10 Things You Don’t Know About…Rachel Roy

by Sydney Sadick

For designer Rachel Roy, success isn’t something she takes for granted. Landing her first job at 14 years old, Roy has an inspiring work ethic and shows how her upbringing impacted her life in a range of ways. She writes in on fascinating personal facts…

  1. Vogue was the Cabbage Patch of my childhood: I collected Vogue magazines as a child. I still have and use all of them (for research) to this day. My brother and I were raised with very little, so no Cabbage Patch, Hello Kitty, or other adorable collectibles most children were hoarding at the time. I had enough to buy a magazine every month and it was always Vogue. I have a healthy love for the original supermodels—Yasmeen Ghauri! Love the early ’90s editions.
  2. Oprah made me nervous: I was so nervous the first time I went on The Oprah Winfrey Show (she called me the next Big Name in Fashion—no pressure, right?) that I forgot to put my earrings on before leaving the green room to tape. When I called my friends to see how I did, the first thing they said was, “You looked naked, where were your earrings?” No, “Great job Rach!” They had their priorities all over the place with me.
  3. A memory that had the biggest impact on my life: When I was 3 I was crossing the street in India with my father and saw a young girl with burned hands begging for money. I remember being upset that my father only gave her a few coins and we kept walking. In many ways part of my soul has stayed with that young girl and I will never fully have peace until neglected children are protected.
  4. How I feed my soul: There is a little girl in India who I and my daughter met whom we are putting through school this year with an organization I have worked with for years, Children’s Hope India. Receiving her pictures and seeing how much healthier she has become since we met her is a highlight in our lives.
  5. My greatest fear is one of my deepest loves: I grew up by the ocean in the Monterey Bay, California. The Bay is as deep as the Grand Canyon and an ideal home for Great Whites. Because of this I have a huge fear of open water to this day. But my happy place is the sea…go figure.
  6. I’ve worked since I was 14: My dad dropped me off at McDonald’s and told me to not come home until I had a job and could start contributing to the household expenses. I took a bus from McDonald’s to the mall and begged the manager at Contempo Casuals to hire me. I ended up working there through high school. They made me an assistant manager at 16 and transferred me to their Washington, DC location when I went to college. This is where I learned how women feel when they try clothes on. I wasn’t the best sales girl but I was manager before I was 18 because I learned quickly on the job and cared deeply about how fashion can transform a mood, and someone’s day, week, and yes, life.
  7. I had a strict upbringing: I was raised Seventh-day Adventist, which like the Jewish religion means sundown Friday to sundown Saturday is holy. Also no pork and no caffeine. Lots of no’s—they were ahead of their time, health-wise!
  8. My parents’ greatest gift to me was travel: One of the most valuable things my parents did for me as a child was to take me to third-world countries like Africa and India. The experiences were beyond my biggest life lessons. Today, I have my daughters work for World of Children so they can see that children in different parts of the world are not so lucky and it’s our responsibility to help.
  9. My first and biggest crush: Fashion dreaming is what got me through my childhood—that and George Michael. At 12 I went on a trip with my father’s college students to England and Scotland just to look for George…seriously. Needless to say, I did not find him but I got to hang out in a bunch of beautiful cities, which opened my eyes to the possibilities of a world outside of my small hippie chic town.
  10. My obsession is learning: My goal is to learn something new each day. Curiosity is what motivates me, and kindness, confidence, and intelligence is what I find attractive in male and female friends. When I get a massage, I listen to Wayne Dyer instead of tranquil music because I am at full mental attention to absorb, listen, and learn. It has changed my life!

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