Friday, May 29, 2009

Stefanie Somers - Designer and Creator of Pageant Jewelry

We have quite a legend right here in The Woodlands, Texas. Coming here from Baltimore in 1992, Stefanie Somers lives just outside of The Woodlands proper. She is living her second career now. Her first was also in a glitzy venue that she loved, a ballroom dancing studio! "I still miss that." It all came to an end as the result of an injury she incurred years ago. She came into the ballroom business after winning the USA Amateur Ballroom title in her last year of college. Then after the injury, she changed her profession out of necessity. She is very well known in the United States as the lady who puts the glamor in glamor. Among her clients include competitors in the USA, America and Galaxy pageant systems at various stages of competition. She by no means limits her work to the major pageants. She also creates accessories for local pageant contestants, brides, dancers and participants in any event where a lady is looking to be unique. She has no store front other than her website.2 She does not design or create crowns such you would see for the winner of a major pageant, nor a tiara. If you are in a pageant and don't go to her for help for your evening gown jewelry, you are missing the edge in competition when you face the judges.

This year, all one needs to know about Stefanie's creativity is to look no further than First Runner-up Miss USA 2009 in her evening gown.2 Carrie Prejean (Miss California) wore her spectacular white earrings, the creation of Stefanie. She has been on various television shows. Another example is Miss Utah, Laura Kirilova Chukanov, who was third Runner-up in the same pageant, in her yellow gown, wearing her customized yellow earrings by Stefanie. Second Runner-up (not pictured) Miss Arizona, Alicia-Monique Blanco was also wearing her unique jewelry. In fact, five of the top ten in the Miss USA Pageant this year were wearing jewelry designed and built by this creative artist. Each contestant using Stefanie's services wears unique jewelry customized for that individual for that contest. The jewelry is of course designed with the dress colors and style in mind, but much more goes into the uniqueness of the product. The personality of the girl, her frame and her features will play a part in the selection of stone cuts and colors.

This lady works exceptionally hard to get the job done. Often she is under tremendous pressure to produce her product and put it into the hands of the contestant near the day of the pageant. The night before I interviewed her, she was up all night working on a project.

Stefanie has her own design philosophies, which have evolved over the years. For one, she has to get to know the contestant, not just work from a photograph. The contestant actually designs the creation through her individual uniqueness. It is up to Stefanie to interpret that uniqueness. "The girl's silhouette is very important" says Stefanie. "The girl should sparkle ten feet away". I use the best crystal available and have a privileged direct designer account with the company making them, giving me access to their remarkable palette of crystal cuts and colors.", "company" being Swarovski1 "I have an immense inventory of many colors and shapes. Looking at these stones is like being in a candy store."

When asked about interesting experiences in this business, she replied. "Every once in a while I get a call from the hotel where the girls have already gathered for a pageant, and one asks me if I can design her accessories before the pageant. That happened this year. This simply cracks me up!" There is of course a lot of planning and preparation required to successfully compete in these events. Some of the girls are not aware of the extent of preparation by some of their competitors until they see them with their personalized jewelry and say "oh no, I need one of those too!". It is then too late. "Another memory also comes to mind. I have done some custom work for Disney, for example the buttons on the shirt of Mickey Mouse that he wears in Disney World for firework displays, as the orchestra leader. I am also particularly happy to be the designer of Cinderella's crown, which I am sure just about everyone has seen. I was privileged to go backstage and see the Disney operation as a result of my work. A fond memory. I also get to see the real people who are in the public eye. To see these wonderful dresses of pageant contestants is a joy of mine."

I have to say, it is apparent when talking to her, that she enjoys her work.

Stefanie has two children and is able to be there for them, since she does her work in her very large studio near their home. At times, she employs a substantial number of people to help with the work. Her daughter also often helps her with the business.

She was recently interviewed on Pageant Talk Radio3. That is an interesting conversation, if you want to spend the time with it. She wrote an article in Pageantry Magazine that you may also find interesting and useful if you have some event where you want to be unique. She also gives advice on selecting earrings that will go with any color gown. 4

Contact information
Stefanie Somers, Inc.
800.400.4312 Toll Free
936-273-2488 Houston local
936-273-1729 Fax

1 Swarovski Crystal website
2 Stefanie Somers Website
3 Pageant Talk Radio
4 Pageantry Magazine article by Stefanie Somers, "Opposing Forces"

1 comment:

Jay said...

Nice post!!! thank you for sharing this post.