Please tell us about your background. How has your career evolved?

I started my fashion career as a personal shopper in major department stores in the DC area. I went on to receive my hair degree from Graham Webb International Academy of Hair, taking advanced courses in London, UK, and returning to the states to work for a major salon.

How did you become Fashion Director at Bridals by Lori in Atlanta? How did Bridals by Lori become involved with TLC and Say Yes to the Dress?

Lori and I meet in NYC at couture bridal fashion week. We took an instant liking to one another and became fast friends. When TLC approached her about the show, she called and convinced me that I needed to do it with her or at least give it a go, that was 9 years ago.

 My love of history and the people of Louisville has grown and continues to hold me in awe of the magic of the [Kentucky Derby] Festival.

How has your celebrity from the show affected your personal and professional life?

Personally, I have tried to and a very low profile and continue my community services work with Hospice, St Paul’s, Welsh terrier rescue, as well as the Horticultural Society at River Farm.This helps keep me grounded and lend my voice to awareness of my charities.

Professionally, it showcases my talent for speaking and relating to people of all walks of life and has encouraged me on to bigger and better things, like the launch of my hair care line MONTE on Amazon. I am soon opening my first salon in Old Town Alexandria, Va.

How do you manage your busy travel schedule and maintain work/life balance?

I’m on the road quit a bit these days, but I always find and make time for my family, I enjoy being outside and run almost every morning. With the ability of the internet, it has made keeping in touch easier than in years past. However, I always make sure I have cards in the mail for any and all occasions and especially the Thank You notes.

What projects do you have in the works?

I am currently working on opening my first hair salon, MONTE, in Old Town Alexandria in May 2020, and I just launched the MONTE hair care line on Amazon. I will be adding a men’s line with the opening of the salon. Then, there’s the book that I have been sitting on for over a year! It looks like I will be moving forward with that in the New Year.

Describe your affinity for/history with attending
Kentucky Derby Festival Events.

How very fortunate I have been to be a part of this historical event for the past few years. My love of history and the people of Louisville has grown and continues to hold me in awe of the magic of the Festival.

What will your involvement with the Kentucky Derby be in 2020? How far out do you plan your own wardrobe for Derby week? What fashion advice do you have for this year’s Derby? Any specific colors or trends to keep in mind?

Well, there are somethings we need to keep as a surprise when it comes to the Derby(!), but I can tell you last year’s outfit of all white seemed to be a big hit. This year I’m thinking a bit darker maybe navy. This is the one time and place where you can go all out, whether it be vintage from the 70’s ( a new trend we’re seeing on the runway) or bold and bright, one thing to note just make sure you have the proper topper.

Have you had many opportunities to experience the city of Louisville outside of Derby Festival events? What do you love about Louisville?

I have enjoyed Louisville and all it has to offer. On my daily runs I have discovered the beauty of the city running along the water. Looking back is quite a view!

Also the joy of getting to know the city through fantastic restaurants, the visitors’ center, hotels and museums.

Posted on 2020-02-12 by Interview By Dawn Anderson | Photos by Andrew Samplawski Photography