Diary of a Former Beauty Queen
Posted on April 03 2015
Our style is more than the colors we choose every morning or the purse we grab to match.
We caught up with a beloved customer and Florida beauty queen (literally) Stephanie and asked her a few questions about what style means to her and how she maintains hers.
She’s not just gorgeous but brilliant and a tad philanthropic.
Stephanie, I love your blog Diary of a Debutante! Beyond blogging what else do you do?
I’m the Operations Manager for a wealth management firm in Greater Orlando. If that doesn’t keep me busy enough, I’m also a reigning pageant queen, part-time model, and a transitioning-to-full-time fashion and lifestyle blogger. It’s safe to say I have an equivalent obsession with both finance and fashion, which are obviously two polar opposite interests. You have to do what you love, even if it makes you crazy!
I completely understand. I love fashion and am lucky that it’s also my job. You are right - your passions are polar opposites. How do you balance them?
Since I am a professional female working in a fast-paced, ostentatious industry, I dress much more maturely and conservatively than most women my age. People automatically assume I’m inane because of my history with pageantry and, more specifically, my age, so overcompensation in the sophistication of my wardrobe is necessary. This doesn’t mean that I wear mom jeans on the weekends, but I do try and always set an example for younger girls that your ambition and accomplishments should attract men to you, not your chest size or bare stomach.
So true - and if we do decide to flaunt what we’ve got it should be on our terms, in our way! So what inspires your style? Where do you look to find new outfits?
My role models actually inspire my style most—and no, although she’s wonderful, Beyoncé isn’t my role model. I look up to Sheryl Sandburg, Kate Middleton, a handful of First Ladies like Nancy Reagan and Jackie O, and (posthumously) Audrey Hepburn. These are all women who’ve made a significantly stylish and societal mark in our modern culture, and I try and emulate their class and demeanor in any way I can.
Don’t we all, Stephanie? What is your favorite outfit that you've shared with your fans so far?
During Miss Florida USA 2015 week, I shared some snapshots of my royal blue bandage interview dress, which was actually from The Kewl Shop, in the form of a pageant week recap, and although it was hands-down the most daring garment I’ve ever worn to an interview, I don’t think I’ve ever received as many compliments on a single item before.
Wow! That’s great! So what are some of the new pieces you have picked up for spring / summer?
I’m a huge fan of sundresses, so I’ve already purchased way too many Lilly Pulitzer and Barbara Gerwit designs. What can I say? It’s Florida; it gets hot here in February, so I need all-the-more sundresses to cover those few extra months of heat. Also, as soon as it’s warm enough to not wear boots, I switch almost exclusively to wedges. They still give you height without the discomfort involved with wearing heels, and I love them.
I love wedges too - but admittingly find solace in heels just as much. I guess it depends on the dress and my mood. Anyway, your blog continues to grow and has a healthy following. Tell me about it. How did you start? What inspires your posts?
I was sick just about 2 years ago for around 9 months with severe Gastritis, and I was essentially bedridden during that time. I started Diary of a Debutante as a means of keeping busy, and once I made a full recovery, I couldn’t bear to give it up!
Since I work in finance, my blog is literally my one and only creative outlet. I get to speak in my natural voice to an audience I genuinely adore, and it’s so great being able to directly interact with the people who’ve help make you successful. Also, free clothing is never a bad thing!
Never indeed! Where did you learn the most about running a popular fashion blog – a course, book, blog, website?
One of my real life and blogger bffs, Ashley Brooke, got me going actually. She knew I was going crazy stirring in my bed with my illness, so she suggested I start writing, since that was how she coped with a move away from home to LA. She was and still is one of my best resources for blogging advice! Books and articles are great, but friends and mentors are a never-ending source of quality personalized information. If you’re relatively new to the blogging world, reach out to someone who’s a bit more seasoned (I’m always available) and ask questions! Fashion bloggers are surprisingly a very inviting bunch.
Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to your younger self?
Take the chance, while you have the choice! Time flies, and it doesn’t ever slow down. Make the most of every opportunity because, from experience, you never know if tomorrow will come. My blog has turned basically turned into an online diary (HA, imagine that), and reading my posts from 1+ years ago is such a surreal experience. You can visibly see and read how much you’ve grown. I think everybody should have a blog! Even if you’re a private person, create a private account. Just write your thoughts and feeling down at every possible opportunity!
Very true. The possibilities are endless. How can our readers stay connected with you?
They can of course find me at www.thediaryofadebutante.com and follow me via GFC, Blog Lovin, or my online newsletter for routine post updates. I’m also a social media addict, so you can easily find and follow me on Instagram (@stephanieziajka), Twitter (@stephanieziajka), Facebook (Diary of a Debutante), and Pinterest (@stephanieziajka).
That’s all we have with Stephanie for now. Stay tuned as I’ve gone on a recent hunt for similar bloggers and fashionistas and found them to be just as kewl.