My people! I am uber excited about this interview I did with THE Randy Fenoli, star of TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress and Randy Knows Best! If you picked up a copy of today’s Jamaica Observer, you’ll see five of the questions in there and as promised, here’s the full article! Many of the questions were submitted by you my Irie readers and one lucky person won two tickets to come to Randy’s Presentation at Kingston Bridal Week! I hope to see you all there too!
Randy Fenoli came into our lives via the TLC program Say Yes to the Dress, helping brides to select their perfect wedding dress with a charismatic warmth and charm that makes it impossible to not love him and believe him when he says you are beautiful. It’s with great excitement that Jamaica welcomes him to our shores for the first time at Kingston Bridal Week 2013 and I had the opportunity to speak with him about this as well as to ask him your questions submitted in our #AskRandy promotion. Let’s find out more about Randy Fenoli!
Irie: What inspired you to do fashion? How did you get started in the industry?
Randy: I was born and raised on a farm and my mother bought a sewing machine and put it in my room when I was 9 and told me not to touch her sewing machine or touch her good fabric and good scissors when I was 9, but we had 163 acres and a hundred cattle she had to go out to so I stayed in and made up a pattern and made her a dress, and she wore it out to work the next day and the rest is kind of history after that.
Irie: What do you consider the most important step in purchasing a wedding dress?
Randy: I don’t think there is one important step but I think being prepared and when I say prepared, you should at least know your budget, how you want to look, what your style is and when I say style it doesn’t have to be the dress but you should know whether you want to look glamorous or romantic or lots of bling, sexy, bohemian so kind of going into a bridal appointment with some sort of idea and to know your budget. It amazes me how many times families come in and I say “well how much is your budget” and they say “well I don’t know” how could you not know what your budget is! Who does that? That should be number one and also not to have your expectations so high that, you know, if you don’t find your dress on the first day, that you have a bad experience, you know, you’re trying on wedding dresses, you should have fun it should be a fun experience, you’ve got your family there and your friends, so you should enjoy the experience!
Irie: How do you help a bride who has selected many dresses, come to a decision?
Randy: Always, always choose a dress that makes you feel beautiful! You buy a wedding dress from your heart and not your head and when you feel beautiful, you wear the dress differently. It’s not always what you put on, it’s what you put out! If you feel beautiful in a dress, you’re gonna carry it differently and you’re gonna walk down the aisle differently and your body language is going to be different and everyone will say oh my gosh, that bride is so beautiful! Its not always about what she’s wearing, it’s about her confidence level and how she’s wearing the dress. Which one makes you feel more beautiful? That’s the one you go with!
Irie: Is it okay for the bridesmaids to pay for the dress, or should the bride pay for them?
Randy: I don’t know, I’ve never heard of that. If they offered too or has the bride chosen dresses that are too expensive of them to pay for. But I think when you choose brides maids, you choose dresses that are affordable for them or you put up some money because being a brides maid shouldn’t put you in a poor house as being a bride shouldn’t put you in a poor house. It should be something that you can afford and do and not regret it and not feel bad about it. You’ve chosen these girls because you love them and they’re your friends so you shouldn’t put them in an ugly dress or an ill-fitting dress or a dress they can’t afford.
Irie: What does a bride do when her bridesmaids all have different body sizes and the dress she loves, everyone is not in love with. Is it OK to go with different colours?
Randy: I would not go with different colours. I think colour is the one thing that makes the whole look cohesive, otherwise the bridesmaids are going to look like guests at the wedding that are dressed up in different colours. If you want to go with different dresses or different styles, that’s a different story. I think as long as it’s in the same fabric and the same colour, it will make a real cohesive look.
Irie: How do I go about sending late wedding thank you notes?
Randy: Well first of all you have up to a year so how late are you talking? If you’ve waited longer than a year then you better make a call with that thank you note because you have to recognize that people did spend money but the general rule is up to a year.
Irie: If given the opportunity to style (or restyle) any celebrity for her wedding who would it be and what would you recommend for her?
Randy: Oh I would love to style Angelina Jolie and not just because she’s so beautiful but more so because of who she is, what her an Brad stand for, they are such good people, they’ve adopted so many kids and I just really admire what they stand for. You know, she just had her breast removed because cancer runs in her family and she did it publicly and I just think that whay she stands for, what they stand for, it’s just beautiful.
Of course I heard a rumour that Pippa Middleton may be engaged so I would love to style her although it would probably be very challenging because the expectations would be so high and because she’s so beautiful she’s going to look good in anything, so I would try to talk her into the simplest gown possible which would probably not make everyone else happy but I just feel like when you have someone that’s so beautiful really the dress should just be an accent.
And if there was anyone else it would be Oprah Winfrey, once again because I love and admire her for what she does and what she stands for and who she is a person and a humanitarian and I would love to see her happy and beautiful walking down the aisle someday.
Irie: How do you keep humble despite all the positive publicity you have been experiencing during the years, after all you are Randy!!?
Randy: Well you know I was born and raised on a farm, my father was pretty abusive, and I prayed my whole life to get away from him and get off that farm so now that I’m here, I’m not going to complain about it and I’m going to remember where I came from because I think it keeps me grounding and I’m very lucky to be here so I want to make sure that I don’t lose that. That’s why one thing I won’t do, if somebody asks for a photo, I never say no unless I’m running to catch a flight or in the middle of something you know, I will never turn them down. I think it comes with the job, I work for them and it takes so little to give somebody a photo and to make their day. Sometimes it gets a little scary when there’s big groups, I do have to be a little protective.
Irie: How long have you been at Kleinfeld and how did you get into that role?
Randy: Well I’m not at Kleinfeld anymore, I haven’t been for about two years, I have my own company but the way I got in, I actually was a bridal designer since 1993 and I was also a makeup artist and hairdresser before that but I was the number one bridal designer in the world two years in a row in 1999 and 2000 and I was making good money and I invested very wisely in property in New York and I was making enough money that I could basically retire and I realized that real estate was really the way to go so I bought two homes in New Orleans, refurbished and sold them and then bought a brand new dream home in the French quarter of New Orleans and I was going to open my own one of a kind dress shop to do what I love and six months later came Hurricane Katrina. I had found the perfect place to open my dress shop and I was working with clients and I was about to open in two weeks and Hurricane Katrina came and who wants a dress when you don’t have a roof over your head. So we sat there for two years and the bills piled up paying mortgage and food and everything else and finally I said I need to get back into bridal and the Kleinfeld had just moved into a new location into Chelsea which was four blocks away from where I used to live in New York and I said well this makes perfect sense and the way I got into bridal was, I was a student at FIT and at the time FIT, Kleinfeld and Modern Bride which was a bridal magazine at the time held a contest and I Was the winner so Kleinfeld just seemed like a good match and they created the position of fashion director for me because there was never before, to our knowledge a man in bridal so, you know men don’t typically hang around bridal salons but because I had such an extensive history and I knew so much about bridal gowns and hair and makeup and the construction of bridal gowns and really the psychology of the bride that they offered me the position and that’s how I got my job there. The day I started my position was the last day they were filming the first season of Say Yes to the Dress
Irie: How perfect!
Randy: Well…I had no desire to be on a reality show and I told them no and long story short here I am with three reality shows and another one in the works. I created Randy to the Rescue, that was my own concept and I just pitched a new idea to them and we will hopefully shoot a pilot by the end of this year but I don’t know if I’m allowed to give out that information yet, a little insider scoop!
Irie: What are you looking forward to most on your visit to Jamaica?
Randy: Oh! You know what, I love the Caribbean, I love the blue waters, the sunshine, it’s been pretty dreary here in New York lately. Also I’m real excited I love experiencing different cultures, and I’ve never experienced the Jamaican culture since I’ve never been there before so I’m really excited to meet with the Jamaican people and the cuisine, fresh seafood some jerked chicken and really just to see, find out and learn who they are because I think that all cultures have something to offer and they have their own traditions and beliefs and the way they live and I find it all so fascinating.
Did you make it through all that? It was a fabulous conversation and I can’t wait to meet him at KBW! He is super nice, the most approachable celebrity I’ve ever met and his advice was sound, I loved how much he emphasized being in the moment and enjoying the day, it’s something we can use in our every day lives. Every now and then, stop and smell the roses!
Meet Dainielle, the lucky winner of the #AskRandy promo who submitted the question about styling or restyling a celebrity. See you at Kingston Bridal Week!