I never saw this coming! When I decided to relocate to Washington, DC, it did not make any sense on paper. I had no job opportunity and no money to afford the move. Nevertheless, my daughters Lauren and Allyson were relentless. They were certain that my season in Cleveland was over and that I needed to move to DC. Through several visits, family conference calls, and group texts since March, they made the case that it was time for a fresh start. They knew that I always wanted to go back to school and thought this might be the perfect opportunity. I always wanted to relocate once my children were where they needed to be, but DC was not on my list.
It appeared that every door was closed while I was in Cleveland, and while moving to DC didn’t look much easier, I began to step out on faith. Between March and August, I made seven visits to DC but I also became increasingly anxious. What will I do about a job? How will I survive? I was closer to finalizing the adoption of Johnathan and needed to be able to support our move. I thought about doing hair at a salon, but that season was over and it was time to retire.
This was a faith walk like none other. Allyson assured me that she and Lauren made enough money to handle everything and that they wanted me to come, rest and prepare for school. I thought these girls were nuts! I wanted to carry my own weight and rely on no one but God. They told me to just get here and watch God. To trust Him like I had been preaching to them forever. With tears in my eyes, I agreed to not work for one to two months while getting ready to start school. I had it all planned out.
After just two weeks in DC, I received a call from a childhood friend who was looking for a hairstylist and wardrobe stylist for a photo campaign she was doing in partnership with ESSENCE Magazine back in Ohio. She didn’t provide much more information, explaining that I’d need to sign a non-disclosure agreement. She mentioned that the client was very tall, he was an athlete, and the photoshoot would be with a family member of the client in Akron, Ohio. She explained that I would be a part of history. Needing no more information, I booked a flight back to Cleveland and began pulling clothes for this shoot.
The night before the shoot, I learned that the client was Ms. Gloria James, the mother of LeBron James. I was so honored and excited. The shoot went off without one mistake so much to the point that my team was asked to stay and style another one of their shoots for that day. Nobody but God! The campaign for Lebron’s 16th shoe, “The Strongest” is now in ESSENCE, where I am credited as the stylist.
As I headed to the airport to return to DC, my head was spinning and my mind was running at 100 miles a minute. “God what are you doing? What was this for?” When I arrived at my gate, I received a phone call from the James’ family assistant saying how pleased Ms. James was with my work and they wanted to know if I would be interested in being her personal stylist! Without hesitation, I said YES. She went on to say that my services would be needed in New York days later to style Ms. James for the Nike and Harlem Row Fashion Show where LeBron James would receive an award.
Ms. Gloria James
Mother of NBA Legend LeBron James
Featured in Essence magazine's "The Strongest" campaign in honor of LeBron James' 16th Nike shoe release.
Alaina is currently Ms. James' personal stylist.