Written by Ursula Watson
Angela Williams — Williams was surprised Thursday with a $10,000 wardrobe by celebrity stylist Sam Russell, founder of the non-profit Giving Closet. (Steve Perez / The Detroit News)
Detroit— Angela Williams got the star treatment at the Samaritan Center on the city’s east side Thursday. Williams was surprised with a $10,000 wardrobe by celebrity stylist Sam Russell, founder of the nonprofit Giving Closet. Dressed in a blue, lace sheath dress and pretty pink pumps, Williams of Detroit was told she was going to do a public service announcement for the nonprofit Jackets for Jobs, for which she was once a client. With several cameras pointed at her and with Russell by her side, she learned the 50 garments, 15 pairs of shoes and five handbags on display were, in fact, hers. “This lets me know that dreams do come true,” Williams, 40, said through tears. “I am at a loss of words.” Williams is the kind of woman Russell said he felt compelled to help. The Austin, Texas, native said for more than 12 years he worked in Hollywood, working his fashion magic on such stars as music legend and Detroit native Stevie Wonder, “Mad Men” actor Jon Hamm, Chuck Lorre, producer of “Two and a Half Men” and “The Big Bang Theory” and many more. Russell said he uses his resources and contacts to get all the items donated by designers. This is his ninth wardrobe donated to a lucky recipient such as Williams.
Russell, who founded Giving Closet in 2011, said he wanted to do a wardrobe-giveaway in Detroit and reached out to Jackets for Jobs, which has offered more than 15,000 women and men attire for job interviews and employment and tips on how to improve their interpersonal skills and professionalism.
Its founder and CEO, Alison Vaughn, said Williams stood out because she was so engaged, asked questions and really seemed to absorb the information offered by Jackets for Jobs. Vaughn’s mother, Betty Henderson, the career wardrobe director for Jackets for Jobs, said having the right attire can make a major difference. “It is all about confidence, building your self-esteem, loving yourself and presenting yourself well, in whatever it is that you do,” Henderson said. “And clothes have a lot to do with it.” Williams, who worked as a caterer for 10 years, has been out of work for a year. She gleamed as she talked about her children — two who have ADHD and all of whom are on the honor roll. “It gives me hope,” said Williams, whose children are 17, 14, 13 and 8. “I am just overwhelmed right now. I am so happy to have this opportunity.”