I'm ten years old and I turned on MTV to listen to music when music television still existed. A Blind Mellon video probably just ended and a rhythmic sound came out of my speakers. I watched as a band loaded their gear into a car. I was mesmerized by what I saw and heard. A spell was cast and it's never been broken. I continued watching as a pretty and unruly girl sang a song that was marinated in sweet n sour sauce. "Cause I'm just a girl, oh, little old me. Well, don't let me out of your sight," came out of her mouth. As a girl that played basketball after school with the neighborhood boys, rode my motorcycle on trails through the woods, then attended dance class trying to become a prima ballerina, this unique girl on the screen showed me that I could be a tomboy and still be feminine. I was hooked. It's funny how one moment can have a huge impact on your life.
That band loaded me into the car as well and I've been along for the ride with No Doubt ever since. I listened to them, read about them, and waited patiently for the day I could see them live, which would be five years later. Through those five years, I was influenced by these four people. They taught me the world is a large diverse place through songs like Different People. This song about acceptance still resonates today. Listen to it, and learn from it...
He and she, two different people
With two separate lives
Then you put the two together
And you get a spectacular surprise
'Cause one can teach the other one
What she doesn't know
While still the other fills a place inside
He never knew had room to grow
Without realizing, this band taught me it was ok to be myself. Each of them had a unique style and didn't follow popular trends. By the time I was in high school, I had an eclectic style. On Monday I might be wearing a preppy sweater. Thursday I might be wearing fishnets and a plaid pleated skirt with safety pins. Friday I had team spirit and would show it by wearing my cheerleading uniform. I'm sure some of my classmates had opinions, but I was extremely fortunate in my small town that most of the students seemed to accept me for who I was.
my sister painted this for my birthday
In 2000, No Doubt made the trip to Pittsburgh. The concert was general admission and you better believe that I was going to be in the front row. My mom drove myself and three friends to the city that morning to stand in line until the doors opened. Thanks Mom! While in line, the girl in front of us mentioned her mom was Gwen Stefani's stylist that evening. She explained that her mom went shopping around the city buying a rack of clothes for Gwen to try on and they would decide what outfit she would wear on stage. At this point in my life, I was convinced I was going to college to become a dentist like my father. When I was introduced to the news that I could get paid to shop, my future career path shifted.
I went through a few more years of high school and as friends filled their bedroom walls with photos of Nsync, I cut every clipping of No Doubt from magazines to create wallpaper in my room.
As for my college life, I wanted to become a stylist so I went to school for fashion merchandising. After two years, I realized it wasn't the creative outlet I needed. I dropped out and applied to a school for fashion design. I got accepted and while I waited for the semester to start, I took a job on a concert tour (I'll share more about touring life later). A month after the tour ended, I packed up and headed to Los Angeles. I assumed this would be temporary but six months before I graduated college, I met my husband and I never left.
After being taught life lessons from No Doubt, being inspired to shift the career path I would pursue, relocating, and meeting my husband, I thought it was only suiting to show my gratitude to the band by creating a Tragic Kingdom Candle. On October 10th Tragic Kingdom will celebrate its 25th anniversary. Thank you Gwen, Tony, Tom, and Adrian for inspiring, influencing, teaching, and entertaining me all these years. I will be forever grateful.
2014 The Forum, Los Angeles
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