Did you consider yourself an ugly duckling in high school?
I absolutely considered myself an ugly duckling in high school! My mom worked at a private school and I was accepted to the school on a full-scholarship because she was an employee. Here I was, this poor kid wearing hand-me-down clothes going to class with girls who had parents who made literally 10 times (or much, much more) what my mom made in a year: the children of senators, CEOs, and other economic elite. They’d all dress down for the school week, but the weekend would roll by and their designer clothing would come out along with an apparently in-bred ability to do their hair and make-up perfectly. In the meantime, I was thanking the Lord that the grunge look had come into style and gleaning what fashion advice I could from Seventeen magazine. .
When and how did you officially “swan?”
After a few years, of trying to hide, I took a chance and tried out for my school’s select choir, and… I made it. Seven other girls and I were trucked all over New England to performances and competitions. I realized that I was actually pretty good at something, and with that, I began to value myself, not the clothes I put on myself. I spoke up more. I stopped coasting in my classes, and went from being an OK student to excelling. To be frank, by the time I graduated, I was probably lacking in humility. I didn’t mind, though, because the confidence took me to a college I never would have thought I could attend when I was younger, on some world travels, and beyond.
What advice would you give to the Before you?:
It is okay to fail. I was lucky, in a way, that I got into the singing group the first time I auditioned. Had I not, I may have let that be the end and been swallowed by my teen angst until it developed into adult bitterness. I’ve failed many times since my teens, most notably by studying 4 years to enter a career that I ended up hating, but the sun has continued to rise after every failure–literally and metaphorically. Move on, move on, move on!