Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Happy advice from Betsey Johnson

Yesterday I had a really interesting phone interview with designer Betsey Johnson in advance of her visit to Charlotte. The popular designer will be greeting fans on the third floor of Belk at SouthPark mall from 2 to 3:30 p.m. on Nov. 15.

She travels with her own DJ. Don't you love that? I have my fingers crossed that she'll do one of her famous cartwheel/split combo while she's here!

Her already large fan base has grown tremendously because of her recent stint on "Dancing With the Stars." She made it through 4 weeks of competition before being voted off. Viewers who weren't already familiar with her were wowed by the 72-year-old's youthful persona, flexibility and positive attitude. She had nothing but wonderful things to say about the experience, and she's excited to be returning for the All-Stars show on Nov. 25 during the finale.

Here's a photo of Betsey with her pro partner for the show, Tony Dovolani, who she says is now a dear friend.

She was an incredibly wise and kind person to talk with, and I can't wait to share the full interview in next week's Style section in print and online.

One thing she said stood out to me. It's her thoughts on being happy. She broke onto the fashion scene in New York City in the 1960s, was married to Velvet Underground member John Cale briefly and has survived and thrived since then in the brutal fashion business. Even though she's had tremendous ups and downs, her positive outlook has never wavered, nor has her belief that your happiness is up to you. Don't look to anyone else to give it to you.

"I was born a positive person," she said. "Almost every day, I wake up and go, 'I'm happy!' On a day when I wake up and I'm not feeling that great about things, I say to myself that I'm going to make it a happy day. I'm going to change it around. You have to make it happen."

Then she gave this really funny example that's filled with the whimsy she's known for: "If you love wearing a bikini all the time and that's what makes you happy, you need to figure out where you can live where you can be in a bikini all the time," she said.

Follow Betsey on Twitter @xoBetseyJohnson

Follow Olivia on Twitter @oliviafortson