As I got ready to get on the plane to head LA, I called my friend Pierre and ask him “what am I doing with my life?” I was having second thoughts about this impromtu move and running through my list of WHAT IF’s. But, the ticket was purchased and I had to get on that plane. As soon as a touched down at LAX, I called the set designer that I had met in NYC to let him know I was intown…….but I never heard back from him. So, at this point I’m like here we go again. I’ve traveled 2,400 miles across the world to have my big job opportunity fall thru!!! Feeling defeated, I mustered up the energy and strength to make my way to CB2 West Hollywood. Hell, I was here now and might as well make the best of it. When I arrived at the CB2 West Hollywood store I was buddied with Diona Vaughn. Diona had lived in NYC for 10+ years and we hit it off instantly. She told me that there were a lot of industry people who come through the store and to make sure I seized every opportunity to network. Now I may not be good at a lot of things but networking is definitely my forte! I would walk around the CB2 sales floor like a shark looking for anyone who appeared to be shopping for a project. If a customer had a folder, binder or notebook in their hands, I was on them like white on rice! I would stop each designer and ask what project they were working on and if I could possibly shadow them while they work ? (I’ve learned that people are more apt to bring you onto a project if you offer to work as an intern for a day. Plus, it’s a great way to showcase your talent in a “working interview capacity.”) My personal daily goal was to leave the store with at least 5 business cards from designers that I had met that day. I knew everyone wouldn’t follow through but all you need is one big break! I also knew I would be told “No” a lot, but I put my game face on and push through it. If I got tired I would just remind myself that I was tired of struggling, tired of food stamps, tired of sleeping on sofas and just tired of being tired. My first week in the LA store, I met event production designer Julie Collinson and she invited me to help her with the set up of a “small pop-up boutique”; wasn’t exactly what I had in mind but something told me to go. When I arrived, it was a concept store for TEEN VOGUE!!!!!!!!!! OMG, I had only been in LA for 4 days and already snagged a gig with a major magazine.
The following week in the store, I ran into designer Orlando Soria who told me to send him an email with my portfolio and he would see what he could do for me. Well a few days later I got a call to work as an Intern for Emily Henderson of HGTV on Secret’s From A Stylist! My job was to assist with moving furniture, picking up craft services (lunch) and organizing her storage unit. It was an unpaid position but none the less a foot in the door!
Working with Emily was great! She was so sweet and actually took the time to sit and ask me about my ultimate career plan and goals. I was so excited and couldn’t believe that I’d be working under an HGTV Designer when I was just on food stamps a few months ago. Things were going great at CB2 and HGTV and I couldn’t have ask for anything more; except for a paid gig of course. So, I began applying for set design jobs. 1 month later I received call from a Producer at The Style Network to set up an interview for a Art Coordinator position on a reality tv show. I was so excited until she dropped the bomb on me that the position was in NYC/NJ and the interview would be in 3 days. I had just moved to LA so how in the world could I swing this interview and further more how could I pay for this last minute plane ticket????