Can you believe it?! I cannot. It is still very surreal. I have all of you to thank because you all took the time to vote. Thank you so much for that!! You afforded me a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I am so grateful!!
You can read a little about how the process began here, but what I haven’t told you is what the selection process was like. I was sitting in the gate area waiting to board a plane after giving a talk at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Now let’s back up a bit. This talk at NIH was the first talk I’ve given at NIH…EVER, so not only was I relieved it was over, but it went well, so I was also on a major nerd high! Then, I am sitting at the airport waiting to board my flight back home and get an email saying that I was selected to be among the 6 women featured on the September issue of Redbook Magazine. I mean, talk about an amazing day!!! It was out of control, crazy amazing!!
The photoshoot was to happen in New York – of course – and needed to also happen ASAP. It so happened that the shoot was originally scheduled for a Sunday and Monday, BUT, I was scheduled to be in New Orleans the Monday of the photoshoot to present my research at a national conference, so I pleaded that the dates change. Thankfully, a second winner also had a conflict, so the shoot was pushed back a day and I would fly out Monday morning to make my presentation at noon that Monday.
So, off I flew to New York on Saturday afternoon. I had a long layover at the airport, so I managed to get a much needed pedi. Mani’s would be provided on site, but my feet needed some major work, so I started off the weekend with some much needed pampering. I arrived in NYC to an amazing hotel, super cute room, and off I went to Hearst Tower for fittings.
That’s where I met many of the women that comprise the fashion team. They were super sweet and had outfits picked out for me based on feedback I sent them, as well as outfits I post on Instagram! Many of the pieces were RIGHT ON POINT. WOW. At least three of the outfits I tried on during the fittings made it to the photoshoot the next day.
As I had not met the other winners, I picked up Chipotle and went back to my room to work, because…SCIENCE!
The next morning, bright and early, I walked into the lobby of the hotel room to meet the women. All 5 women were sooooo very nice!! We were escorted by private car to the photoshoot location, where we were greated by two all-white rooms with sets, props, cameras, and a full-on beauty section. They were the sets you see on TV! We had makeup people, nail people, hair people, people helping us dress and undress, seamstresses making last minute adjustments – I mean, PEOPLE WHERE EVERYWHERE. Omg, and we also had craft service! The food was delish.
We arrived on set around 730am and left the set after 5pm sometime. It literally took all day. It was SOOOOO much fun and though I know it will likely never happen again, I’m hopeful it will because it felt so nice to be pampered. I went back to my room, had a quick birthday dinner for Megan (one of the other winners) at the restaurant around the corner, and one quick walk to Times Square later, I was back in my room to pack and get ready for my 3am pickup to head to JFK on a direct flight to New Orleans for my scientific presentation. Talk about my worlds colliding (and a run-on sentence, lol!)!
My Redbook photoshoot experience ended the night before my presentation, but because we needed to maintain everything confidential until the cover was released, I was unable to post any pics until now. So, here are a few behind-the-scenes pics from the weekend:
Someone recently asked me: “On a scale from manuscript acceptance to tenure and promotion, how does this cover fare?” Well, it’s quite the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so I really have to say that it equates to getting tenure and promotion in a way. Of course, a LOT more work goes into getting T&P, but both are likely once-in-a-lifetime occurrences. I also have to say, what I’ve loved the most about getting to be on this cover is the response I’ve gotten from people I love. My husband, above and beyond and undeniably my biggest fan, has been so excited to see the cover on newsstands. My friends have shared the cover on social media, which has warmed my heart more than I can describe in words.
Last year many of this Girls dreams came true when I was on the cover of @redbookmag!!! So excited to congratulate the winners of this year! Especially the 2 Alabamaians in the group! Congratulations to my good friend @chic_in_academia!!! And to @youngatstyle!!! When you mention Alabama you should only discuss fashion, football and winning! #RWRS #RWSAAlum #RWSAFamliy
Amazingly, a couple young girls who have learned about the cover have told their mothers that they want to become scientists like Ms. Bertha because she is a scientist and a cover model, and that is just “cool”. I mean, seriously: how much better does it get than that?! I don’t think it does. My oldest son randomly tells people that his mommy is on the cover of a magazine. I love that he’s proud of me for that. After all, I hope that all I do inspires him and others to believe that they can achieve all that they put their minds to AND that one should not be limited to a single identity. As a multi-hyphenate, my roles don’t all experience success all at once, but it gives me great satisfaction when I experience success in any one at any given time. Inspiring others to do the same, or simply believe that they can, gives me great satisfaction.
At the onset of 2016, I resolved to get Chic in Academia in a national magazine. I endeavored for a small mention, didn’t even forsee a photo of myself associated with the mention. Never did I imagine landing the cover, nor having a small spread in a national magazine. This is just beyond surreal.
There are a couple interviews with Redbook that are in the works for their online content. I’ll be sure to share them when I get the chance. I share a bit more about the insecurities i grew up with as a darker-skinned, overweight, in-need of braces, Mexican girl growing up in a world which idolized everything but women who looked like me. Now, hopefully, girls who look like I did when growing up can indeed see themselves and not someone who looks completely unlike them, as beautiful.
In closing, I thank you all for taking the time to vote and support me through this process. Most of all, thank you for continuing to enable my sartorial endeavors and my academic ones as well, equally. THANK YOU!!
Until next time! Stay ‘Chic’!