Ashes to Glitter: A Fashion Designer’s Journey
Life is precious isn’t it? Life is something that we experience every day and frankly something that most of us just drift through. Why do you think people often take life for granted until something tragic happens to them? Why can’t we seize every opportunity as if it’s the last? We never know when life is going to take us down a path that we didn’t intend to go. Most of us have had some sort of event happen to us that defined who we are, what we stand for and challenged our inner being. What we do with those unjust moments is up to us. We can decide to be victims the rest of our lives or we can choose to rise above it.
Often times, meeting someone can impact your life forever. Every once in a while you come across someone who captures your attention on many different levels, whether it is their success in business, their demeanor or their outlook on life. For me, that encounter happened when I was introduced to Stacey Blanchet. At first, our talk was centered on fashion and her telling about the process of creating Blanchet Designs. Our conversation quickly developed into a world of exploration. After learning about the film and then later watching “The Journey to Myself”, it only seemed natural to interview Stacey to find out how this film was brought about. Hardly do we ever get to know the designer behind a stunning evening gown to the degree that we do with Stacey. Her journey has up and downs and once you know her, you will appreciate her creative designs even more. You will see an amazing person rise above her undeserved sexual abuse obstruction into a beautiful successful woman today.
What inspired you to create this movie?
SB: It was an accident. My producer, Jonathan Medal, followed me for a year to document the life of a design house starting up. We wanted to catch the ups and downs of what it takes to create this type of business. When we wrapped up, he came to me with a special request that he wanted to scrap the entire project and have me tell my story. He felt that was a better story. I was very hesitant to do any such thing as I am a very private person. However, since there were no photos out there of me or information except a story I published about six years prior called ‘The Journey To Myself’, I was getting letters and emails from people who wanted to talk to me about my life and how I managed to get through the dark side.
After about three months of talks, I decided that we would take ‘The Journey to Myself’ story and tell the full story. No holding back. The good, bad and ugly. I am a fan of the Oprah ‘Master Class’ series and decided if we do this, we were going to model the story after that. I wanted something that was truthful but at the same time never showed me in a victim light. I am not a victim.
This film was shot in one day by Jonathan, and there is no script. I spoke for 4 hours straight from the heart about what I went through, how I see it, where it has taken me and what I am learning in the process. The hard part was the editing and removing myself from the project and letting others take control telling my story. In the end, I was allowed back in and had input on what was shown but, I left the majority up to my director/producer, Jonathan Medal, and sound mixer, Romeo Gain. Both were instrumental in keeping me focused, not emotional and on track.
I am not sure if anyone took us seriously even us, but, I submitted our little movie into 8 film festivals around the country with no knowledge how the process works. You could imagine our surprise when we won an ‘Award of Merit’ from the Indie Fest our first festival and were an ‘Official Selection’ of the Las Vegas Cine Festival, our third festival. Not bad, for a project that was an accident.
What has been the reaction from people who have watched it?
SB: Nothing but positive. I think the biggest surprise was that they were all expecting a film about fashion and instead get something very unexpected. I have been at screenings and most just look at me completely different and I believe more human.
You talk about dark periods of your life, how do you feel those challenges brought you to where you are today?
SB: I think the good and bad shape you to the person you are today. The dark periods usually teach you survival, how to be fearless, to think fast on your feet and choose your situations wisely. If you take those lessons and combine them with the good lessons, you will be alright. The trick is to take the traits you got from the dark periods and make them positive and not let yourself stay in darkness. Hard to do but when you do, you come out very strong.
What do you think one misconception is that will change people’s view of you after they see this movie?
SB: I haven’t got a clue. I don’t know if there are any misconceptions out there about me. I believe I am very authentic, straight forward and most believe what you see is what you get. I say “that I am anything anyone has ever said about me, because chances are, I was that way to that person”.
Do you ever see your uncle now and if so, how do you tolerate it? Did anything happen to him?
SB: I did not see my uncle after the hearing except once at my grandmother’s funeral 5 years ago. Nothing happened to him as I was past the 8 years Statue of Limitations. Very important to remember that you have 8 years from the date of the act to report to the police. After that 8 years there is nothing. The only good thing to come out of it, was they were not able to get custody of my cousins daughter who was 8 at the time. I stopped that.
Do you have a good relationship with your parents today? Where you able to forgive them?
SB: I have a very good relationship with my mother. I do not speak with my real dad or anyone on that side of the family. There was no need to forgive them, I just walked away and moved on with my life without them. I make it sound easy but it is not. You have to start all over again and be alone for a long period of time. Those were very dark years for me.
The film talks about some of your recovery but what are your triggers today or have you been able to completely move on?
SB: I have many triggers but most center around control. I won’t allow anyone to change me in any way. I have learned over the years that it never ends if you let it start. In relationships, my trigger is control and the word ‘Maybe’. I don’t allow that word to be used with me. You must say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.
I would think most would say that I am a boundary person. I don’t allow anyone to push my space or invade my space unless they are invited. I am not sure these are bad traits to have as they work for me.
What part of your life has been affected the most from this tragic event?
SB: It is hard to say. I would think that I am what they call a ‘Master of Detachment’. I know that if I walk away from any situation or person, I will always be ok. Having that knowledge has allowed me to never settle. That part of me probably scares most because they are always thinking I am going to leave. That is present in everything from professional to personal. I apply the logic to every part of my life. I just haven’t figured out if it is a good thing or a bad thing. It has worked for me in my life.
How do you begin to look at men in a healthy way?
SB: I was very lucky that I grew up on a foundation of love and the men in my family were wonderful. My mother’s second husband is whom I call my dad and still a part of my life today. The men I have been surrounded by were very good, decent, loving and caring men that I learned a lot from. I have never put all men in the same category. I believe there are a lot of very good people out there and some bad ones. I just happened to meet them both.
If you could give someone advice that is going through the same thing, what would you say?
SB: Tell people until you find someone who believes you. We are in different times from my time in 1976. People listen now and they can recognize the signs much better. There are so many avenues available now for help that you don’t have to rely on your family. It helps to have a supportive family but you don’t need them to help yourself. You must believe in helping yourself even when others don’t.
The Journey to Myself represents your past, what do you want to define your future?
SB: I do not want anything to define me. I love the line that Maria Shriver uses to describe herself “I want to be a work in progress until the day I die”. That hangs above my desk and it is something that I live by. My future has not been written and I for one want to be surprised!
Stacey started her design house only a few years ago and her gowns have already graced the red carpet at many celebrity events, such as the Oscars and the Emmy’s. Blanchet Designs has also been featured in numerous magazines word-wide. This is only the beginning for Stacey, the sky is the limit!
Let’s not let anything or anyone define who we are!
The “ Journey to Myself “won the Award of Merit
To learn more about Stacey and or “The Journey to Myself” go to: www.BlanchetDesigns.com
To purchase a copy of “The Journey to Myself” go to:
Article By: Tosha Cole Clemens
Tosha has over 10 years’ experience in fashion production, product development, design, and styling. She has represented top companies that include, Bebe, Wet Seal, Fredrick’s of Hollywood, and Fox. She provides consulting and also is a contributing fashion writer for several websites and the founder of www.NittyGrittyFashion.com