Real Women Doing Real Things- Liza Goncalves Richardson

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In continued celebration of Women’s Month we have a very special spotlight for our showcase of REAL Women Doing REAL things. Our first spotlight of the month is on the wonderful, strong and talented Liza Goncalves Richardson. We are honored to be able to learn more about Liza . Check out our interview on this inspirational women.

Learn About Liza’s Background and Career

Where did you grow up?  Do you feel your surroundings helped build the person you are today?

I grew up in a community that prided itself on remembering culture and heritage in Boston, Massachusetts.   My family is from Cape Verde Islands, off the west coast of Africa.   They moved to America sacrificing everything to make sure I had better opportunities. They stressed education, hard work and the importance of always putting your family first.

 Were there any obstacles you faced growing up that helped shaped you?

We all face obstacles and adversity through life and I have had my share.  Going through life’s challenges one has to face problem head on and it’s all about having a positive attitude.  Knowing how to take away what you can, leave the rest in the past and try not to make those same mistakes in the future. I believe in life you should not be afraid of failures and obstacles cause you need those experience to truly achieve and appreciate success.

 What or Who would you cite as a life motivator?

My mother, is the strongest, most selfless, and hardest working person I know. She is my life motivator.  I go so hard because I want to be able to give back, take care and be there for her like she has been there for me.  From sending me her last to helping me make it through college.  She has always provided with a beautiful and happy spirit. She taught me to be a strong woman, to never comprise my values and to follow my dreams, no matter what be a fighter!

 What High School or college did you attend?

I graduated from Randolph High School.   I earned a BA in Film and Video Production from Drexel University, in Philadelphia, Pa.

Photo Credit: Hannan Saleh

Here’s more about Liza’s Career

Tell us about your career. What is your title/ what do you do?

I have been very blessed to be able to have worked in so many different fields and wear so many different hats throughout my career. I’m an entrepreneuar and creative person at heart.

I started out contributing to various projects as a producer, director, editor  & cameraperson. I directed a Latrell Sprewell commercial featuring Questlove from The Roots for AND 1.

I then began hosting for television and went on to win a Billboard Music Award for Best Regional Hip Hop for “The Avenue”, a weekly television show that featured interviews with the hottest acts in the entertainment industries including Jay Z and Alicia Keys.

I went on to work for Zilo Networks, a New York-based college television network, I hosted and produced the NBA All-Star Motorola Special in Washington D.C., and produced and hosted “You Know You Want It”, a weekly TV show which showcased me interviewing with high profile celebrities from Adam Sandler to Will Smith at major award shows and movie premieres.

I later began hosting for BET’s “Maad Sports”.  Covering football, basketball, and baseball personalities and topics, I hosted several pieces during BET’s coverage of the Super Bowl and The NBA All-star Games

From there I jumped into the fashion world by teaming up with jersey company Stall & Dean in an exclusive contract to design and sell a Women’s only line of throwback jerseys. This experience inspired me to start my own company Vintage Blue, where I served as the owner and creative director. To Date, Vintage Blue has been placed on celebrities like Alicia Keys and JLO, featured in major publications and placed in various boutiques on the east coast.

That entire experience led me to opening my own boutique in Philadelphia, along with working on various movies, commercials, runways, and magazine shoots as a stylist.

I some how in the midst of all this found time to parlay as a teacher were I taught film and fashion classes to inner city kids and eventually secured a fulltime job as a visual merchandiser for Forever 21 and a Visual Display Artist for Macy’s.

How did the Oval brand get its start?

 I have so many interests in so many fields but the common thread in anything I have worked on is being creative. I wanted to figure a way to be able to do all the things I love under one umbrella. I decided to start a creative visual agency that would provide all these services. I have been very fortunate to be able to start this company with some of the most talented minds in the industry and being able to work with innovative brands and talents.

 Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Having a successful company, creating a program that helps, inspire educate and provide resources and tools for young people to be entrepreneurs and start their own businesses and hopefully either beginning or wrapping up production on a film I want to shoot inspired by where my family comes from, Cape Verde.

 How has achieving your career goals made you feel?

I feel very blessed to be able to work for myself full-time again doing what I love. I have been through a lot and every time I achieve a goal it feels so amazing. To have a vision, to believe you can manifest it and to take action and see it come to life is so rewarding, like it says in The Alchemist  “When a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person to realize his dream.” There will be roadblocks, you will stumble but that’s part of the process because you get back up, brush the dirt off and keep it moving with style and grace.

Do you have anything new projects in the works? 

My main project right now is just to work hard every day building and maintaining Oval, as the go to company for all your creative and visual branding needs. Working with creative like-minded people with great positive energy and creating inspiring memorable work!

Photo Credit: Hannan Saleh

Learn more about Liza’s Style!

How would you define your style?

My style is a twist of the past with the future. The best of then and now. I love vintage shopping, coming across that unbelievable, one of a kind, thrift find and bring it to life by styling it with a piece I came across from some indie boutique in the city.

Would you say you have any style influences?

I’m inspired and influenced by the past; I love the 50’s and 60’s fashion. The women had such style and grace. They always stepped out looking fabulous whether they were going to the grocery store or to a cocktail event.  The women always looked flawless and brought glamour to every occasion.

 Do you have any favorite brands, and what do you love about the brands?

I have always loved Ralph Lauren’s Rugby brand.  I like that classic timeless feel of this All American Brand. I love to mix that style with different designers. Like taking the rugby look and glamming it up with a Balmain piece.

As your career and life progresses do you feel your style has changed at all?

My style has definitely changed over the years. I feel like I’m more experimental now and I go outside of my comfort zone. I was never into bold colors and prints and now I would throw on loud-printed pants in a heartbeat. I think as you get older the more confidence you have and as a result, you’re not afraid of owning your look.

What are some of your must have/ go-to pieces?

My must have pieces is a great pair of high waisted pants whether its skinny or wide leg, I’m obsessed. I’m also addicted to vintage style button up blouses with a bow tie; I must have one in every color and fabrication.

Do you have any style advice you would like to offer?

I believe the key to a great look is accessories. Whether you are wearing a tank with a pair of jeans or an amazing dress all you have to do to complete your look is add either that big statement necklace, that crazy, insane, sick pair of heels or that you will notice me vintage clutch to any look and you are all good to go.

Beauty

 Are you a make-up kind of lady? If so what are some of your favorite looks?

Recently I have been more daring with my look. I was always very safe, I preferred the neutral and natural look. Lately I have been rocking red lips, bold blush and thick black liner over the eyes.

 Do you have any make-up tips and advice to share?

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different looks or trying a color you would never have looked at before.

A Gift from Liza to Us:

 In general what advice can you share with other young women / girls growing up?

Believing in yourself, and believing that you can do something- anything, is the number one quality to achieving your dreams.  Mix that with some drive, ambition, skills- and most importantly, a love and vision for what you want to do and you will be successful in whatever you choose to do.

One of Liza’s Favorite quotes is:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?” Marriane Williamson

Photo Credit: Hannan Saleh

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