U&C Magazine sat down with the beautiful all-inspiring stylist, fashionista Kelly Dooley.
1) Please describe what you do, and why you are passionate about your work: I am the penultimate juggler. I started my career in New York City as an activewear designer in 2010 with the launch of BodyRock Sport, which began as a collection of sports bras that were equally fashionable and fashionable. Since my departure from BodyRock Sport in 2014, I moved back to California in 2015, and since settling back in Orange County, which is where I am originally from, I naturally segued into becoming a freelance fashion stylist. However, I am also in real estate as well as branding and wellness. I am currently distribution manager for a brand called Dr. Patchwells, a vitamin delivery system will truly revolutionize the wellness industry, which launches in January. I also do freelance branding and marketing for fashion brands, such as Sakura Swimwear, a gorgeous line of Swarovski encrusted bikinis. I am a mentor at St. Margaret’s Episcopal School, where is where I went for both middle school and high school, for their Tartan Tank, which is essentially Shark Tank for 8th Graders. I have my domestic violence certification for the state of California and serve on both the advancement committee and the gala committee for Human Options, which is a 501c3 that helps victims and survivors break the cycle of domestic violence.
The past 10 years of my life has revolved around fitness, fashion, and wellness, and I have achieved massive success in each realm. I crushed all of my pre-35 goals, which included being on featured on Oprah’s O List and in Forbes, doing a Ted Talk, and starring on a reality TV show. I was on both TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress, which, by the way, was completely staged, and then on TLC’s The Big Day, which was also heavily scripted. Although my marriage was dissolved, those shows helped me build a solid foundation in these respective industries. Despite them first airing several years ago, people recognize me virtually everywhere I go, so the marriage was more of a business investment than anything else.
In 2014, my life fell apart, as my manufacturer screwed me over and my now ex-husband had an affair with one of his clients, whom he recently married. It was through the darkest months of my life that I really embraced my essence and my calling, which is to empower women on a global scale. Through my current work as a stylist, as the distribution manager for Dr. Patchwells, and as a committee member for Human Options, I’ve been able to positively impact so many lives, which makes all of the heartbreak that I’ve endured much more bearable. It’s really easy to let go of those who don’t love you when you love yourself. I really took the time to invest in myself and to remove any and all negative energy from my life, and ever since doing so, life has sent me blessings from all sides. I am a new Mom to my beautiful 16-month-old daughter, Zoe Giselle, who has been an absolute game changer for me. She is the type of soul that redefines that which I previously knew to be amazing. I hit the jackpot with my precious ZoZo, and she has helped me set boundaries both personally and professionally–and, when it comes down to it, everything changes when you start to realize your worth. My passion for my work and for my daughter oozes through every crevice of my soul.
What word do you feel describes you best as a professional and why?
I am an ENTP personality and am truly a creative genius. Present an idea to me and I can turn it into an absolute masterpiece hammering out every detail with laser precious and the utmost integrity. I am also a major fan of cause-based marketing, so most endeavors that I take on end up being major successes.
Were you always sure you wanted to be in the industry that you are in?
No. As a child, I wanted to be a doctor. Then I wanted to be a journalist. Then I wanted to be in fashion. Ultimately, I fused everything I love into one beautiful package and designed the life that I want to live so that working does not feel like work in the traditional sense of the word.
What motivates you to continue your work?
I want to leave footprints all over the hearts of those I work with and whose lives I touch through my philanthropic endeavors—that deeply motivates me to keep pushing and to keep setting more goals that others would deem unattainable. I have a reputation for achieving the impossible.
Do you have any advice for those looking for a similar career path?
Take as many opportunities as possible, sometimes even those that are unpaid if you see them as great opportunities for networking. This is an industry in which connections are golden, so go for the gold. It is often at the most unexpected moments that you will find a diamond in the rough. Also, try not to get discouraged. There’s a lot of snooty and uptight people in the world of fashion and even in wellness, but in life, we have choices every day: to practice peace or to practice stress, to practice love to practice hate, to be happy or to be miserable. Life is all about creating memories and solving problems, so even on your worst day, don’t give in and don’t give up. Of course, we all have bad days, but I make a deliberate and everyday effort to keep an inventory of who is in my life and to extricate anyone who is toxic.
Always be a genuine person. Karma is a mirror. The universe will bless you tenfold for going out of your ways for others and will also punish you if yours intentions are anything less than pure. It’s also incredibly important to set boundaries. Learn how to embrace NO. I always go above and beyond for people and I often feel bad saying NO to certain opportunities, but as a Mom, it has become very easy to say NO if an opportunity does not pay me well enough to take it on because I hate being away from my daughter. Every now and then, I’ll style a shoot for free, but that’s only when I absolutely love the photographer’s work and I always get something in exchange. I am all about symbiosis. Take care of yourself and do that which makes you happy. Being happy is a very personal thing and it really has nothing to do with anyone else. For me, for example, the gym is a necessary component of my life. I have a trainer 5-6 days per week. I hear a lot of people say they’re too busy for the gym. But the truth is that they can make the time if they want to. My morning workouts make my entire day exponentially more productive, and when you feel confident and strong, you excel in all aspects of your life. So, be sure to serve yourself so that you can adequately serve others.
To whom, or what, do you feel you owe your success? I owe my success to my Mom and to my Dad. Even though he passed away in 1989, when I was only 7-years-old, he was a wonderful Dad and he taught me so much about life. I also felt that although he was gone, he could see every move I was making from Heaven, so I always wanted to make him proud. This insatiable desire to make my Dad’s spirit happy has enabled me to excel in all areas of life. My Mom instilled me a strong moral compass as well as with the confidence and the drive to follow even my wildest dreams.
My Mom and my Dad. I do not idolize any celebrities or anyone else. I came from a good family that taught me right from wrong, and who gave me all the tools that I’ve needed to pursue my dreams. Therefore, I never had to search for inspiration outside of my own home.
What was the hardest part of getting where you are today?
I lost my world as I knew it in 2014 but I gained the universe with the arrival of my daughter in 2016. Through unforeseen circumstances, I became a single Mom shortly after my daughter was born but in so doing, I developed a level of strength that I had never previously known as I had to learn how to fight for myself and how to not get stuck on page that was meant to be turned. Zoe has enabled me to make strides in my career that I never knew were possible. I am fully committed to being the best Mom and role model to her partly because I never, even for an instant, want her to feel like she’s missing something in her life. And she’s honestly the happiest baby I have ever known, which reaffirms that what I am doing is right. Her precious smile, gregarious personality and uncontrollable laughter are all that I need to stay on my star-studded path. Money doesn’t make you-heart does. And that is what makes me different.
What’s up and coming for you in the next year?
We are launching Dr. Patchwells in January, which I could not be more excited about. The world is about to see a lot more of me again–ready or not, here I come. I also enrolled in a few business classes at Notre Dame (their online program), so I am very excited to gain some new skills. One of the classes is called Intercultural Negotiation. And I’m playing a very active role with Human Options. There’s so much work that needs to be done in the world of domestic violence. Women are expected to keep quiet about the men who prey on us, as their predation was our choice, not theirs. We are expected to not complain or to stand up for ourselves as we are diminished, degraded, discredited and discarded. I will be doing all that I can do to ensure that this happens to fewer women in Orange County, and ultimately, throughout the world. One of the best things about heroes is that sometimes you get to be your own. I was mine and I will devote the rest of my life to helping women save themselves, and to not only to survive but ultimately to thrive and evolve into the best, happiest version of themselves.
Zoe’s IG: @themininomadfashionista
Hair and Makeup for Photographer: Josie Buco