Zhuzhed by Ali operates according to the belief that there is beauty to be found in everything. A long time ago, Ali learned that her closet, and yours, holds endless possibilities for any and every occasion as well as the power to change your life.
Zhuzhed by Ali is about giving you the tools to discover this truth in your closet while developing your own personal style. Ali can’t wait to share her outlook on fashion with you and help you to feel more confident every day.
Her goal is that this might inspire you to finally get that job you want, feel more comfortable on stage or just add an extra spring in your step!
Aleida (aka Ali) Hector was born in Aruba. She was just a little girl in pigtails when she moved to Venezuela with her family after some years in Texas. Later, during her “Awkward Fashion Phase,” Ali moved from Aruba to Ontario, Canada, where she studied Recreation and Leisure, and Special Events Management at Niagara College. More recently, before her last move back to the Caribbean, Ali found her inner “Carrie Bradshaw” in Brooklyn, NY, (yes – even though Carrie only went to Brooklyn, like, twice) where she lived and loved for 8 years.
Because her father traveled widely for work, Ali grew up in a distinctly feminine environment. As the oldest of three sisters, she has much more experience as a personal stylist than she realizes. Still, she often attributes her constitutional insistence for beauty to her mother, who left her job as a Nurse to become a Cosmetologist, just around the time when Ali had officially outgrown her pair of Mary Jane kids sandals. Ali’s mother, with whom she shares a name, went on to own a beauty salon that she ran out of their Congoweg home. As somewhat of a “personal stylist” herself, Ali’s mother has always been very stylish; she wore pearls while cleaning their home and was often spotted at the bank dressed to the nines. Naturally, she also ensured her daughters looked their best, dressing them in matching Easter, Christmas and New Year’s Eve outfits; and she established a number of mere notions about fashion (such as It’s Better to be Overdressed than Underdressed) as philosophical, capital-T Truth.
Nevertheless, when Ali first moved to Brooklyn, just before the end of her aforementioned “Awkward Fashion Phase,” she was overwhelmed by the vast array of sartorial options during the warmer months and found herself on the less stylish end of the “practical versus fashionable” spectrum in the winter. New to the city’s, only sometimes romantic, but very often harsh realities, and the many hardships surrounding the pursuit of happiness in what is arguably the world’s most ruthless metropolitan area, Ali was in a slump; there were many unflattering sweaters and many many tears. Things didn’t improve until Ali’s then-husband bought her The Art of War for Women by Chin-Ning Chu, which taught her to cope with constant work-related stress and other challenges she was facing.
As someone who made a point of dressing up for every final exam in high school, in spite of all-nighters and/or degree of self-confidence, The Art of War for Women‘s chapter on dressing for the job (i.e. life) you want really struck a chord with Ali. This was around the time when Michelle Obama had been newly “first-lady’d” and was having the time of her life (I imagine) obliterating our beliefs about what ostensibly wealthy people are supposed to wear. Ali realized that she too owned a dress just like that from H&M! And that J. Crew cardigan? She bought one just like that last week! She started to reflect on her situation; she reevaluated the choices she had made and saw that she alone had the last say on how she showed up in life.
And so Ali’s eyes were reopened to the beauty that was all around her: from the graffiti, the subway, the magazine stands, the Chrysler Building, to Hasidic hats, Fifth Avenue high fashion, urban streetwear and bright pink hair rollers….These happy contradictions ultimately underlined in Ali’s mind her very own capital-T Truth about fashion. The hard-but-soft city showed Ali what style is all about; she learned that it has very little to do with being on trend, but instead is very much concerned with the individual. In the end, to put it shortly, Ali zhuzhed herself. And then, you know, the rest is a well-dressed history.
Written by Ali’s very first client, her little sister Jonelle Hector, who is currently living and pursuing her own slice of happiness in London, England.