Written by HELAINA HOVITZ
Tammy Thomas, a single mother of two, left her Tomball, Texas home on Friday morning believing that she was going to be interviewed for an informational video on female empowerment.
Upon arriving at the Page Parkes Center of Modeling & Acting, she very quickly realized that she was actually, in fact, being gifted with $10,000 of designer clothing, courtesy of celebrity stylist Sam Russell and his Giving Closet. This fairy godfather, who has dressed everyone from Sophia Bush to Stevie Wonder, received donations from M&R, Sole Society, Konplott Jewelry, Saks Fifth Avenue, and others, who rallied to help give a very deserving young woman new hope. At least, everyone else thought she was deserving.
“I don’t feel like I did anything to deserve this at all, but Sam said, ‘You’ve been through a lot, and we want to let you know you’re not alone.’ I could accept that. It’s been very lonely, and very hard,” she said.
Tammy is the last surviving sibling in her family—one was murdered, another committed suicide, and a third died at a very early age. More tragic still is that fact that Tammy lost everything, including her childhood pets, in a house fire that occurred on Christmas Eve when she was eight years old. When she celebrated her birthday earlier this month, her mother did not bother to call.
“She has known bad luck most of her life,” Sam said. “I wanted to share some of my good luck with her.” Tammy has been raising 13-year-old son Zachary David and two-year-old Avelyn Faith entirely on her own, so the decision to return to school after a ten-year haitus was not an easy one. Still, she knew she had to go for it, and began studying biology in hopes of creating a better life for them all.
When asked about Friday’s haul, Tammy said that she received more clothes from Sam than she’s ever had in her life. “He gave me dresses, blouses, jewelry, hand lotions, makeup, everything that you can imagine to make someone feel beautiful,” she said.Russell, who heads up the Wardrobe Department, was initially inspired to start these giveaways after catching Oprah’s Next Chapter series. This giveaway took him into double digits.affect-magazine-hug
While her new wardrobe will undoubtedly play a key part in helping her create a new beginning, Tammy says that the surprise holds an even deeper significance.
“I grew up with a mom who didn’t wear makeup. I never saw her in heels, and I only saw her in a dress once, at my brother’s funeral. I need to dress like this for my daughter,” she said. “I want to be an example for her, to be feminine, beautiful and confident.” Sure enough Avelyn Faith slipped her mother’s new bracelet off her wrist and right onto hers.“She was like, ‘Oh I’m so pretty,’ and you could see it all over her face. She lit up with such a sweet smile.” Avelyn Faith proceeded to kick on mommy’s shoes, toss her diaper bag over her shoulder like purse, and waddle around the apartment. Tammy was nominated by Page Parkes, a talent agent who who first encountered Tammy when she was just a teenager. Sadly, her modeling dreams were shattered because her parents couldn’t afford the costs that came with it, but, by chance, the two women later ended up as neighbors, and their children became friends. “Zac was one of the nicest, most grateful boys I had ever met. I knew she was a great mom despite her lack of money to give him things,” said Parkes, who has represented Channing Tatum, Charlize Theron, and Angelina Jolie. “I was raised by a single mom and admire Tammy for her strength. She deserved this confidence boost!” Just days ago, Tammy felt like she didn’t have anyone to turn to and nobody to ask for help. She says that she believes this is a sign that things will soon get better. “Now, I realize there are people in my corner,” she said. “I realize I’m not alone.”