My first photo shoot in front of the camera! I’m usually the one directing the models and styling the shoot but I had a lot of fun with this!

Don’t Lose YOUR Voice

My name tag for the conference

I walked into a room of 149 other bloggers for a conference held by Lucky Magazine last week and that whole feeling of high school insecurity came rushing back at me. Here I am, new to this blogging world as it is but on top of that, my nametag says Jesus, loud and clear. Do I hide the tag with my hair, do I pretend it fell off and just go about the day with a smile, pretend I didn’t hear the Editor-In-Chief of Lucky Magazine ask me the name of my blog? These girls do this for a living, most at least know of each other if they haven’t already met. They don’t talk about Jesus in their blogs, they talk about fashion so what am I doing? I mean, yeah, I talk about fashion too, I HEART fashion and frankly, I follow most of these blogs daily but I stand for something that most of them never would, publicly at least. Are they going to look at me funny, ignore me, or worse—laugh?

The fabulous table set up

It’s almost as the scene was previously painted in an episode of Gossip Girl. Beautiful, well-dressed women, the backdrop is a gorgeous waterfront venue, a white spiral staircase leading me up to a pristinely laid out breakfast, suites were set up all around for model shots, makeovers, giveaways; you name it, they had it. First class all the way around.

 

I shyly grab my coffee and sit down, pretending to be busy on my phone. (Thank God for my iPhone and new addiction to Twitter) Sitting there, so nervous yet excited at the same time, a girl sits next to me and there it is—the first time someone would ask me: “So, what’s the name of your blog?” “Just say it, just put it out there on the table,” I tell myself. “JesusCouture,” I said, quickly, as if it were one word, thinking maybe she wouldn’t notice. But she did and she smiled warmly.  She accepted me, told me about her blog, how she lives in the city, asked me where I live,  and how long I’ve been one of these bloggers. She was sweet, she wasn’t offended, and she didn’t turn her nose at me. Hmm, was that a little conviction creeping in? Yup.

Editor-In-Chief of Lucky, Brandon Holley

One almost-awkward moment down, the whole day to go. They announce it’s time for everyone to go in and as I walk into a room of 150 closely seated chairs at just a few rows of tables I notice, there are no names. You choose your own seat. Back to high school, again! Do I take the easy way out and slip in an end chair in the back row? No! I left that girl behind long ago. If you’ve never met me or have only known me within the last few years, you might not know I’m really, really good at something: fake it till you make it. I used to be unbelievably shy; ugh! What a waste of so much time and how much more God could have used me if I’d only taken my eyes off of myself and what everyone else thought of me 10 or 15 years ago instead of 5.

 

 

The talented and sweet Tory Burch

Confidently, I walk up to the front and grab the closest seats available. Second row, front and center! The tables were set with pen, paper, (Whew! In my crazy morning bustle I forget those, of all things!) water, mints, and a schedule of the day. The girls surrounding me at the table were so kind. The first panel was representatives of 3 major brands, Coach, Lancome, and Bergdorf Goodman. Again I think, “Wow, this is really cool but do I fit in here?” We break and everyone heads off to the giveaway suites, the photo shoot area, and for more caffeine! On my way to get in line for a free pair of Converse, I run into Brandon Holley, Editor-in-Chief of Lucky. I want a picture but I don’t want her to ask me any questions. Oh well, here we go! Before the picture she asks the name of my blog. Jesus Couture, this time I say it with a little more confidence and I separate the words, as they should be. There it is, I said it to the Editor-in-Chief. She didn’t flinch! She asked how I liked the conference so far, where I was from.  Ok, I’ve got this!

The legend… Joan Rivers

As this fabulous day continued and I overcame my fears one by one, I gained my sense back and had a little talk with God and a good friend—both snapped me back into reality. This is what I do:  Jesus. Jesus and Fashion! There’s a purpose; a meaning behind it. We have a message to get out to this world and while we have an amazing time doing so, they both reminded me not to compromise. Draw the line at Jesus Couture, don’t pretend it’s not what you stand for just because you’re scared. From that point on, I was excited to tell everyone about my name and my brand. I am JESUS COUTURE!

My Fav twitter personality @OscarPRgirl

From Joan Rivers to Creative Director and President of J. Crew, Jenna Lyons, all I heard were words of encouragement. Funny how God works— the topic that every panel kept reverting back to was, “Keep your own voice, have something different to offer, don’t lose your point of view.” Ok God, I got it! The Lucky FABB Conference ended up being one of the best days I’ve ever had. It was so much fun, so many great people, amazing experiences and lots of learning.

Jenna Lyons, Creative Director & President of J. Crew

 

 The best learning experience being: Don’t sell out! Be who you are and don’t compromise for anyone. Know exactly what (and Who) you stand for and don’t waiver.  If you don’t have your own voice and you sway from one point of view to another, conforming to what you think others want you to be, you’ll lose yourself.