Project Style Winner 2012

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Oh my goodness, if you only knew what kind of day I've had... well, I'm going to tell you. Some of you may not know that I have been competing in a Styling competition called Project Style. There are 15 malls around the country who are hosting a contest within their Mall and the winner from each mall will move on to compete nationally in November.

My journey with Project Style started back in June, when I applied to be a finalist. I had to create an entire outfit from head to toe and not spend over $150! I'm thrifty, but that's still a tight budget for pumps and all. I then had to make a video and get as many people as possible to vote for me. Let me tell you, I have some serious thank yous to dole out! And trust me, I will make good on that! To see more from the first leg of this competition, click here.

After my amazing friends and family tirelessly cast their votes, I was able to move on to the next leg of the competition, the live style off. The live style off was today at the South Bay Galleria in Redondo Beach, CA. Let me tell you I have been a nervous wreck for 2 days because of this! I slept maybe 2 hours last night, I was at the mall by 10am and I just got home!! (It's 6:30pm in LA). I wanted to write this all out while it's fresh in my mind and I know so many of you are dying to see pictures :)

For the live style off, I had to create another outfit, this time for $200.00. In addition, I had to walk a runway, in the middle of a packed mall! On a Saturday! In front of the Style Network's Jeannie Mai and Project Runway's Nick Verreos!! Are you feeling my pressure? I wasn't even this nervous at my own wedding!

However, I made it through the day without puking or passing out :D I competed against 4 other very talented fashionistas! I was so impressed by my contenders, truly! In the end though, my knowledge and preparation helped me win the title of Project Style's next trendsetter!! In addition to winning the live style off, there was a side bet going for fan favorite. I had all my friends and family members send out their votes for me via text, and with 102 votes, I took home fan favorite too!!

This has been such a gut wrenching, and utterly surreal day. I do not consider myself a competitive person, but when I play, I play to win. I never once considered the outcome of not winning, and my confidence paid off.... big time! Do you want to know my prize? For the live style off, I received a $1,000 gift card to South Bay Galleria!!!! and.... for the fan favorite, I received another $500!! Can you believe it? This little old blogger just won $1500 in prize money!

But... It doesn't end there. I now have the opportunity to compete against the finalist from other malls all around the country! If I win that, and trust me, I plan to, I will win a trip to Mercedes Benz Fashion Week next February! Seriously, how cool is that? NYFW has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl and now it's at my finger tips!

I have to tell you though, what is possibly better than any amount of prize money is the validation I feel right now. All my family and friends trust my fashion sense, but to have a professional tell you, you have what it takes and you're on your way is priceless! I am beaming with confidence and joy right now!

I also received some priceless advice today from Jeannie and Nick. They weren't just there to scrutinize our style, they were there as mentors and truly wanted to impart the things they have learned. Jeannie and Nick were not privileged kids, they had to work their way to where they are, and they have been knocked down repeatedly. They both emphasized the value of hard work and persistence. I have to say something I will carry with me for the rest of my life was a statement by Jeannie. She said (paraphrasing)

The fashion industry is brutal and there is never a guarantee that you'll be called tomorrow for a job. She emphasized the fact that although she and Nick may appear to be really successful to us, they both have bigger dreams that they are working towards everyday, they are still in the hustle. She said they could easily be replaced, just like that, and that is what drives them to push forward. The part that really rang true to me was when she said the good thing about starting from the bottom and working your way up, is that when the day comes and you are replaced and kicked down, you know exactly the path you need to take to get back up!

This hits home for me so deeply because everything in my life I have had to work for and I continue to dedicate sleepless nights. I do not know when, but it will happen, I will make it to my end goal, and Jeannie filled me with so much strength to never give up even when you're kicked down!

I want to share some of the photos with you from today, thank goodness my husband was there to catch every minute of it!

Jeannie & I before the Live Style Off

Nick, Jeannie & I! I love how Jeannie and I were both sporting Leopard today!

Pretending not to be nervous before the style off

 Nick introducing us to the audience

Photo Op with our three judges!
Nick Verreos @nickverreos1
Jeannie Mai @jeanniemai
Sean Lane Dennison @nordstyle_sobay
When they announce me as the winner of Project Style!! My cheeks were hurting from smiling!!

We have some videos, but I need to change the format in order to upload them. I am still in shock, but unbelievably grateful today! Three professional stylist/designers voted me the top trendsetter and told me I better continue on in my journey! Today goes down in the record books!

Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who has cast a vote for me throughout this competition, I truly could not have done it with out you!!

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feliznadia said...

Tori! I am so unbelievably happy for you! I am almost in tears reading this post and feeling your energy and excitement! You really did deserve this win, and I am so happy for you, and so proud of you! Ahhh! This is so wonderful!!

Gracey the Giant said...

Congratulations!! That is wonderful. You're an inspiration to anyone who has had to work for what they wanted. Wonderful story and you look great. I'm not surprised you won! Congrats again!


Unknown said...

Oh Tori...I have been rooting for you since the start and I am so happy for you. You have amazing style and I love your blog. Keep it up and celebrate!

Cassandra Too said...

All of you look amazing! I like the colors in the outfits! :D

See you there! :D

backtofive's twitter

You have to visit: Bloggers Against Social Injustice too!

xoxo backtofive

KT said...

Yay!! Congratulations! I am so happy I voted for you all those times! You totally deserve it :)

Cali Julz said...

So awesome!! Good job lady... can't wait to see the next look that gets you to 2013 new York !!

eelsay said...

Congrats!! hopefully this will open more doors for you darling!!!

Julia said...

Wow that's amazing!!! Congrats girl!! That is seriously so cool, you deserve it :)


Anonymous said...

Congratulations! Very cool. I would love to enter a contest like that!

Sarah's Real Life

Anonymous said...

That's awesome Tori!! Congratulations! I'm glad all your hard work paid off and you were definitely the most fashionable out of that group! :) <3


The Key To Chic said...

You sound so excited, that's great news! Congrats, you deserve it Tori!!!!

Lindsey A. Turner said...

That is so cool! Congrats! I agree, you looked the best!


Shabby, Chic, & Cheap said...


Anonymous said...

Tori: I am so proud of you. You have worked so hard from when you were dressing your American Girl dolls to sketching dresses, etc. on paper during high school, college and Art School. All the time you were working and were the best dressed from all you scouring the Good Will Stores. Your future is so bright and I will be rooting for you. Love Grandma Jackie

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