People who don’t live in a world of money, make a lot of assumptions about those with money. What are your thoughts and feelings on that and what can you share with us to close that stereotypical idea? I am fortunate enough to have wealth on my side, but I am a very grounded person, I stick to monthly budgets just like anyone else. I am filled with gratitude and never take privileges that come to me for granted. As I continue to grow and succeed, I like to help the people around me move toward their potential! I have a lot of respect for hard work and skills. It was in Paris after I received my Bachelors at Vivien Westwood’s atelier, to my relief it was received very well. What was your childhood like? I focus on the positives. I’m always confident in my fashion choices and try not to take it personally. However negative attention is better than no attention. I was very fortunate to grow up in Beverly Hills as a privileged young woman but then had to relocate to France at 14 years of age when my mother passed away. It was a dramatic lifestyle change for me when I moved in with my Tunisian father who raised me in a Muslim household. This new way of life was quite an extreme change; however, every cloud has a silver lining, and after adjusting to my new life, I found myself falling in love with the fashion and arts of the city and this was the beginning inspiration for me to enter fashion school. I know you lost your mother at the young age of 14 and at that age life can be tough without such a trial. What allowed you to walk through that time in your life. How did you process that period of your life? The loss was so monumental and created a seismic shift. The key is not to repress the grief but acknowledge it; it never stops, it can creep up anytime; even now. Losing her at 14 forced me to grow up quickly, it was a very tough period, and no amount of words could sum up the pain of losing a mother, the pain didn’t go away, but with time it got less when I found peace in my art. I was determined to make my mother proud, and to this day, she’s my motivation to do well and to be a good person. You moved between Beverly Hills and Paris at age 14 which can be an awk- ward age to do that. What did you learn during that period and what impact did it have on your future? Losing my mother put many things into perspective for me, I started to make the best of every situation that was not in my control. When I was in Paris I ‘grabbed the bull by both horns.’ I was lost in the art of the city and threw myself into the fashion world. The decisions I made then, lead me to where I am now. How did you get the opportunity to assist at a Dior Fashion show at age 16 present itself and describe that show from a 16-year-old perspective? I applied for the internship position and was lucky enough to get it. I remember being so excited that it felt like my heart was going to jump out of my chest. All of the models were drop-dead gorgeous they had legs for days, flawless skin and looked almost angelic in their Dior. I knew from that moment – one day I’m go- ing to create comparable art and showcase my designs on a catwalk too. What tips can you offer to another young woman who wants to pursue a fash- ion career? Perfect your craft, recognize your strengths and build on them, build your net- work. The fashion industry comes with many opinions. When you run into negativ- ity, how do you work through that? Where does your drive come from? I have the hunger to succeed, always knowing I can do bigger and better. I also have a very competitive spirit. You have two lingerie lines. What drew you into designing lingerie? What drew me to lingerie was the desire to make women all around the world feel powerful, sexy and realize their real potential. Latrodectus is an haute couture line, the most beautiful beaded fabrics, laces, and other materials designed by me in collaboration with my suppliers in the South of France. I work with feathers, bouquets, and accessories that I develop and dye fain accordance with the art I am focused on creating. Since those designs are haute couture, when the clients order, I move forward on obtaining the fabric, feathers, and bringing the art together. Mademoiselle is a semi-couture line and more accessible to the public, but we still use high-end products. The turnaround time is way faster than it would be with Latrodectus and it is a product to be ordered. I also have a 3rd line Lady Methven, which is my commercial line, which consists of more affordable pieces ranging from $20.00 - $60.00 per item which will always contain great quality in design and quality fabrics used. What piece ended up being the most challenging and tell us about the chal- lenges and what you did to work it ou? The Dominatrix piece from my Latrodectus collection! It took the total of 2 months to complete, and it was all hand beaded, had 100 features which were all hand painted. I used so many meters of tulle, which was all, so hand sewn on to the piece. What is the piece that you are most proud of and why? The Dominatrix piece! The time spent was immense and after putting in so many hours on this piece, it was so rewarding to see the finished product! I felt so much pride. There were so many challenges along the way, which were all over- come. Why do you do what you do? Do you find that fashion is still very much a mans world and if so, what did you do to navigate that? I felt this was my calling, ever since I was a little girl and this is what makes my heart beat. Couture is in my blood and soul! I think there have been many icons that are female and male throughout gener- ations of fashion. I would not categorize fashion as a man’s world because it is a form of art. There have been substantial female designers throughout the years such as Coco Chanel, Jeanne Lanvin, Valentina, and Viviene Westwood. What was the first step in your art format? It seems unusual for someone in the fashion industry to take the time to pursue the Brand Management degree. What was your motivation for that? Would you do it again and explain the importance of that? Is it? I don’t think it’s unusual to keep learning and growing. I already had the practical side of design I wanted to be acquainted with the business side too. Learning about pricing and how to build loyalty in a customer base was of in- credible value to me. You have some impressive degrees, and you’re already running a few strong businesses at a young age. I don’t think balance is genuinely possible, so how do you juggle it all? Dress and Top Silvana Tedesco @silvanatedescocouture Ring -NMD @n.m.designs When and where was your first runway show after you finished school and how was it received? It’s as simple as knowing when to take a break, going to the gym or a night out with your partner/friends. You have to schedule free time on your calendar, just like you would schedule a meeting and stick to it. Pursue your passion, so when you’re at work, it doesn’t feel like work at all. Lastly, build a good team and sur- round yourself with like-minded people. This is one of the keys to my success. I had a vision, which tapped into my emotions and overcame my senses. There were so many catalysts in my life, which were a combination of both negative and positives experiences, but at the end of the day, it all led to my art. How did you feel when you began? I was determined, enthusiastic and scared because I had no idea what was com- ing. How do you work? Quietly? Alone? With others and music blasting? Most of my designs come together while I am draping on a mannequin, listening to opera and drinking a glass of my favorite wine. How has your practice changed over time? I’ve become more precise, more business savvy, wiser, and my designs have ex- panded to a broader audience.