Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Queen of Shades

As of one week ago today, Kristy Elena is -- truly -- living the dream.

"When I was young I dreamed about something like this in vague ways," she wrote in our interview via e-mail. "Back then the internet didn't exist and blogging was years off. But the idea of traveling, photographing and discussing the things I loved and the places I visited was something that appealed to me."

Now, she gets to do all of those things -- and get paid for it. After being plucked from thousands of hopefuls, Kristy won a month-long blog-off against nine other finalists. Her reward? The job of a lifetime: She'll be the full-time fashion blogger for Sunglass Hut, living in New York and traveling to runway shows around the globe. She received a $100,000 contract and will get a $1,000 allowance per month in addition to her rent being paid for.

But the goodies began coming in weeks before. To kick off the competition, all finalists were flown to New York -- all expenses paid.

"We stayed at the W downtown, an absolutely GORGEOUS hotel," Kristy gushed. "Sunglass Hut gave all us finalists an iPad, 10 pairs of designer sunglasses, a flip cam, a $250 American Express Gift Card, a suitcase, and a flash drive. They invited us to a really classy dinner where we met the judges, Sunglass Hut and Luxottica execs, and interesting Fashion Media people. [New York] was so much fun and will always be a cherished memory."

Kristy's favorite part of the trip was a panel interview with 9 judges.

"Sunglass Hut had told us repeatedly that they were looking for the complete package, and I felt that while I had an entire month to prove my blogging skills, I really only had this one moment to show that on-the-spot and in person I could still be articulate and speak intelligently about fashion, the industry and blogging. Usually, I get very nervous for interviews and had assumed I would be for this. But when I sat down, I realized I wasn't. It was actually really fun! I was talking about my favorite topics with industry professionals who cared to hear what I had to say."

Each finalist also had a photoshoot done and the filming of a webisode.

Her blog, Vogue Gone Rogue, was birthed in March 2010. Since then, Kristy has found a support group that motivates and inspires her. This community -- along with many new fans and fashionistas -- participated in a blog event involving Twitter entitled #TeamKristy day.

On December 22, bloggers were to post an entry dedicated to Kristy and the competition, stating why she should win. The participant would then place the entry's link on Twitter with the hashtag #TeamKristy. (The event was hosted by V of Grit and Glamour; the illustration above was created by The Jersey Gem.

"#TeamKristy day was the greatest gift I could have asked for. It was like Christmas came early," Kristy said. "Reading the posts and the tweets and everything associated it to it was ridiculously exciting and made me cry, and laugh out loud, more than once. I felt so lucky and so blessed to have such amazing bloggers supporting me."

Not only did #TeamKristy day encourage and promote her -- it also helped her win.

"I think it proved to the judges that I genuinely care about community, and that my community cares very much for me. Sunglass Hut had mentioned they were looking for someone that understood community and how to cultivate it."

Kristy experienced plenty of positivity, but unfortunately encountered some negative attitudes as well.

"I'm starting to see it as having been a very important and positive learning experience," she explained. "When being chosen for something like this, there are always bound to be some hurt feelings and differences of opinion. While most people are able to handle it really well, some simply have a harder time."

She offered some advice to fellow bloggers experiencing similar situations.

"Try to remember that negativity has far more to do with the people creating it than it has to do with you. Certain times, reaching out to the person can be helpful, especially if the negativity is the result of a misunderstanding. But other times, people just aren't ready to accept you, and your kindness will only further exacerbate the insecurities making them react that way to begin with. In these situations, it's best to leave it alone. Stay true to yourself and never compromise your integrity. Your positive and gracious spirit will get you much farther than lowering yourself to anyone else's negative level."

Kristy certainly has a positive and gracious spirit herself. I met her back in October when entering a contest she hosted (I ended up in the top 5!) and soon found out she was also a participant in a contest: Full-Time Fabulous by Sunglass Hut. She won me over with her multiple talents, warm words, and this fantastic video.

Fast-forward nearly three months later, and Kristy is getting ready to move from Italy to New York for her new job. Fortunately, she'll have someone to accompany her on this journey -- her fiance, boyfriend and beau of five years.

"His name is Matt and we are madly in love. He's incredibly supportive and believes in me and my vision. He helps me with a lot of the photography for my blog and it is in large part thanks to him that I'm able to post so many high quality photos. He will be moving back with me and living with me in my new apartment."

Moving back, she says? Yes, Kristy was once a New Yorker. She's also lived in California, New Jersey, and Greece in addition to Italy. You could say that her life has come full circle, yet it's just beginning.

Kristy wanted to leave one last thought with all of you.

"I'd love to invite everyone reading this to come check out my Full Time Fabulous blog! It is going to be a very exciting year filled with industry events and fashion shows - but I also plan to balance it out with the simpler things in life which I feel should never be taken foregranted. I do outfit posts but also love writing a meaty article on a great topic! And not to mention, I'll have creative, interactive opportunities for bloggers to get exposure. Please stop by and get involved! Leave comments and share my posts, let's help make this a really successful, community based blog that helps propel fashion blogging to a new, professional level!"


  1. Fabulous post! Well written and very supportive of Kristy! She has inspired us all! By the way love your blog and the pink and black signature!

    Twitter: @Yvonnalivianna

  2. wow wow wow!!!!!!! i ADORE you!!!!! thank you so much for this. you asked such great questions, I had a lot of fun responding to them. I really love the images and videos you chose to accentuate the responses. this is so well laid out and i love that you did it differently than most interviews. amazing job and thank you again for wanting to feature me love!

    Kristy Eléna - Full Time Fabulous
    Vogue Gone Rogue
    Twitter: @kristyelena

  3. This is such a beautiful, engaging, and well written piece. I never lost track and you really invited the reader into her life in such a comfortable way.

    Just over all amazing... writing, questions, pictures, and composition in this article. You could really tell you were behind her over 100 percent.


  4. I love the way you composed this. It's a different approach to the standard interview and I found it incredibly engaging and fun to read. Bravo to both of you ladies!! xx

  5. She is very pretty! This was well written and I like it. I love the sunglasses too!

  6. wow i would do nearly anything for that job, she is so lucky! such an inspirational post
    xx Nikita

  7. Wow!, this was an engaging interview. It really drew me in.It felt more like a narrative and I enjoyed it throughly.


  8. That sounds like a wonderful career. I can't believe the extras she gets!

    Rosie x

  9. Beautiful beautiful beautiful post!
    I adore kristy and this just proved why she has gotten where she is!
    Negative comments are always going to be out there but I think our Kristy is strong and with Matt by her side I'm sure she can conquer anything!
    Thank you for this lovely post! And thank you for the shout out<3

  10. Love your blog ;)

  11. I love Kristy's blog and I'm so glad she won! She truly deserves it! I can't wait to see read all about her adventures and I think it's going to be such an exciting ride!

    And I just read your post below about Kesha and negative comments. I usually stayed away from reading celebrity blogs because there's so much negativity going on. Have you read what people thought about Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise? It was so horrifying to read what real people are actually thinking. To me, there's no reason to hate someone just because they happen to believe in a different religion or dress in a certain way. It's their choice and I respect that. xxooxxoo

  12. Wow, that is such an amazing story! How exciting for her!

    By the way, I actually do have a pair of size 9 boots check em out! They are awesome!


  13. Thank you, everyone, for taking the time to read this post! I appreciate the support and I'm sure Kristy does too :)

  14. Wow! how did I just see this today? Steph - you did a great job with this. Supporting Kristy during the blog-off was so much fun! I think I enjoyed being her cheerleader as much as she was enjoying being a contestant.
    Kristy is a fabulous girl and deserves everything she gets. Some may say Kristy is lucky but I don't think so. I think she is very talented and uses her talent and ability to the utmost to earn everything she receives.
    I have only been blogging for 3 months and there is so much effort that goes on behind the screen to make a blog happen. Her original blog, VogueGoneRogue, is really amazing and inspires me to do better all the time.
    I enjoyed reading this post about a blogger I already respect, admire and adore.

  15. Hi sweetie, I just found your blog now via Kristys, and I am very glad I did, your blog is lovely! This is such a great interview, and lovely support for the wonderful Kristy. The lovely thing about this interview is that your voice shines through as well. Now I am off to surf some more here in your bloghome :)

    <3 Anika

  16. What a beautiful post Stephanie. very well written. I agree. Kristy is very
    talented and so is you. Keep up the good work. we love to read more of all
    of you wonderful people.


Pin It button on image hover