YouTube sensation Talia Castellano moved more than 14.5 million viewers with her makeup tutorials and message “to just keep swimming,” as she famously said in an interview with Ellen DeGeneres in September 2012.
The honorary CoverGirl was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, cancer of the nervous system, at only 7 years old. She made bald beautiful when she started posting YouTube videos to express her love of makeup, which she wore in lieu of a wig — Talia hoped to inspire others with her self-confidence.
And she did. It wasn’t long before Talia became famous for her YouTube channel, taliajoy18, which she filled with both makeup lessons and health updates.
Talia, who lived in Orlando, Fla., wanted to go into fashion design. And although she lost her battle to cancer in July 2013, she does have a new fashion line coming out, thanks to Los Angeles designer Urbana Chappa.
Chappa, originally from Texas, has her own Maison de Urbana line. After seeing Talia’s interview on Ellen, Chappa volunteered to make the girl's vision of a clothing line into a reality.
“I am a cancer survivor and her story was very close to me. I was amazed by how strong and brave she was [even though] she knew she was going to die one day. I was going to send her something from my collection. But when I saw that she wanted to be a designer, I thought, ‘I would love to help her,’” said Chappa in an interview.
“I went that next week to Orlando [to meet with Talia], and the rest was history.”
After Talia's death, Chappa continued collaborating with the girl's older sister Mattia, 19. The now-finished "Bald Chick Collection" reflects Talia’s own style with its bright colors and rebellious flare. Featured pieces include a studded and cropped jean vest as well as black-and-white striped leggings. Talia was deeply involved in creating the looks, and even drew some of the design sketches.
“We would Skype at 4 or 5 in the morning and she would pick up buttons or tell me where she wanted studs. It was a beautiful process,” Chappa said.
Talia, known for her bright spirit and care of others, wanted the Bald Chick Collection to reach out to children who face their own battles with cancer.
“Talia’s clothing line was her inspiration to help other teenagers feel stylish, hip and good about themselves," said her mother, Desiree Castellano. "Talia was petite for her age so this line will include petite sizes, so other teenagers in similar situations will feel confident.”
Chappa plans to sell the clothes online and hopes the collection will be picked up by select stores. She is waiting to hear back from large retailers such as Target, where Talia dreamed her clothing would one day be sold. Proceeds from the collection are to go to Talia’s family to pay for her medical bills and establish a cancer foundation.
For a sneak peek at the collection’s lookbook, go to http://www.baldchickcollection.com.
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