From the minute Mayhem found out that she’d get to meet Zac Posen, she began planning. And what was supposed to be a simple meet and greet turned into Mayhem’s first “real” interview. In which she was the interviewER, that is.
She spent several days crafting her perfect questions and then a solid week of rehearsing them every night before bed. And the questions were numbered. She decided that they HAD to be in a specific order.
A couple of times during our rehearsals, I mentioned that she might not be able to ask all of her questions. On account of, you know, he’s got a lot of people to meet and chat with. And each time I dared mention such a possibility, she glared at me … half furious, half heart-broken.
On the morning of the big day, Mayhem was up bright and early. Like, 5am early. This was not good. She couldn’t sleep because she was so excited, and I knew that by 2-ish pm (approximately when she’d get to meet him), she’d be melting down from exhaustion. We soldiered on.
We attended the Delta Runway Reveal event, which was where Zac’s designs for Delta were finally revealed to the public. He’d been working for nearly eighteen months in collaboration with the airline to design new uniforms for nearly 60,000 of their employees. And judging by the room, made up of nearly all Delta employees, the unveiling was a rousing success. Having employees from around the world walk the runway as models for the more than 40 new looks, was a stroke of genius as well.
By about 2:30pm, I was starting to get a little nervous. Mayhem was clearly feeling the effects of her early morning wake-up, and it didn’t help that she was snacking on a steady stream of Twizzlers from her sparkly blue bag. Fortunately, right about the time I was starting to wonder if Mayhem was going to crash, Zac reappeared and was ready for the meet and greet. And Mayhem was up first.
They exchanged pleasantries and then Mayhem mentioned she had a few questions prepared. So Zac suggested they have a seat on the runway for a little chitchat.
As Mayhem pulled her questions (which she had carefully written and numbered on notecards) from her sparkly bag, I watched as panic spread across her face. She quickly began shuffling the cards, and blurted out, “Oh no! They’re not in order.”
And this is the part of the story where our admiration turned to adoration. I knew Zac’s time was valuable and I knew he had several other people to meet, but he sensed Mayhem’s panic and simply told her to take her time rearranging her cards.
Cards in order, the interview began. *For the record, I did try to do some video to capture the interview, but it was immediately apparent, that wasn’t happening. See those people in the background? There were about 300 more and it was LOUD in that room. Truth be told, I couldn’t even hear Mayhem speaking most of her questions, so I relied on her to relay the answers. And while I thought it would be super fun to make a video of her reading her questions and then explaining what Zac told her, she wasn’t up for it.
Mayhem: Where is your favorite place to fly to?
Zac (according to Mayhem): He loves traveling but he also always loves flying home, so New York for sure.
Mayhem: Which is your favorite airport?
Zac (according to Mayhem): Paris
Mayhem: What is your favorite snack on an airplane?
Zac (according to Mayhem): Plain cookies. He also said he LOVES to cook and bake!
Mayhem: What is your favorite piece of clothing?
Zac (according to Mayhem): Right now it’s his Brooks Brothers suit.
Mayhem: What fabric did you use for this (Delta) collection?
Zac (according to Mayhem): Lots of different fabrics, but there is some cotton and silk.
Mayhem: What is your favorite fabric to work with?
Zac (according to Mayhem): Silk.
Mayhem: When you were seven (years old) what did you want to be?
Zac (according to Mayhem): A baker.
Mayhem: How long have you been designing?
Zac (according to Mayhem): Seventeen years professionally. But he was putting together his own clothes and stuff for his sister even before that.
Now, here’s what I want you to know about the above interview – this is Mayhem’s VERY abbreviated version of the encounter. I can’t even begin to tell you how gracious Zac was with his time and how detailed and thoughtful his answers truly were. We’ve had the pleasure of meeting several celebrities over the past few years, and thankfully, they’ve all been positive experiences (it’s true: they’re actually all regular people!). But this experience was different. Different partly because I’d never seen Mayhem so excited to meet someone. And different because no one has spent that kind of time with her having a genuinely thoughtful conversation.
After the interview, they were asked to pose for a few photographs together.
After the photographers snapped a few images, I was ready to grab Mayhem’s hand and help her down from the runway. But instead, Zac stayed knelt down and continued having a conversation with her.
Later that day, Mayhem shared with us that Zac simply offered up some more words of encouragement to her. He told her to keep designing. Whenever she feels like it. And for as long as she likes. She also said that he said we should visit his studio in New York the next time we’re in town.
I sure hope that’s true, because otherwise, we’re going to look completely foolish when we show up 😉
Thank you Mr. Posen. For being not just a design inspiration, but for being an inspiration on how to be a genuinely gracious and giving person. Fans for life!
XOXO, Mayhem (and family)
Massive thanks to Delta for the invite – you made a dream come true for one little girl and helped to inspire her to continue pursuing her creative dreams!!!