Angela Bailey is a woman of heart and soul. She has a love for helping others and wants to pave the way for a brighter future, not only for herself, but also for at-risk teenagers.
Bailey grew up with her mother and is the third of four children in a tough area in Lakeland. Her family moved around and lived in different houses her whole life. It was hectic for Bailey, but she knew she wanted to do something better with her life.
“We moved around a lot,” Bailey said. “We didn’t know that we were missing things. It was the norm in my neighborhood for people to have different jobs, and not jobs that they loved. All I knew was that at an early age, I didn’t want that.”
Bailey wanted to do something better with her life, to move away from the Lakeland community.
“I do love my community,” Bailey said. “The community has made me tough. I’m a strong person and there’s not a lot that can bother me. I’m grateful for every hardship that I’ve had. I’m hoping to give some inspiration to the youth around me.”
She was the first in her family to graduate high school and to go on to college. Bailey graduated from Lake Gibson High School and went to Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. She earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in political science.
Bailey turned to fashion once at FAMU, and became involved in Modeling Troops, a modeling group on campus, after being asked numerous times to model because of her tall, slim stature. She was trained, served as president of the group, and then contacted an agent at Elite Modeling. Bailey moved to New York after signing a contract with the company, and modeled runway for five years.
“The fashion world changed me,” Bailey said. “Once you start wearing high heels, you become addicted to it.”
Bailey became closest with her sister, LaWanda. Bailey says she and her sister are complete opposites as far as personalities and fashion go. Angela is a tomboy while LaWanda is a girly girl.
“I was exposed to different cultures,” Bailey said. “People showed me different things, and I started embracing it.”
Bailey decided to come back home to Lakeland in 1998. The two sisters co-founded the organization Urban Reflections, which caters to at-risk teenage girls. The organization focuses on counseling young girls, helping them succeed with academics and promoting a positive self-image. The girls meet every Tuesday for an hour and half at the Simpson Park Community Center.
Bailey says she wants to help the teens by teaching and nurturing them.
“It’s a full-time job, and it’s a labor of love,” Bailey said. “We’re always trying to compare ourselves. I tell them you can’t get caught up in the hype. It’s about being healthy. ”
Bailey produces about 8-12 runway shows a year in the southeast for Walk This Way Productions, which was formed in 1998. Bailey’s dream is to become national. Her unique fashion show showcases models of all shapes, sizes and colors who not only walk down the runway, but also dance, keeping the audience interested.
Proceeds from the fashion show will benefit the Lupus Foundation of America, as well as the Urban Reflections organization.
The Ultimate Fashion Experience will take place this weekend on Jan. 20 at 7 p.m. at the Lake Mirror Center. Student tickets cost $25, general admission tickets cost $35 and VIP table seating cost $45.
Bailey is very excited about the fashion show to showcase what she is passionate about. She wants to convey a positive message, and to inspire.
“I want the world to see my brand,” Bailey said. “We try to do things a little differently. I really want people here to see what I’ve been doing.”