Earlier this summer, an amazing opportunity came my way. I was asked to help produce a fashion show by the director of the fashion merchandising department at Fontbonne, Mrs. Angie Liljequist. She knows that I want to pursue a career in event planning, so this would be a great way for me to gain more experience. I am so glad that Angie approached me about this. I have helped plan and run many events on campus, but this was my first public one, therefore a way to gain more exposure in the St. Louis area.
Janet Riehl is an artist who creates a lot of work that features women in clothing that celebrates African culture. She wanted a casual fashion show to correlate with her work, and have it run at the opening of her month-long exhibit at the Portfolio Gallery on Delmar Boulevard (the exhibit being titled Women and Wardrobe). This opening would also serve as a fundraiser for the gallery. I met with Janet earlier in the summer to discuss her vision and so that I could see her artwork. I also met with Robert Powell, the creative director of the Portfolio Gallery, in order to see the space I had to work with. The gallery is really neat place, which is a vintage three-story house. After these initial meetings, I proceeded with my work.
Angie let me borrow some clothes that the fashion merchandising department has on hand for the costume history class. They were all garments worn traditionally in African culture by men and women. I gathered additional clothes, shoes, and accessories to style these looks in a more modern way. I recruited four models to wear these looks. I had connections with each of these girls after they modeled for the fashion show this past spring that my fashion promotions class produced. In addition, I reached out to a local fashion designer, Amelia LaSalle. I thought her designs complemented Janet’s work well too. Amelia’s collection was displayed on mannequins (also borrowed from the fashion merchandising department, and somehow all fit inside my small car).
Janet wanted it to be a casual and free-spirited event. So, there was not a formal runway show. The models were each stationed in a different room, and were there to mingle with guests and give them information about the traditional use of the garment they were wearing. I am excited to say that the evening was extremely successful! So many people showed up and had a great time. I received many compliments and recognition. It was all a bit surreal. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity and appreciative of all the help from Angie, Janet, Robert, Amelia, and the four models. Great connections were made that I hope to continue building on in the near future. It is thrilling for me to plan an event and see it come to life. More and more I have solidified the fact that event planning is my passion and what I want to do in life.
Myself with the models: Brittany, Alyssa, Latoya, and Quinisha
At the beginning of the summer, I moved into my first, very own apartment. It is exciting to be able to call this place my own. Although, it is also weird to think I am like an actual grown up now. After three years of living on campus, I have decided to move on. Whenever I get spare time, I have been settling things in. I will continuously be adding décor, because I tend to go overboard and don’t know when to stop decorating. Luckily, I haven’t had to spend much money on that sort of thing. There is plenty of décor, furniture, supplies, etc. that I can take from my home in St. Peters.
I live with my friend, Taylor. We met a few years ago at Gordmans. She does not work there anymore, but we continued to be friends after she left. She goes to school at Washington University, which is right next door to Fontbonne. Therefore, we were both looking for a place to live in the same general area. We live in Clayton in a very cute and safe neighborhood. The location is very ideal, because the drive to school and to my internship only takes a few minutes both ways. Also, many things are conveniently within walking distance, such as Forest Park, Concordia Park, restaurants, a vintage candy/ice cream shop, shops, and grocery stores. It’s everything I could have asked for. The only downside is the parking. There is only parallel parking, which I am not very good at. But it is good for me to practice since I have been spending more and more time in the city and that’s how I need to park at TalentPlus (my internship). That being said, I am still very happy with my current situation. I wish I could spend more time there, but I am so busy with work, interning, and babysitting. However, Taylor and I still manage to frequently find ourselves at the Kaldi’s Coffee house up the street (mainly working on homework). We also like to have picnics in the parks. I look forward to making many more memories in my new neighborhood!
My new room; an ongoing work in progress!
If you are into music and pop culture, you probably think of Justin Timberlake when you hear the initials J.T. However, before the modern J.T. was James Taylor. He was the original, considering he first rose to fame in the 1970s. He continues to be an outstanding singer, songwriter, and guitarist, and I feel lucky to have the opportunity to see him perform live.
The people that I went to the concert with were my mom, her best friend, and her husband. This is the same group that I went to the Paul McCartney concert with a couple years ago. They tend to be my buddies for the oldies concerts. I like a wide variety of modern music, but part of me has an old soul when it comes to my music taste. James Taylor has a very classic and soothing sound. It made for such a pleasant night. Also, it was actually nice weather, despite the fact that it was in the middle of summer in St. Louis. The show was at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, which is an outdoor theatre. We had lawn seats, which is something I had never experienced before. I just love seeing live shows, and this was another one I had looked forward to for a long time. And there are more coming up soon! Next are Miley Cyrus (which was postponed from April) and then One Direction (for the second time!). Like I said before, I listen to a variety of music styles, obviously. Bring on the summer shows!
In order to get my degree in fashion merchandising, it is a requirement to complete an internship. And as hard as it is to believe, I am at that point in my college career. My internship is at a company called TalentPlus Universal, which was originally intended to be solely a summer thing. But, I am excited to say it has been extended into the fall! I am glad that they like me enough to keep me. I first found out about this internship opportunity back in February when I was at the National Association for Campus Activities conference in Boston. I spoke with a TalentPlus representative at a booth that was set up at a fair, and applied as soon as I got back home to St. Louis. My first official day was May 15.
TalentPlus Universal is an agency that is only located in St. Louis (in the Central West End, to be specific). There are four divisions within the company: TalentPlus Entertainment, Centro Models, TalentPlus Commercial, and TalentPlus Production Services. The agents at TalentPlus represent talent, which includes musicians, comedians, models, actors, hair/makeup stylists, and more. They are responsible for getting the talent bookings and handling their marketing. There are only 12 employees, plus three interns. It is like a family around the office because everyone works so closely with one another. There is even a TalentPlus pool party coming up. I’m really looking forward to that and getting to know everyone better outside the work environment.
Honestly, I can say I learn something new every day I am there. So much goes on between all four divisions. And I’ve never been in a setting such as this before, so it’s like a new world to me. Luckily, I’ve had the opportunity to see the way each division operates. I primarily work with Entertainment, analyzing and handling client social media and marketing. Within the Commercial division, I’ve helped film videos and edit them myself. This was a completely new and very exciting experience to me. Last, but not least, most days I work on my projects while sitting at the front desk. While there, I answer phone calls, process payments, and greet and direct visitors. I especially enjoy greeting models when they come in for photo shoots and model scouters traveling from other major fashion cities. There is definitely never a dull moment at TalentPlus!