. And I am proud to say she is now a radiant and fabulous-looking mother of a healthy baby boy.
I could write about each scene, but I thought it would be more fun to reveal a few things that didn't make it in the final cut. For starters - filming in my apartment - I live in New York City, our apartments are shoeboxes compared to many other cities! I think one of the reasons I was chosen for this taping was our large terrace that enabled the crew to set up outside. Wouldn't it be our luck to have a torrential downpour the day of taping? Of course, the crew being complete superstars threw on ponchos and got to work outside setting up shop in the pouring rain. I was in shock when I returned to my apartment and saw all the furniture had been removed (save for a few staging pieces) with lights taped on the walls and ceiling, with only about 3 feet of space for Tim, Gretta and me to stand and discuss my closet. God bless everyone who worked in such close quarters - I think we all lost 10 pounds of water weight and it certainly made it easier for me to say goodbye to my cable knit sweaters.
My time at Bra Tenders was the most nerve-wracking. I mean how often does one discuss one's bra size on camera, outside the Jerry Springer Show? Lori could not have been more hospitable, patient and warm. Talk about a pro - I am not sure if it is evident in the show, but she does not measure, she just looks at you - no joke. With one glance she altered my life forever and I have been walking taller ever since. If anyone is thinking of attempting their own makeover I would highly recommend a visit to Lori at Bra Tenders or someone like her in your hometown. It completely changes your frame for the better.
I will also remember my experience at J. Mendel for the rest of my life. Gilles partners with Christian Louboutin to design shoes that complement his dresses. When I was asked to try on some of his dresses, I was also asked to wear the complementing shoes with each dress. Each pair had 5 to 7 inch heels! (Hello, Carrie Bradshaw!) As a clog-wearing girl, this was an entirely new challenge for my feet and balance. I was nervous enough trying on exquisitely made dresses in front of their designer with a microphone transmitter strapped to my inner thigh, but then I had to walk on what I would consider to be stilts! It was beyond terrifying, but by the end I was getting the hang of it and, as you saw, had fun with it too I was blown away when Gilles sent the pair of shoes to me and a big reason for that smile in my final reveal dress was due to the fact I could saunter breezily into the room on my very own pair of Louboutins without falling! Thank you Gilles for providing me a true moment of glamour - it will standout as THE memory among a week of memories.
My final thank you goes to Drew, my beloved boyfriend during taping. I am thrilled to say he is now my beloved fiance. Drew is a shy, soft-spoken guy by nature, so asking him to share his thoughts about me on camera and allowing the camera crew to enter our home was really asking a lot. However, the one thing larger than Drew's shyness is his heart, and I am so thankful to have not only his blessing to participate in this show, but also his willingness to stand beside me even if it meant leaving his comfort zone and adding a veil of vulnerability to our life. I am blessed to have such a kind and generous partner. And I promised, when the Yankees come calling I will gladly support him for his turn in the limelight : )