From the time I was a little girl growing up in Glendora, California, I always had an opinion on everything. My family would ask me about how something looked whether it was what they were wearing or what colors to paint in the house. My opinion was asked because my parents always treated me like an adult even at a very young age. They wanted my sister and I to have opinions and learn how to voice them. My opinion became a joke and I was called the “fashion police” for many years. It then changed to everyone saying go ask Maddie. These questions and comments made me who I am today.
My earliest memory of a time when my opinion was asked was a conversation with my mom. I was two or three and only came up to my mother’s knees but still had something to say. We were in a shoe store trying on a pair of shoes. She looked down at me and asked what I thought of the shoes. My response in a toddler’s voice was “I like those shoes mom but not with those pants.” This memory really started my love for everything visually stimulating.
In 5th grade I decided that I wanted to decorate my room. My parents let me pick the color for the walls and the style of bedding that I wanted, but they had no idea how far I would take it. I chose to paint the walls a sky blue with green rolling hills and stenciled on flowers and white picket fence. I continued the design by painting the ceiling the same blue and mixing glow in the dark paint with white to create clouds. I remember them being so surprised of my creativity and how much work and thought I put into redecorating my room. After finishing the wall I rearranged the furniture in the room. I change the design for the room again in high school and all my friends wanted to see it. It was more mature then. Satin bedding, warm blue walls with a gold gloss to add depth, and even a canopy bed. The furniture was all antiques including my favorite wingback chair that I now use as a desk chair. These choices directed me to where I am today.
I was not always the girl that loved to go to school so when it was time to graduate and go to college I went to Citrus Community College. School was not easy for me and as a second grade I was tested and told I was and am Dyslexic. This made it very difficult in school and teachers did not always know how to help me. I did not find my way until I found a course reader for The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. I had no idea I could take classes in visual merchandising or color and design theory. I was so excited just from the courses, and it had never occurred to me that I might like to make this silly hobby of mine a career. High school counselors never asked what we liked to do outside of class when we were looking at colleges. They just looked at your grades and what classes you was doing well in to help you in a direction. If more art based classes were available in high school maybe I would have gone right after but it took a year to figure out what I like to do and where my life was taking me.
I enrolled at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising or FIDM in Los Angeles California the summer of 2009. The major I chose was called Visual Communications. We were considered “the Jack of all Trade” major. We learner about visual merchandising, store design, set design, styling, prop making, and drafting. I thrived in my first semester, and received grades higher than I ever did at any other school. At the end of my first semester one of my professors asked to keep all my projects I had worked to use as examples for the other class. I was so shocked and thrilled that my project made that much of an influence on her. I continued through the two-year program working hard and creating beautiful designs. I graduated with honors and was very ready to start working and continuing designing.
I was offered a visual merchandising position for Sears not long after graduating, and worked there for two years. During this time I started to go back to the hobby that I had in high school, decorating for friends and family. A local home furnishing boutique was looking for a “jack of all trade” intern, so I applied. I got the internship and learned so much in the first couple months I worked there. She quickly realized that I loved to merchandise the store would let me come in when I was not working at Sears and paint, move the store around, or help customers. This was the perfect job for me and I was not even looking for it.
Even with this great internship/job I knew I wanted more, So I decided to go back to school. I still for some reason did not know what I wanted to do, but I knew something in the arts. I started to look at the best art school in California and found out that Cal State Long Beach, San Francisco State, and San Diego State had the best programs around. Then I narrow the search down to majors. I was surprised when I found Bachelors of Art in Interior Design because I had no idea that was even an option. Looking further into the program I knew this was the major for me. I applied for all three schools but in the end San Diego State was my choice. Now I am have graduated with a bachelor degree in Interior Design and moved back to my hometown. I also now work for that same company that gave me the final push to go back to school.
If I could go back to the beginning of this twenty something year story I would not change anything. Every job and experience I have had brought me to this point. I hope anyone reading this would see that you do not always have to know what you want to do with your life, but every experience helps you to grow. I never realized that all my life chooses would bring me to this point but in the last seven years since I graduated high school I have taken big step towards my career goals. Recently I was visiting my parents’ house. Once again my dad specifically needed help picking out an outfit for a photo shoot. My mom and I were sitting in the kitchen when he came in. We both knew what he was going to ask us, but my mom stopped him and said “Ask Maddie.” All three of us went silent and looked at each other because we had the same idea. I have now started this blog with that title because Ask Maddie that embodies everything I do. I never realized that that was really what was happening around my. I can give DIY, decorating, design, fashion, or just regular advice, so now all you have to do is Ask Maddie at Madeline Designs.