Even she doesn’t know and she’s 55 years young. I only know who I am today and that how I got here is through triumphs, tribulations, and losses, which have shaped my life along the way. Growing up I truly had no aspirations to actually “become anything.” Graduating from high school with average grades, I started working as a legal secretary and stayed in that career for about 20 years. I had my only
child at the age of 25, Casandra Elizabeth, who is now a mother to my grandson. I started getting serious about my health and became a vegetarian and have been for the past 29 years. I also started exercising, which led me to take up racing and became a serious athlete competing in 5k’s, 10k’s, half and full marathons, which in turn led me to duathlons and triathlons. I qualified and participated in the Boston Marathon three years in a row and was a member of Team USA and participated in Rimini, Italy in the Short Course Duathlon World Championship. I competed seriously for about 20 years, usually placing in my age group and even on a few occasions, the first female to cross the finish line; this lifestyle has definitely shaped me into the person I am today in more ways than imaginable.
It was a very dedicated and structured lifestyle, which I miss very much. I don’t race anymore, but I still train every day and participate in marathons as a speed walker and long-distance biking. After the tragic loss of my father to cancer, I stopped racing; he was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and gone a few months later; he was only 61. My life would never be the same. It was about three years later and life was a little more bearable then my mother was diagnosed with lung
cancer; she lived about a year after her diagnosis; she was only 60. After my dad’s passing, I stopped running, but after my mom’s passing, I stopped living. The grief became so unbearable that I tried to end my life on more than one occasion. My mom passed away in 2004 and here we are 17 years later and somehow I became a business owner of a high-end formal wear shop. It really all just fell in my lap about 10+ years ago in a small shop located in downtown Bedford, and now I am located at the Southpark Mall in Strongsville and it has not been an easy road to get here. On many occasions, I just wanted to give up and close the business, even to the point of giving up my apartment and living in a dressing room in my shop for about a year to save the shop from closing. I rebranded and that’s how Darlafoxx was born.
I also dabble in fashion design for my personal satisfaction, which allows me to tap into my creativity; I create pieces that show off my whimsical and artistic side and enjoy modeling my designs, which helps me bolster my self-confidence. I love what I do helping others feel good about themselves and helping them choose a gown for their special day, being a part of that special memory and those forever photographs. I am honored and thrilled to be in a position to provide opportunities to foster confidence in young girls through the yearly modeling events I sponsor. I embrace my uniqueness and hope to use my experiences to help empower our youth to love themselves.