I've never shared my story. Not the whole story anyway, and unless I write a book I probably never will. But I have been inspired to post a bit of my journey to this point in my life, because I think it's important. A lot of my endeavors these days aren't about social climbing or fame. It's about being genuine. Something that I believe is heavily lacking these days. It lacks because of fear. People allow this thing called the Internet to dictate to them who they are, who they should be like, what they can't think and the voices they can't have because if you want to be "a star" you have to follow said list of guidelines and make the people who consume adore you. Be the "girl next door."
I'm not the girl next door. I never have been. I will never pretend that I went through an awkward phase. I was not bullied. But I have lived through some things that many people have not.
I come from the hardest working two people I've ever encountered. My parents were and still are two of the hardest workers in history. They worked hard so that my brother and I could walk on the moon someday if we wanted to. I saw that from an early age and decided when they finished I would take the baton and run like hell too.
So they created opportunities. They told me I could try anything I wanted but I would need to stick with something. So at age 4, little Brandi put on her first pair of ice skates and fell in love. I am always shocked at the number of people that do not know that I was a figure skater. From the age of 4, my love affair for figure skating began, and continued for 17 years. I was a very talented skater. My ability took me very far. So far that it cost my parents everything. Becoming a member of the elite Detroit Skating Club, same club where Olympic Gold Medalists like Tara Lipinski, Charlie White and Meryl Davis trained, and being trained by the late Christopher Bowman (arguably the most talented male skater in history)...none of that was cheap. We are talking tens of thousands of dollars...annually. And yes, to answer the ever burning questions, I absolutely could do a triple toe-loop and a flying camel.
Skating was not my parents only financial commitment to me though, I was privately schooled for the first 7 years of academia. Again, my parents did it for me. They always offered their kids champagne on a beer budget. I think that's just what parents do. Go without so their kids can go on. I am eternally grateful for them. Now remember, I was never an awkward child but...it is awkward to be the only brown face ALL of the time. Predominantly white school and chief sport. I laugh when people make fun of how I speak because of it. I didn't have a say in how I grew up.
There were plenty of moments of struggle. Try being dark skinned and having an 95 year old figure skating judge from Augusta, Georgia place you last as soon as he saw you and close his book. Not even watch you perform. That was the 80s folks. That's a part of my history. It took me most of my skating career to get noticed simply because of my skin color. I literally outlasted the troublemakers and started earning medals I'd always deserved.
I've always been a hard worker. I can remember getting one B in school from preschool up until high school. I shed tears over that B. Because I thought it ruined my family's plan. Turns out it did not. I am the only one of my friends that was rewarded with a full academic scholarship to the University of Michigan- Ann Arbor. The most prestigious and toughest school to get into in our neck of the woods, let alone get a full scholarship?! Well people knew my family wasn't wealthy so...they assumed I sent a picture in with my application and my beauty got me the scholarship. Haha.
I blew through school in 4 years. Graduated with honors. I took out the loans to eat and live. I worked two part time jobs so my family didn't have to worry about me anymore. Again, the baton...once they passed it off I had to keep running. I've fallen down with the baton a few times. Skinned up my knees and banged my elbows but I've picked it up and kept running. Still running.
Running now with a teammate though. The pace has slowed a bit. Post Undergrad, I moved to Miami. Began a modeling career. I taught figure skating on the side. I loved it there but I was missing something. I wasn't using my mind a lot and I wanted to keep growing. So I took a shot at one of the best masters programs around. I was accepted, and offered a partial scholarship. So I attended the University of Miami's Masters in Broastcast Journalism program. It was so great. Hard work, but I was honing my craft and really getting it. Fitting in well. Professors enjoyed me and my work. I was making friends and scoring top scores on hard exams again. Then my phone rang.
My agent said WWE wants you to be a Diva. How confusing. I'm just getting somewhere with my lifelong work and then I'm slapped with this amazing opportunity. As a youth, I loved watching wrestling and the natural athlete in me couldn't resist. When I tried out, I met and worked with Dusty Rhodes and Norman Smiley. I was sold. I left Miami for Tampa and a new chapter began.
Shortly thereafter I began working with Cody Rhodes. Nothing is ever by chance. I think Dusty saw that happening before I ever even met Cody. Dusty told him about me before we met in fact, bragged about me! And now I have my perfect mate. He motivates me and allows me to be myself, which is so important because I am as quirky as any artist ever, but I'm comfortable in my skin. I am this hybrid of my parents who just can't stop running full speed for the invisible finish line. So he's just running right next to me.
I don't know where this journey ends but I do know that I have the best tools necessary for future offspring...the baton, and a loving husband who is willing to work harder than everyone else...and not for social standards or public accolades. For himself.
I'm a proud woman. I've programmed myself for success, but I've never forgotten where I come from. Recently someone commented a photo of mine on here calling me "New Money" for featuring expensive bags in my fashion related posts. Surprise. I absolutely AM new money. I started with zero, I've worked my fingers to the bone and yes, now I have things I've never had before. New money indeed. Proud of it. And hey, I challenge you to find a real Fashion Blogger who doesn't possess and feature staple pieces in some of their posts. It'd be tough to do.
Thats all of my sharing for now. I hope that offering a piece of history to those who aren't familiar with mine has offered a bit of perspective for today. That's where I started...now I'm here. Thanks for being a part of the journey. Still running.