Last year, before we switched hosting sites, the perpetually fabulous SoCal Val was kind enough to do an interview with us. It was lost from the Cloud when we swapped over, but fortunately, I found a copy of it in the bowels of my hard drive. With Val's permission, I am super thrilled to be able to share this again with you! She has so many amazing thoughts and fashion philosophies; this was easily one of my favorite interviews EVER :). So without further ado, Diva-Fierce.com presents: the re-published edition of The SoCal Val Interview!
1) I've followed the independent fashion blogger scene for awhile - The Blonde Salad and Tavi Gevinson are awesome, and you call out The Man Repeller (Leandra is so great!). Were other bloggers the catalyst for you starting your blog , or did the idea come from somewhere else?
The idea really came from people, mainly female friends of mine, asking how I put outfits together. That really is the foundation of my blog. If you have an eye for fashion it's very easy to look at a garment and know exactly what to pair with it. This is especially helpful when you can get "extra mileage" out of a piece and wear it over and over again. I am VERY frugal when it comes to shopping so I think that always surprises people. I can't tell you how many times I shock people by telling them how much I spent on an outfit or that it was purchased in a thrift store. Sure I will splurge once in a while on a designer item but I think it's safe to say the majority of what I love is a treasured find from Goodwill or a Vintage shop. I am definitely inspired by other bloggers, though! My favorites are Courtney Kerr (I loved her TV show!) Wendy's Lookbook and my friend Katie's blog: Martinis & Mascara. These are girls that "get it" when it comes to style. They're always classy, well put together and have a friendly approach when it comes to making someone over. It's all about inspiring someone to find joy and confidence in take fashion risks. The aim is never to change someone completely.
2) I love that you call your blog "The Art Of Overdressing" - how does that describe your philosophy of style?
The name was inspired from years of walking into airports and arenas and having the wrestlers shake their heads at me. They'll say things like "Where's the prom?", "You look like a flight attendant!" and "How many times have you changed outfits today?". I'll never forget Eric Bischoff saying to me one day: "I see you in about 6 outfits every day. Either you love to dress up or we're working you WAY too hard." That really cracked me up. I would change often for various episodes of our show and to me that was a HUGE thrill. I loved doing the "Secretary by day" look for filming commercials and promos and then "Glamazon by night" to work ringside on the actual show. I think the boys got a kick out of the fact I had an outfit for literally EVERY occasion. And I make no apologies for being the most dressed up. That makes me happy! Style should be a way of showing people that you took time to create the look. My Mother always said that dressing well is a show of respect for those around you. I think adding interesting extras that aren't so common anymore REALLY ups the ante: gloves, hats, stockings etc. It sets me apart from others. I don't feature a lot of "trendy" things. I veer more toward classic, timeless looks that are ultra feminine. Though I do challenge myself sometimes in order to appeal to a broader audience.
3) We always loved reviewing your shoots at diva-fierce. Clearly, fashion is a passion of yours. What is/are your favorite look(s) to do?
Thank you so very much! I cannot tell you how important your site is. If there was a site like Dive-Fierce when I was around 13, looking up to the women in wrestling and trying to emulate their style, I would've been your biggest fan. Wrestling fans are primarily male so it's nice to know there are females out there, like me, that love the fashions worn by Women of Wrestling. It's hard to narrow down my favorite looks in photoshoots but I will say this: I am always ecstatic to "tell a story" in photos. While I have fun shooting bikinis/lingerie/costumes it does get a bit old. With my Fashion blog and in the various Editorial shoots I've booked recently I feel I'm in my element when I get to style myself. Two of my favorite shoots have been with Sophie Abbott in London (with Big Ben as my co-star!) and with Kyle Schruder in Toronto. (including two photos below) I feel they say a bit more about the real me. People are always surprised at the fact I don't really like to smile in photos. I'm a very positive person but I prefer the Fashion-y/Artsy look. That usually means awkward poses, more somber expressions and to emote on a deeper level. No matter what I do the "acting" side of me always pops up!
4) When you're searching for an idea for an outfit, where do you look? Is it the clothes you find, a location, magazines, old movies, none of the above, all of the above :)?
Definitely all of the above. I think Film is what inspires me most. Characters that I try to emulate. That's really what "dressing up" is, right? One day you want to be a sweet Stepford Wife and tomorrow you may want to smudge some eyeliner on and be a rocker chick! Magazines are HUGE to me as well. Vogue and Bazaar are my favorites. I tear out pages of looks I want to recreate. I have loads of folders categorized into Fall/Winter looks, Spring/Summer looks, Photoshoot Inspiration, etc. It's always embarrassing on planes to make so much noise ripping papers out of magazines and stuffing them in my bag but…it's all for the sake of style! ;)
5) Your shoots include a "musical inspiration" - how does that fit in? Is it something you hear on the way to the shoot location, a song you love that you build an outfit around, an indication of your mood?
Definitely an indication of my mood. I LOVE music. I fall in love with songs very often and put them on repeat. I have playlists for everything. For example on planes I listen to music that makes me think and reflect (Coldplay, The Script, Lovelife, Vast, The Neighbourhood) and in photoshoots I need music that keeps me energized ( The 1975, Bastille, Kerli, Kylie Minogue, Gin Wigmore). I really do associate certain songs/artists with specific looks. Joan Jett for edgy outfits, Florence & the Machine for flowy gowns….etc. The "Musical Pairings" I recommend can be played while you're getting ready…AKA "getting into character". It makes it SO much fun!
6) You've added videos to your posts lately, and there are some special promo codes for people who watch the vids. Tell us about those.
I am really lucky to have brands provide promo codes so my readers can try out their products/apparel at a discounted price. I am very strict about only promoting things that I actually use myself. In the same way I would be at lunch with my girlfriends raving about a new jewelry line or skincare brand I'm loving right now, I can now share the info with my followers. No one should ever feel obligated to purchase anything that I recommend. But you know when you stop someone on the street and say "Oh my gosh I love that scarf, where did you get it?". This is my way of showing you where and how to get it for yourself. Plus a few tips on how to get the most use out of it. Plus the videos are totally up my alley with my background in hosting. I always hope to come across as professional but at the same time I hope the viewers feel like I'm genuinely speaking to them like I would one of my friends. It comes from a sincere place of hoping you'll enjoy whatever I'm promoting as much as I've enjoyed it.
For those of you who've been missing your Valerie, she's been keeping busy! In addition to her fantastic fashion blog which you must check out HERE, she's a presenter and live event host for FITE TV, an app for all things fight-related and has recently joined BAMMA, a huge mixed martial arts promotion in the United Kingdom, roughly akin to UFC on this side of the pond. Lastly, she's just release her very own t-shirt, available HERE through Represent.com. Not only does this fab white come emblazoned with a sexy pic of Val, she's also released it in three different colors: classic white, fiery red and city-girl gray, plus several different silhouettes: a gathered tank, a classic tank, a boxy tee and a fitted tee. All these options are available at a crazy affordable price - under $25, for a limited edition! For real. And you know what else I LOVE? These tees are all made in the USA - thank you Val for supporting American manufacturing! Now, that is classy! If you've been on the hunt for a great graphic tee, this is IT. So go get yourself one of these and rep Val and the US of A and fierceness all in one amazeballs piece of fashion! Pair it with ripped denim, a sequined skirt, a femme maxi topped with a leather jacket...the possibilities are endless. And did you catch that part about "limited edition"? Yep, these are only available until September 16, so chop chop! :)
Welcome to the place where wrestling & fashion join hands. #BeInspired #LoveFashion May the Fierce be with you! ;) Peace & Glitter!
Brie: shoe-lover :) fashion-lover and generally glamorous semi-dork
Photos used for criticism and comment under US Copyright Act Section 107.