Jewel of the Month
Lizz Russell, The Lizz Russell Collection
Celebrity Fashion and Couture Designer
Award Winning Author
Creater/Owner of The Lizz Russell Collection
Liaison/ Patient Advocate for GBS/CIDP International
Ms. Lizz Russell
Ms. Lizz Russell is a world-renowned celebrity fashion and coutour designer, award winning author, Liaison and Patient Advocate for the San Diego chapter of the Gullian-Barres Syndrome and Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy Foundation (GBS/CIDP International), and an authentic testament to the true power of what can be accomplished by a woman of PURPOSE.
Aside from being one of the most sought-after designers by celebrities and the elite nationally and internationally, Ms. Russell is also a devoted and respected advocate for patients surviving and thriving with Gullian-Barres Syndrome (GBS). She was diagnosed with this condition in the midst of creating her successful empire but her strength of spirit, determination, and sheer will to succeed did not stop this powerhouse from becoming one of the most dominating forces in her industry. While in treatment, she continued to persist in building her company from the ground up and now stands on the top as one of the most admired fashion moguls in the business. She has also authored a poignant, touching, and powerfully inspirational book entitled, "Smiling on the Inside" which details her personal journey from her diagnosis to the present. She is indeed one of the greatest inspirations of our time and her story and legacy will continue to empower women for generations to come.
I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Ms. Russell to get further insight into her fascinating life's work. Her journey, positive energy, and invaluable insight will motivate and inspire you exploring your OWN soul's purpose.
Interview with Lizz Russell
Jeanette's Jewels: Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to learn more about your life's work and personal philosophies. It is an honor to get a glimpse into the mind of such an extraordinary and inspirational woman. You are an incredible example of a woman living a purpose driven life, and I believe we all have a specific purpose on this earth. Although you have been blessed to excel in many different areas, has fashion always been your primary passion?
Lizz Russell: My passion for fashion has been intense for as long as I can remember. At the early age of twelve, I created my first garment and by the time I turned sixteen, I knew I wanted to become a fashion designer. I made the choice to pursue this dream because I knew it was a gift from God and what I was created to do. I never had the desire to do anything else, so I knew this was my true calling.
Jeanette's Jewels: That is such a blessing to realize your life's calling as a child. It is clear from your exquisite designs that you were undoubtedly born to create beautiful couture. I'm an avid follower of you and your career and I notice that you are surrounded by strong and successful women. What women, either in the fashion industry or your personal life, were your biggest inspirations during your journey to becoming a successful entrepreneur? In what ways did they inspire you?
Lizz Russell: My mom was my biggest inspiration and cheerleader, and her keen intuition helped her to understand exactly what I need to do to succeed. When I was twelve, she sent me to charm and modeling school to help bring me out of my shyness. Those classed prepared me for my future position in life that she had the foresight to see long before anyone else. She couldn’t afford it, but she made the sacrifices to provide me with the tools I needed to start this journey because she knew I had a gift. She nurtured my talent and it was because of her that I grew into the confidence I needed to relentlessly pursue this dream. Watching my mother play a dual role as a single parent to my seven siblings and I allowed me to see the real strength of a woman. I knew if her blood was flowing through my veins, I had that same strength to not only chase after my dreams, but to catch them as well.
Jeanette's Jewels: What an amazing testimony of your mother's impact in your life. It is beautiful to have that type of unconditional love and support as you pursued your passion, as it always serves to help when we face any obstacles or set backs along the way. What obstacles have you faced while pursuing your dreams and how did you overcome them to achieve your success?
Lizz Russell: My biggest obstacle was the sudden onset my illness. I was diagnosed with a rare disease called Gullain-Barre Syndrome while I was in design school, and was almost finished with my courses when I became deathly ill due to this condition. I was misdiagnosed several times during this process which naturally caused me a great deal of stress, worry, and fear of what would become of my life. I overcame it by fighting like hell to live even though all odds were against me. Having the faith of a mustard seed, a mother who prayed over me consistently, and a very supportive family was the gift from God that allowed me to persist despite my diagnosis. This was not an easy road in the slightest, but I was determined to finish what I started and to become the successful fashion designer I knew I was CREATED to be. Sometimes life is not always fair but if you have faith you are one step ahead. I understand those obstacles were placed in my path to further my strength and to allow me to understand that I would always have the power to conquer anything that stood in my way.
Jeanette's Jewels: Let the church say AMEN! I have no doubt that so many women will resonate with your words and I am grateful to you for imparting these jewels of wisdom and empowerment. You have been a very powerful advocate for Gullain-Barre Syndrome (GBS), and as a survivor, you are an incredible inspiration to people all over the world. What would you like to share to bring awareness to GBS and can you tell us a little about your journey as spokesperson for this condition?
Lizz Russell: I am honored to have proudly served as a liaison and a patient advocate for the San Diego Chapter of the GBS~CIDP international foundation advocacy almost 10 years. It is my calling to aid, motivate, inspire, and encourage other survivors who have traveled journeys that are similar to my own. Dealing with an unknown and sudden diagnosis is an enormous challenge for anyone and one of the awesome things that helped me out tremendously was a suggestion from my mom. During one of my treatments, she had one of my family members bring my fashion portfolio up to the hospital. When I asked her why she had done that, she said, "I want your doctor and the nurses to see what you do. They need to understand that you have to get well so you can get back to living your life's dream of becoming a successful fashion designer." And boy I tell you, that staff was simply amazed by what she had done. They couldn’t believe it! From that day forward, they even treated me differently and I knew it was because my mom opened their eyes to see what she knew all along: that I was special and needed to purse this calling God put on my life.
Since I understand first hand how it feels being a patient undergoing treatment for GBS, it inspired me to create an event called RENEW for GBS patients. My organization, along with other generous donors in the community offer complete makeovers, a new hairstyle, and one of my specially created custom dresses to these beautiful and deserving survivors who aren't victims, but who instead choose to THRIVE and live their very best lives. All 25 survivors who participated in my first event had a life changing experience. I’ve recently been contacted to duplicate this RENEW event in other cities, and I’m honored to do so. It all started with an idea and a dream for #thebeautifulsurvivors. If you can conceive it, you can achieve it!!
Jeanette Jewels: You are such a beautiful example of a what compassion, service, and uplifting the sisterhood looks like. Your selfless commitment to empowering women is a blueprint for women all over the world. Your life and success in the fashion industry inspires women from all walks of life to find their passion and follow their dreams. What advice would you give to a woman who is taking the first steps to pursue her heart’s desires?
Lizz Russell: Pursuing your hearts desire it’s very important to ALL women. You must first believe in YOURSELF to get others to believe in you. Learn all you can about your business and strive to be the best that you can be in your niche. Always be one step ahead of the game and keep your eye on your goals. Don’t allow yourself to get easily discouraged, as you will have moments when you feel like no one believes in what you’re doing. But that’s not important as long as YOU believe it. Always remember God gave you the dream so it’s up to you to fulfill it. I promise that you will become successful and reach your goals if you stick to your plans. Keep your circle small and always be excited about what your doing. If you keep your energy positive and your vibrations high, others will feel your energy and you will begin to attract all the tools you need to achieve your dreams.
Jeanette's Jewels: Those words not only when straight to my heart and spoke directly to me, but I have no doubt that you have just touched the souls of every woman reading your words. That is truly a sentiment to live by. Your designs are so beautifully unique and they bring out the distinct shine in every woman blessed enough to own them. What inspires you to create the beautiful and original clothing, jewelry, and purses featured in your collection, and what is your creative process?
Lizz Russell: I have always been a self-motivator because I’m very passionate about what I do. My work keeps me excited and feeds my energy to create. I get my inspiration from the women who love and appreciate my creations and it makes my heart full with gratitude knowing that what I do from my heart inspire others. I appreciate the gift God has given me and that also serves as a large driving force behind my continuous inspiration to create the most beautiful pieces that my imagination can dream of. My actual creative process for designing is pretty simple, though. I listen to what my clients want and take special note of what they’re looking for based on the occasion or event they are attending. I listen to them carefully and recreate their vision using both their ideas and my own intuition. I also love to travel and get ideas from different styles I see around the globe. My creative mind never turns off and ideas just come to me constantly. I’m always creating, designing and sketching out something! This is my comfort zone and it just feels natural to me, so the process never stops.
Jeanette's Jewels: That doesn't surprise me at all. I'm sure you could create beautiful designs in your sleep! It has truly been a sincere pleasure to get to pick the brain of one of the true fashion geniuses of our generation,and I am grateful for your candor and priceless life-lessons. What is the most important message you would like to share with women who follow your life's journey through your design empire and your GBS advocacy?
Lizz Russell: The most important message I have for each woman reading this interview is be true to yourself. If you feel like you have a calling, give it your BEST shot. Try it and just see where it takes you. Don’t listen to anyone telling you that you can’t do it because God would not gift you with a talent if He didn’t think you could do it. Realize how truly amazing you are and that you are SPECIAL! When I understood that I was special and had been blessed with a unique gift, I was able to BELIEVE it and I want every woman out there to understand that you are special too. Tap into your gifts and begin living the life you were destined to live.
On the lighter side, in my humble beginnings I was in a contest at Mesa College in San Diego called the Golden Scissor Awards. I was getting my look together for the contest and couldn't afford new shoes, so I bought some spray paint to paint a pair of pumps that I bought at the local Goodwill. I was outside on the sidewalk in front of my house just spray-painting away when my sister Virginia drove up. She asked what I was doing and I told her I was painting my pumps to go with my outfit for the contest the following night. Needless to say, being the loving sister that she is, she took me to Nordstrom’s and bought me a brand new pair of pumps. I proudly came in second place at the Golden Scissor Awards that year, and it is a moment that I hold very dear to my heart.
I learned that nothing should stop you from chasing your dreams. Not lack of money, materials, or even support. What was put in your heart to pursue was put there for a specific reason. When you choose to heed that calling, your life will open up in ways that you have never imagined. It may bring you money, fame, and success, but most importantly, it will keep your heart full of joy and your life filled of the most exciting journeys and experiences. Never give up on your dreams and always believe in yourself!
For more information about Ms. Lizz Russell and her coutour fashion collection, please visit and follower her online at:
Kindle Edition of Ms. Russell's book: Smiling on the Inside available at Amazon.com:
If you are moved and inspired by this book, please feel free to leave a positive review for the author. Thank you.
The Lizz Russell Collection
The Lizz Russell Collection
The Lizz Russell Collection