Posted on August 04 2017
Hi! My name is Chloe Turner. I am currently a senior at Texas A&M University. This summer, I had the honor to model for my role model and mentor Randa Carrabba. When I first got the email saying she wanted to meet me in person for a further interview, I jumped up and down. I had the chance to be one of the beautiful girls I always saw on social media modeling for Southern Jewlz. I made my appointment and drove to meet her. I was honestly nervous and intimidated because Randa asked me to meet her at her home office. The beautiful castle in front of me made me feel overwhelmed. It was protected by a fierce bulldog dragon named Bucky. I had read all of Randa’s blogs and really felt a connection with her. This leads me to the ten lessons I learned while modeling for Randa Carrabba.
Lesson 1: Never compare your own success to other people’s success: As I walked in this castle, honestly I was very intimidated. Was I walking too loud? Was I going to trip? I walked into her office and saw all of her amazing awards she had won. I thought to myself, how can I be like that? Here I am a senior and not entirely sure what I want to do when I graduate. Was I a failure? Randa taught me that everyone has their own destination along with a beautiful journey. Randa started Southern Jewlz almost 10 years ago with a vision. She dreamed of a line where girls could wear comfortable, beautiful, affordable clothes. Now she has created not only a store, but a lifestyle for people to live by. Randa wasn’t given anything. She worked for what she wanted. Her best friend, Emily Heath started Ring Wraps. I’ll never forget at my interview, I told Randa, “I wish I could create my own business.” She replied, “Think of something that you do or would want for yourself.” This advice really spoke to me. Randa created a line that she truly loves and lives in herself. Emily created beautiful ring wraps that every girl dreams of having. There is not a piece of clothing you will find at Southern Jewlz that Randa wouldn’t wear. All you have to have is a vision and a whole lot of heart. This taught me that even I, a small town girl from Tyler, Texas, could also have a vision and do something that I love. It’s often said that if you do something you love, you will never work a day in your life.
Lesson 2: Never be afraid to ask questions: My first shoot at Southern Jewlz, I was very nervous. I had modeled before, but each boutique owner expects something different. I will never forget the day I met a beautiful girl named Bre. Bre worked each outfit like it was made for her. I remember thinking to myself, “I wish I looked like that”! I remember I texted Bre and asked her to help me with poses. Bre took the time out and helped me become more comfortable in front of the camera. Randa also helped me tremendously in this aspect. She taught me there is a difference in modeling clothes and modeling yourself. Each outfit requires a certain pose to really show its full potential. I asked Randa and Bre constantly for their opinion. Because of this, I learned some great tips on modeling and made an amazing friend.
Lesson 3: Retail is not all fun and games: From the outside looking in, as I looked at Randa’s blog and social media all I saw was pure bliss. I didn’t see the hours upon hours she put in answering emails, ordering inventory, marketing, updating her blog, styling outfits, uploading pictures, and being a hard working wife. Randa doesn’t have a ton of workers like most boutique owners do. She does almost everything herself, along with help from her wonderful interns. One day, I went in to model for Randa. She was answering an email and concerned because the customer never received her order. Even though it the shipping company's fault, she did everything to make it right for the customer. Most store owners would say that wasn’t their fault. Instead, she reached out to her customer and made things right. When you contact Southern Jewlz, you are not talking to an automated email response. You are talking to someone who is beyond passionate for her store and goes the extra mile to make sure her customers are happy. I always thought retail would be a blast. Making sure you buy clothes that fit different girl’s styles is beyond challenging. She picks out clothes that range from something that a petite girl could wear to something a bigger boned girl could rock.
Lesson 4: Take the negative and transform it into positive: In life, you meet people who are filled with negativity. Their main goal is to cut you down. I remember asking Randa her opinion on this. She told me two simple words. “Keep Smiling.” At first, I didn’t know what she meant. If someone says something hurtful to you, how do you smile? I figured out it meant to ignore their negativity. If you can’t ignore it and it affects your smile, walk away. Negative energy is bad for any soul. Ive learned the meaner someone is to you, the nicer you have to be. No one is perfect. If we were perfect, we would be Jesus Christ himself. Sometimes people speak before realizing what they are saying. I’ve learned praying for people is the hardest/best thing to do in this aspect. You can’t control anyone but yourself. With success, comes critics. You can’t please everyone. “If you’re trying to keep everybody happy, the one person that won’t be happy is you.”
Lesson 5: Hard work builds characters - Diamonds are made under pressure. Sometimes things don’t always go as planned. Sometimes you have a million product shots to shoot and a live feed that starts in 5 minutes. Sometime inventory doesn’t fit like it is suppose to. Sometimes things get lost and we have to pray to Saint Anthony to find them! Sometimes Justin Beiber cancels his tour. At the end of the day, it’s important to reflect on your victories. Randa taught me to celebrate each small victory every day. Each victory is a step closer to my initial goal. With goals comes a lot of hard work. Randa also has an amazing fitness side to her. She works out every single day and has created a name for herself. Even when you would rather stay in bed, push yourself. Push yourself to be the person you dreamed to be when you were 5. Push yourself so one day you can have a dream house. Push yourself to the purpose that God gave you.
Lesson 6: Go with your gut: When I first applied for Southern Jewlz, I was hesitant. I didn’t know if I would even get an interview. I submitted my application and hoped for the best. I am so thankful I did. Through this, I have met the amazing interns and beautiful sweet models. The thing I love about the models is they are just as beautiful on the outside as they are on the inside. Each shoot everyone supports and compliments each other. In this day in age, it is hard to find girls like that. Everyone seems to be out for themselves sometimes I feel. It was so nice to find a home away from home where I could be myself and have a major support system. Randa went with her gut, and closed her store front. Because of this, she is even more successful than when she had the store front. To me, Southern Jewlz has become my college station family. Bre, as I mentioned earlier has been an absolute life saver. It’s funny how God places opportunities infront of you to put you exactly where you need to be. She is always a phone call away no matter the circumstance. If I wouldn’t have applied, I wouldn’t have met Bre, or Randa….or Bucky.
Lesson 7: Its okay to love yourself: Randa taught me that self confidence is key. If you are not confident in your pictures, it shows. You have to truly believe in yourself. God made us in his image. He certainly doesn’t make mistakes. As a little girl, I was always picked on for the beauty mark on my face. My mom has always been my best friend and talked me out of getting it removed. Now, I am so happy I still have it. Today, girls look at other girls and compare themselves. Whether it is comparing their weight, or their hair, comparisons are always made. The girl you see on the cover of a magazine isn’t perfect. You have no idea what she might have gone through to get there. Love yourself and your journey. “Don’t compare your situation with somebody else’s. You’re not running their race. God may be taking you to a higher level.”
Lesson 8: Find Your Unicorn - Marry the person you can’t live without. In life you will meet all kinds of people. Especially boys. If you are dating someone who isn’t your best friend then something isn’t right. The right guy will come into your life and undo all the wrongs that the other ones did. The perfect guy wont have you wasting mascara. I believe every person is born with a soul mate. I also believe God brings that person into your life in the most mysterious ways. Break ups are normal. If you love someone, let them go… if they come back it was meant to be. Watching Grant and Randa interact, I truly obsereve what real love is. Real love is when you get home from a long tiring day at work and you go straight to kiss your wife and your bulldog.
Lesson 9: Be Kind- Girls already have it rough. We have to wake up do our hair and makeup and hope for the best. Or like me, I use dry shampoo and pray for a good day. Girls are the first to criticize other girls. I don’t understand why our world is full of gossip and harshness. Girls already have to go through so much. Why not be nice to one another and support each other. By uplifiting others, you are uplifting yourself as well. You never truly know what another girl is going through. Instead of assuming something, talk to her. Ask her about her day and what is truly going on. If more girls could confide in each other, our world would not be as harsh as it is today. Randa, the models, and the interns make my day every time I walk through the door. There is constant laughter and dancing. Its been about three months, and I still haven’t witness anything negative at Southern Jewlz. Each girl supports each other. While the photographer is taking our picture, we each yell “Get it girl!” or “Hey Gorgeous!”
Lesson 10: Always be a Jewl: When I graduate college and leave my modeling role at Southern Jewlz and step into the “Adult world” I will remember what I learned from watching Randa. Being a Jewl not only betters yourself, but improves the world around you. In a world of darkness, shine like a jewl and brighten someones day. A simple text or compliment could make someone’s hard day easy again. Modeling for Southern Jewlz has been one of the biggest blessings I could ever imagine.