What up, divas!? Ever since I won Project Runway, people have been asking me about one thing: being fierce. Sure, they talk about my clothes, too. (Obviously. Hello!) But the more people I meet, the more I realize that they're also interested in how I became the person I am today. So what exactly does it mean to be fierce? Let me paint you a little picture...

It's September 11, 2008, and I'm presenting my first full collection at Fashion Week. Right before the show begins, I am backstage with all my models, adjusting hats and shoes and checking straps and hemlines. (I'm looking flawless, too, of course, in a classic Christian outfit: black tee, gray vest, black skinny jeans.) My collection—a sea of grays, blues, and yellows—dances around me. It's months of hard work come to life, and I stop, for just a moment, to take it all in. This is exactly what I've always wanted and I'm actually living it. I worked hard, took risks and took chances, and I'm about to show my first full collection at Fashion Week! But there's no time to reflect now. I have to get back to fixing all the last-minute snags that keep cropping up: a wrong shoe here, a change of hairstyle there. I can barely hear the music pumping outside or the chatter of attendees awaiting my show. I can't hear anything, really; it's all just a soundless, surreal blur. Then Heidi breezes in to wish me good luck. (Heidi Klum! Who knew?) We exchange air kisses (both cheeks) and she heads back out toward her seat, blending into the maze of models.

And just like that, it's showtime. I feel like I'm holding my breath for all twenty-eight looks. I can hear applause, even cheering, but I'm still a nervous wreck. But before I know it, the show is over. And it went off flawlessly. The crowd and the press alike loved my work. Well-wishers and cameras and reporters flood the backstage area. I accept dozens more air kisses, compliments, and hugs. I really did it.

So, why did I just share that little story with you? Because that, my divas, is what it means to have fierce style—inside and out. It's feeling fabulous about yourself, being strong, independent, and confident in what you do (all while looking totally ferosh, of course!). It's about making things happen and tackling one challenge after the next. My hope is that you will find something in the following pages, whether it's about clothes or something else, that inspires you to be fierce yourself. Big or small, silly or serious, I hope you take away some inspiration.

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Excerpted from Fierce Style by Christian Siriano. Copyright © 2009 Christian Siriano. Used by permission of Grand Central Publishing.


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