The Bahamian Icon Awards may be over, but hype hasn't died yet! If you were on the Red Carpet at the Bahamian Icon Awards, then you probably heard the same name, over and over again!
Three nominees graced the red carpet in custom designs by none other than the fabulous Ria Georgina! Her designs were the most stunning and talked about, all night! I have the pleasure of calling her a friend so scoring this interview wasn't difficult but it was still a privilege to be able to sit down with her and talk about her and her brand! So let’s take a minute to meet the woman behind the dress!
If you were on the Red Carpet at the Bahamian Icon Awards, then you probably heard the same name, over and over again!
Three nominees graced the red carpet in custom designs by none other than the fabulous Ria Georgina! Her designs were the most stunning and talked about, all night! So let’s take a minute to meet the woman behind the dress!
Her full, government name, according to her passport, is Kenria Geoginia Smith (side eye to the government worker who butchered her intended middle name of 'Georgina' so perfectly). At the young age of 29 she has been operating under the brand name Ria Georgina, since 2012. Kenria’s (Ria for short) grandmother used to sew and passed it on to her mother, whom she mostly learned the basics from. As she got older and started to gain more interest in fashion, she started to experiment with different techniques, purchase textbooks and everything else she pretty much learned from trial and error and, of course Youtube. I sat down with this Power Woman this week to talk about her Red Carpet debut and gain insight on who she is and what’s next for her brand.
How did it feel to design for 3 Bahamian Icon Nominees?
It really didn't hit me until I started working on Leanne's dress (I had less than 24 hours to pull that together lol). I knew Leah and Leanne from Facebook, and Wendy is one of my newer clients, but I love all of their energy, so it felt pretty easy breezy as opposed to 'Holy crap, these are ICONS'. It was my first red carpet as well, so watching the red carpet and the show was kind of surreal, especially when Leanne was asked who she was wearing and she said 'Ria Georgina'. I legitimately almost jumped out of my skin.
What is your personal development plan?
I'm not a big planner, especially when it comes to things like running a business. I literally have no idea what I'm doing, but I know that I would be miserable if I were doing anything else. For now, I just want to build my clientele and continue doing what I love and see where it takes me.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Hmmm, probably the combination of the Love and Hip Hop series (all of them lol) and Twitter. It's so ratchet but I can't stop watching/tweeting. It's hilarious.
Who was your favourite person to design/style for and why?
And NOW you're trying to get me into trouble. Generally speaking, I love designing for women who know what they want, come with reference photos, but are open to trying something different. I love when I can get to that sweet spot where the client trusts me completely, it's really quite the compliment.
What are the top three life lessons you've learned that have been the most helpful in your career?
The main lesson I've learned is that not everyone is as honest as you may be. Just because I would never commission someone to make a dress and drop off the face of the earth without paying for it, doesn't mean that someone else won't. I had that happen to me more times than I'd like to admit. I've also learned that if you don't love what you do, it won't matter how much money you make. I worked for a handful of people before finally deciding to try it on my own, and the same thing usually happened; I'd be happy the first few weeks because I could finally save up for something I may have wanted, but once I got it, I kind of felt unfulfilled, like I was missing something important. Money is nice to have in abundance, but to be honest, if the world never ran on currency, I would still be doing what I do now. The third thing is that your client should NEVER see you panic. There are times when something is a bit too snug, or too short, and I can visibly see the panic in my clients' eyes. I always keep a cool head and reassure them that it's not the end of the world, and that it can be fixed. Because in most cases, it can. Things go wrong all the time, but it's the way that we handle it that people usually remember.
Name someone you would really like to work with. Why?
I have a designer bucket list that I constantly add to, but if I had to pick one person right now, it would be Emma Stone. She's one of my favorite redheads and I love that she likes to stand out on the Red Carpet. Plus she would be so much fun to hang out with.
What are the top three life lessons you would pass on to someone else?
First, I would advise them not to take failures and the word 'no' as the end of the road. None of these things are permanent unless we let it be. Also, I'd tell them to not let the way the world treats you change you for the worse. If you are a positive person, hold on to that. If you're a video game enthusiast way into your 30's, own it. The world needs diversity. Finally, I would encourage them to travel and learn as much as you can about as many places as you can, while you can.
You run into a potential client in the elevator/coffee shop and you only have 60 seconds to sell yourself. Go!
Hmmm. Well at least 20 of that 60 seconds would be wasted on me just going back and forth in my head about whether or not I should even approach them. If it's someone who's in the public eye, I'd ask them if they were so-and-so and then I'd say something like 'Awesome, I really appreciate what you do for (insert charity here). My name is Kenria Smith, I'm a local designer and stylist, and I'd love to work with you for your next event.' Then I'd give them my card and let the rest sort itself out. I'm not an aggressive human.
What's next for Ria Georgina?
I'm currently working on some pieces for an upcoming music video (I won't say who yet), and after that, I will be winging it. I'm open to whatever opportunities this profession has waiting for me.