Dresses for success

NEWPORT BEACH — By day, she's a junior lifeguard instructor. But she dreams of being a big-time dress designer and an Academy Award winner. At the very least, she could soon be $10,000 richer and a guest on "Good Morning America," if the wedding dress she recently designed appears on the cover of Brides Magazine.

Meet Hailey Sandberg, 20, of Newport Beach. She's among 25 finalists of the magazine's "Operation Dream Dress Contest 2010."

Next Wednesday is the deadline for supporters to vote for all designs.

"As cheesy as it sounds," says Hailey, "I have loved designing gowns since my elementary school days."

It all actually probably started out on the sidewalk, where as an infant she'd start scrawling some form of art in chalk, creating one of the coolest hop scotch squares for miles.

Then, she took her art inside local schools, whether it was designing logos on T-shirts for her friends or creating Sharpie tattoos for them. But through and through, she'd always had the designs of dresses — her true passion — in the back or her head.

Then, in March, she was watching "Good Morning America," when she heard Robin Roberts mention a wedding gown contest. She did a double take, then pinched herself before emailing the show to make sure she didn't miss the June deadline.

Quickly, she jumped into action, sketching the front and back views of her "dream dress," replete with a cute little bow in the back.

She didn't stop there. She took a crash course for four weeks at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, where she learned how to take an idea "from the heart," as she said, "and put it onto the hanger."

That, however, required much more than just imagination and skills with sketching. She had to find a fabric supplier, a foxy model for the wedding dress, a photographer to take the picture, a hair stylist to make sure there were no bad-hair days.

She ended up finishing everything in what Hailey refers to as "an insanely rigid timeline."

"To be honest," she adds, "I have no problem dreaming big. At one stage in my life I hope to design costumes for films and maybe even win an Academy Award."

And she's looking for votes.

Her dress can be viewed, and supporters can vote for her, at http://www.operationdreamdress.com/hailey-sandberg.

Copyright © 2019, Daily Pilot
EDITION: California | U.S. & World