When I was 15, I wanted to be a supermodel. At 5-foot-11, I only had two options: I could join the volleyball or basketball teams at Spanish River High School or try to be a model. My inspiration was supermodel Niki Taylor, who grew up in Pembroke Pines. She gave me hope that my modeling dreams could come true. While Taylor (pictured above) went on to snag CoverGirl contracts and grace the covers of more than 300 magazines, I did a handful of cheesy runway shows, some printwork and one infomercial. But I could never be skinny enough to keep modeling. When I got in a rollover car accident two years ago that left me with a broken and permanently disfigured arm, thinking about Taylor, who was severely scarred in a car accident in 2001, kept me going. In the hospital, I wouldGoogle stories about her recovery on my Blackberry. It brought me peace and hope.
I first met Taylor in 2006 at Mansion, where she appeared with Nicky Hilton for CosmoGIRL’s So You Want To Be a Model contest. At the time, I was in an unhealthy relationship, had packed on 50 pounds and was deeply embarrassed to meet my modeling hero. After I told Taylor how I had always looked up to her, she gave me a hug and made me feel as if I fit in. I again saw Taylor in 2007 and 2008 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and I was so flattered that she remembered me each time I interviewed her.
Taylor has since given birth to a daughter, 2-year-old Ciel, and ispregnant with her fourth child. On June 16, I caught up with the supermom at the Opustone Natural Stone Distributors in Miami’s Design District. Taylor is the new spokeswoman for the natural granite brand. When I began my interview, Taylor paid me the biggest compliment of my life: “It’s nice to see you again,” she said. “You look so beautiful. You really look great.” OK, so it made my day, my week, my month … my freakin’ life. I had lost 80 pounds since she last saw me.
Taylor, who was glowing in an Yves Saint Laurent jacket, Vince jeans and Tory Burch platform heels, then sat on a couch with me to talk about her personal style, what it’s like being a mom, and a skill women everywhere should know — how to avoid a double chin in a photo. An excerpt of our interview follows.
How would you define your style?
I really love to mix and match my clothes. People often ask me who my favorite designer is, and I really like every designer. My style is eclectic and mix-and-match, and I wear whatever feels good. I’m not one to stick with just one. And I live in Nashville now, so I wear a lot of jeans and T-shirts and flip-flops.
What’s the one beauty product you can’t live without?
Dazzle Glass by MAC. It’s sticky and stays on.
What advice do you have for other moms?
Have fun, laugh a lot. I’ve always had patience. That’s something that was given to me a long time ago. I have an incredible husband. We’re total opposites, believe it or not, but it’s good because we balance each other out and it keeps me in line, which I need. I’m the spontaneous one. I’m like, ‘Whatever, let’s eat at McDonald’s.’ And he’s like, ‘No, we’re gonna eat here.’ He’s so grounded.
What are you favorite stores?
In Miami, I still love Bal Harbour even though I’m on a budget now. I shop online at Urban Outfitters and I also really like H&M, because you can’t beat the styles and the prices. Instead of spending a lot on clothes now, I’d rather spend money on a massage and a facial.
Where do you get your handbags?
My bags are always under $100 at Endless.com. I also like Shopbop.com for designer stuff. There’s a tab you can click on that shows you stuff under $100.
Since you’ve posed for thousands of photos, what advice can you share with ordinary women who want to take a flattering photo?
I always say make sure you don’t take a picture in midlaugh. I do it all the time and it creates a double chin. Put your chin down and then smile. That should work every time.
Taylor will host a shopping event 6-8 p.m. Thursday, July 21 to benefit the Boys and Girls Clubs of Broward. The event will include wine and food from East City Grill, a silent auction and, of course, retail therapy since it will take place at the Colonnade Outlets at Sawgrass Mills. Admission is $50 in advance or $65 at the door. Call 954-846-2350.
Tying one on with Lil Jon is about to take on a whole new meaning. During DJ Irie’s Irie Weekend pool party at Arkadia, the rapper told me he has put down his pimp cup and is now collecting bow ties.
“I still have many cups, but I’m not really holding the cups anymore, because I used to get way too drunk,” he says. “It never gets empty. There’s no bottom. Every time it gets halfway, it fills back up. You don’t realize how much you’re drinking, and it’s way too much.”
Dressed in a Lacoste shirt, Levi’s shorts and vintage Le Coq SportifArthur Ashe sneakers, Lil Jon revealed the details behind his new look that’s more Gap than rap. “I don’t really shop too much. I just buy Levi’s and I’m really a bow-tie guy now. I’m trying to make my bow-tie collection amazing,” he says. “And I love Lacoste. That’s my favorite brand of shirts.”
Although he was voted off last season’s The Celebrity Apprentice, along with Niki Taylor, Lil Jon did take away some fashion inspiration fromDonald Trump’s show. “I have my clothing line coming out later this year — 2 Vicious,” he says. “I’m figuring out the distribution end of it now, but I came up with the idea to do it on The Apprentice. We had a task of doing paintings. So I did this painting and vicious popped into my head. Everyone commented on how nice they thought it looked, and I said, ‘Hey, that could be the name of my clothing line. But vicious was taken of course so I put a ‘2’ in front of it.”
On the show, Lil Jon also designed a hat featuring a painted X with a line underneath it.“I thought, ‘Wow, this really stands out.’ So I made that my logo,’ " he says. “I patented all of that stuff, and that’s my new thing.” I’ll raise my pimp cup to that.
Contact Joanie Cox at email@example.com.