Thursday, April 17, 2014

Working at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Los Angeles

When I lived in Los Angeles I worked at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week at Smashbox Studios for a few seasons. It was really wild being backstage! I met a man who used to drape for John Galliano 40 years ago! I also ran into Janice Dickinson haha. I actually have a habit of (literally!) running into people. I once ran into Jude Law in London haha but that is a whole different story which I will save for later!
So, I worked as a backstage dresser as well as various other positions. It's super high energy back there. Incredibly gorgeous models galavanting around, celebrities, and frantic designers. They have this big tray of sandwiches and chocolates and stuff which absolutely no one ate haha I suppose I can admit the adage "don't feed the models" is infact based in truth lol

Funny enough I ended up talking to the designers Mom's quite often. Probably because I am friendly and curious by nature...and they are bored and proud and want to share their excitement with someone. I found out so much interesting stuff. One designer's Mom was telling me about how her daughter often made dresses for Paris Hilton.

Oh I also saw Anthony Kiedis, the lead singer of Red Hot Chili Pepper's. He was dating a model at the time. I worked this one denim brand show and all the models had this gold body shimmer spray on. It was so cool. You get really great gift bags at these shows too. Once they gave everyone high heel shoes! It's pretty sweet. Oh and Smashbox Studios has it's own makeup brand so they give everyone tons of makeup. I also once saw Mena Suvari from the movie American Beauty at a show. That was my favourite movie at the time. I love the poetic ending.

At the end of working the shows all week we all piled into my friends little car. We were pulling out of the parking lot and this guy ran over and invited us to the after party. The after party was in this club near West Hollywood. It was smokey and they had those curvy diner seats. I talked to this guy in leather pants for a long time and his girlfriend who had lots of shiny lip gloss on haha

I'll attach some of my pics. Sorry they are a bit blurry. They are from before I had a phone camera lol :) The one of the single model-that is Janice Dickinson. The pic where you can read the label that is St. John. And the one with the stripe dress girls is from the Megan Fabulous show.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Going to the Emmy Awards after party in LA

When I lived in LA and was designing clothes I got to go to the Emmy Awards after party. It was around 9pm and I parked just off Hollywood Blvd. I was wearing very high black heels and tight black jeans and this gorgeous Nanette Lepore lace shirt with buttons around the wrists. Love that shirt. Still have it somewhere...

Lindsay Lohan was there with her girlfriend. She was wearing this really beautiful black velvet cape. All the serving staff were really gorgeous and were wearing kimonos, red lipstick, and they served sushi.  There were tons of tiny paper cranes hung from the roof and there was a live band playing. It was a really fantastic night. I will attach a pic.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Bettie's Song

Wrote a song about Bettie(my dog) with my buddy.
Here's the chorus:
Noooo noooooo nooooooooooooo
get down get down
drop it!
bad girrrrrrrrrllllllllllll

Insert happy pop-type tempo. Keep an eye out for our demo cd.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Designing shoes in Beverly Hills

The best job I have ever had was designing luxury accessories freelance for a company in Beverly Hills. They were manufactured in Paris. The man who hired me was one of the most honest and trusting people I have met in this crazy industry that we call fashion.

Every week we would meet in the 1950's style restaurant of a very fancy hotel downtown. I would show him my concepts and he would give me a cheque. He gave me complete free creative range. The only guidance he gave me was that he liked art-deco and to not think about price-just create the most beautiful accessories you can imagine. He didn't collect my drawings until the very end of working together which was a huge sign of trust and integrity. I still hold him in very high regards. People like him give the fashion industry a good name. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Working For Betsey Johnson In London, England

Sometimes, when you do something huge you have to protect it. It has to be sheltered from the wind and spoken about only between people you know you can trust. This is what I did when I moved to London, England. I WANTED to tell everyone. But it might have gotten too big. It might have spun out of control. And someone might have stepped on it before it had time to bloom. And I very much wanted to work for someone big in the fashion industry again. I had been doing my own clothing line for a while and wanted to play with the big boys again like I had when I live in LA.

I squirrelled away $5000 over 6 months which was the amount of money you need to get a Youth Visa to move to England. You also have to be under 31 years of age(no problem-I was 22ish). And you have to be Canadian. So that was all good.

When I got my visa everyone thought I was crazy and spastic because I hadn't mentioned it before. But it was carefully planned. I have an adventurous nature but I am also very organized.

The summer before I moved to England was one of the best- playing frisbee with my friends and running through sprinklers naked at nighttime in the park. Dancing around my parents swimming pool at my birthday party.

When I flew to England I arrived in Poole. My Aunt's friend lives there and she hosted me-which I am still very grateful for. I had no idea what I would do for work and no apartment yet. If you have been reading my blog you may have read about how I accidentally rented an apartment in the ghetto in LA once because I rented it while I was in Canada without really knowing where it was. SO, haha, because I prefer to make a large variety of mistakes and not the same ones over-and-over I decided to find my apartment in person and see it in "the flesh" before I moved in!
(Here is the link to my LA ghetto apartment story if you missed that)

After a few weeks in Poole I took the bus to London and had a big list of apartment numbers and addresses. Apartments in London are nothing like living standards in Canada. We are so spoiled in Canada. No joke. I ended up paying 500LB($850) for a bedroom in a house with 4 other roommates and it was in Leytonstone. Leytonstone was actually not so bad. It was ghetto but not the way LA was. LA ghetto is very scary. London people are just very drunk and broke. They aren't violent and aggressive. My roommates in London thought Leytonstone was awful. But they hadn't lived in I guess everything is relative.

After a month or so in London I got a job as a stylist at Betsey Johnson whom I love and adore.

Despite being incredibly impoverished 22 year old I still did a lot of incredibly great things while I lived in London.  I climbed St. Paul's cathedral, took the train to Windsor Castle, hung out in Camden Town a lot which is where Punk originated, went to Shakespeare theatre and saw a play(even though the theatre is actually a re-creation because the original burnt down. They did re-build it by all by hand though so it would have the same "feel" as the original- either way it was a beautiful moment), I went to the city of Bathe where they have the smelly Roman sulphur pools, hung out in Trafalgar Square, backpacked through Germany, flew to Paris alone on Christmas morning, couch-surfed in Switzerland and watched "Bing Bang Theory" for the first time, met 2 fantastic new Brazilian friends at a hostel in Barcelona, went to the Saatchi Museum and every other art Museum I could find.

When I met the 2 Brazilian friends in the hostel in Barcelona I immediately invited them to stay with me in London. At the time it seemed like the right thing to do- although in hindsight that could have turned out terribly because I didn't know them at all haha. It didn't hurt that they were two of the most handsome men I had ever seen in my entire life haha. They ran a fashion blog and we had a lot to chat about. We had such a great time when they stayed with me-drinking wine and listening to Brazilian music which was totally new to me.

I also really loved that in London you can wear anything you want and no one cares. When I moved back to Canada people looked at me like I was an alien. In London I used to wear this giant pink tutu with a little rose on the front and my cropped motorcycle jacket to work all the time and people just smiled or told me how beautiful my skirt was. One lady even asked to touch it. It was great. I imagine dressing in England was a lot like what happens when people get old- they just stop giving a damn and wear whatever they want. It was very freeing.


According to Greek mythology humans were originally created with 4 arms, 4 legs, and a head with 2 faces. Fearing their power Zeus split them into two separate parts, condemning them to spend their lives in search of their other halves. I think Zeus split me into a labradoodle and a human by accident when he was drunk one night. 

Three years ago I tried dating on Plenty Of Fish and eventually gave up and got a dog instead. Ironically, a week after I "gave up" and got a dog I ended up in a long term relationship. I looked on Kajiji and found this add for puppies for $350. That is super cheap for a labradoodle because they are (supposed to be) hypoallergenic and they are a "designer" mix of a labrador and a poodle. So I gave the guy a call. He said she would grow to be about 30lb and wouldn't shed. He kept asking me what time I would be arriving at his house because he wanted to give her a bath first. Should have been my first clue of the weirdness to come. But no. Onward I went, of course. Because I am Brandy.

I arrived on his farm somewhere outside Lethbridge in a field beside another field and closeish to some more fields. This man with the world's worst comb-over hairdo comes out of the house. Should have been clue number 2 that I was about to purchase a 50 pound dog that sheds like a hair blizzard. He went and got her and put her in my arms. She was warm and damp. My black t-shirt was COVERED in dog hair. She looked up at me like, "PLEASE DON'T LEAVE ME HERE WITH THIS CREEPY DUDE!"
So I took her home. 
He said I could take her that night and pay him later and that she was the last puppy of the batch to leave....riiiiiiight. Seriously, I am pretty sure she is a Mexican street dog that he found somewhere. She is probably a terrier or a wolf-hound mutt.  

The first year was insane. She did her thing- traumatizing me by peeing in the elevator, eating a GIANT hole in my wall(how did such a tiny dog make such a HUGE hole?!?!?), chewing all the base boards, tearing the carpet up, crying every single night while I tried kennel training her. Now that she is a three year old adult I can say with immense joy that all she does is sleep and ask for belly rubs. It was like one day she was purely satanic and wanted to ruin my home and the next she was like, "Belly scratch??" That day was the best day of my life lol thanks Zeus

She is the goofiest, sweetest dog ever now. She has giant old-man eyebrows. All of her frizz fell out except for a natural frizzy mohawk perfectly placed on her head.

Good things sometimes come from strange places.
Here is a pic of her from the first week I brought her home. Those eyes. 

My first job

My first job after I completed my degree at the Fashion Institute of Design And Merchandising in Los Angeles was designing luxury t-shirts on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. I actually can't tell you about working there because they made me sign a confidentiality agreement about 400 pages long on my first day of work lol

BUT! I can tell you about the interview which was it's own kind of hilarity.

This all happened before the economy went to hell in 2005. So basically, I decided I needed a job. Sent off my resume. The next day I had an interview with them. And the third day I had myself a desk. The man who owned the company was a large Italian man who could take up the space in a giant room with his presence. He had a tiny blonde ex-fashion-model wife who was waif thin. She must have had the tiniest organs in history.

I met him in the store which was across from Tiffany's. He led me to the office where he sat me in a leather chair and then just left without saying anything. He returned with a lookbook opened flat to his chest so I couldn't see the cover.

"WHAT YEAR IS THIS?!" he thundered
"1987!" I blurted out
He closed the book and looked at the cover.
"HOW DID YOU KNOW THAT?! he demanded
"I just did..." I said
(Honest to God I have no freaking idea how I knew that. Like I said, somehow I just did.)
And that is how I got my first job out of school designing luxury t-shirts on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

How I got a modelling contract

I used to live with this incredibly strange and wonderful roommate. She was the kind of woman who made pasta by hand and dried it on a broom handle. I loved living with her. She was delightfully eccentric. When I first met her she gave me a tour of the yard and showed me the fish pond. She said, "I started digging a grave for myself, but then decided I fancied a fish pond better." She didn't shave any of her body hair- which I found frightening and impressive. 
She had 2 house rules: 
1. Don't eat the last of the butter
2. Don't use the last of the milk
I'm lactose intolerant. We got along very well. 

One night we were drinking wine and joking around. We were flipping through Facebook photos and she was like, "You should do some modelling! You are very photogenic!" And I was like, "Haha! Ya right." Anyways that night in a somewhat foggy-wine-induced-stroke-of-boldness I emailed every modelling agency in Canada lol. And I got into 3 of them including Mode Models which is a pretty huge agency!

I ended up signing a 5 year contract with one of them which was freaking awesome! I've gotten quite a bit of work here and there and was even photographed by Hans Lichtenberg who shot for Vogue magazine. He rocks. We hung out once in Toronto and went fabric shopping together. We bought black leather to make party dresses.  
Life is so funny. 


I have a theory that I have a guardian angel protecting me. Also, I'm pretty sure I am just really really lucky. Here's why:

On my long and somewhat treacherous journey to fashion industry success I have lived in dangerous neighbourhoods in every major fashion city: Los Angeles, London (England), New York. And obviously, I am still alive.

During my second year of school at The Fashion Institute Of Design And Merchandising in Los Angeles I decided I didn't want to live in residence anymore. So, I was back home for the summer and my Mom and I found this cute little bachelor suit beside a park called McArthur park which has a lake. The google images showed a row boat and it was only 2 subway stops from my school so we were like "Rad!" and we sent the guy a cheque. When I arrived at the house the taxi driver said, "Are you sure you want me to let you out here?!" Which I think says everything about the events that followed haha

I rang the doorbell and this burly man with a belly answered. He let me into his suite on the ground floor. It had very high ceilings and long black velvet curtains hanging from the ceiling in the middle of the room-which I found strange. He had creepy paintings and introduced his Vietnamese wife whose name was "Porn". Ok then.

He showed me my apartment which honestly was pretty awesome. I was 19 and structurally it was everything I needed. It had a tiny hallway kitchen and a teeny bathroom and just one room which was the livingroom/bedroom. It had a view of a plethora of ghetto stores-laundromat/donut shop, laundromat/noodle house, Mexican grocery store, pawn shop, many many Mexican dollar stores. In the downtown ghetto people seem to like combining food and laundromat stores- there must be some retail magic there. Who knows. It was South facing which was nice. Oh and the lake/park that I saw on google- it was a crack park. I never saw anyone in a rowboat on it like the google pic showed.

I have no problem living with any ethnicity of people. I have dated people of all races and ages. I am very open minded. Los Angeles is interesting because it is different than London. In London it's not so segregated. In Los Angeles it is VERY segregated. Which is dangerous.

Anyways, I befriended this poet who lived in the attic and he started getting super weird and leaving love letters under my door at night. I bought one of those chain locks and would lean my spoons up against the door at night as some kind of "alarm". I also found a cockroach in my bathtub.

The whole time I was telling my parents "It's great! The house is full of artists!" haha because I really liked living on my own and didn't want to go back to living in the dorms.

One day I was walking home and this van full of men was yelling at me. If you are female and live in LA you get used to this. So I was just ignoring them. But then the van pulled up beside me really quick and all the doors opened and the guys started to get out. I have never run so fast in my life. I should have hid behind someone else's house but I was in fight/flight survival mode. I hid behind my house and crouched down by the porch. My heart was beating so loud. I was terrified. I thought I was going to die that day.

And thats when I threw the towel in and moved to Hancock Park which is just outside Beverly Hills. I lived there while I finished my fashion design degree.

Cockroaches-not so bad. Creepy porn director landlord-not so bad. Almost being abducted in a van by a group of men-VERY BAD!
Haha, so, I am lucky.

I'm not really traditionally religious. But someone/something has an eye out for me. Maybe God just finds my life ridiculously hilarious and keeps me around to amuse him. "Oh look what she's done now! HAHA! Crazy girl! I'll keep her around."

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Back in the gym

early morning
walking home from the gym
sun on eyelids
sweaty bangs
pink earphones
cute men in suits smiling at me
dancing around the kitchen
listening to Grimes
munching a lettuce leaf
taking back my happiness