THE NEW YORK
New Author Makes Stunning Debut With Book
She Can Go Where Pretty Girls Go
by Walter Greene
When Arlee Gibson was born in Carlisle, South Carolina who knew that this child's life would turn out to be the tumultuous saga it was. The hills and valleys of life would be an ongoing trip for the young Arlee, but it was the homecoming as an adult and facing all the angels and demons of the past that brought on a painful, yet glorious awakening. In the book 'She Can Go Where Pretty Girls Go' Arlee's true story unfolds and takes us on the sometimes bumpy ride. Very candid with a dash of humor, this new author brings her story to the masses with no apologies, just plain honesty that grips at the heartstrings. Constance Gibson's debut as a writer is nothing short of brilliant. She tells her true story of how Arlee lived and died, and how Constance emerged: successful, beautiful, victorious and ever so talented ready to take on the other part of her life with a newness...the second time around.
HAVING IT ALL
"I'd gotten to a part of my life where I had to release myself and come clean," said Constance when we caught up with her in the middle of her promotional tour that already took her to Florida, South Carolina, and now Atlanta. Based in New York, Constance owned and operated 'Style Architect' a major booking agency, casting the top hair and make-up technicians in the industry for a number of years before deciding to write and publish her book. In the book the talks about her success as a business woman in New York, reaping all of the benefits of the job but she had no life. A total meltdown and a chance to stop and enjoy life was the turning point up the avenue to write the book.
'It was difficult going back but it was good. Remembering everything was very hard, it was the most difficult thing I've ever done. "I have more reverence for writers now, "she laughed. "You have to reach inside your soul and yank things out. I opened my own publishing company because I wanted to control everything. This is my story and I already have book two which is a combination of book one, book three will be fiction. Lots of things were left out of this book, because originally I had 600 pages. I carefully edited things out. I worked an extra year, so that no one would get hurt, especially the celebrities that I encountered and worked with."
Constance painfully relives her childhood and growth in the beginning of the book. Abandoned as a child and forced to take care of a younger sister was just the beginning of the journey that brought her to cities like Cleveland, Houston and New York where her career took off. She began work as a dresser for fashion shows in New York under the expert wings of fashion maven Audrey Smaltz and ended up running her own business. "I guess one of the messages in the book is that with children, childhood is very difficult. I think people should accept them as children, no matter how different they are. My life is a typical example of that.
"The best part of this experience was seeing everyone again, when you write you are really there, the next best part was learning things about myself, as to where I am today. When I was a kid that's how I thought everybody lived. When I found out that there were middle class blacks, that was a revelation...Now, I appreciate every small things. Everything to me is a gift," revealed the author. Constance said she was influenced by several people including artist extraordinaire Alvaro (who did the book's cover portrait) and Josephine Baker in the 1920s. "I thought if she can do that so can I."
THE TURNING POINT
Constance agreed that the turning point in her life is graphically explained in the book after an unfortunate 'run' with some Cleveland drag queens. "That's when I decided to get a real life, that incident made me want to do something positive with my life. I had guardian angels on my shoulders, I should have been dead a long time ago. Drag queens were a big influence on my life. They were helping me, but after that whole incident I never went back to that house."
THE GOLDEN ERA
The book goes into a glamorous part of the Black fashion and beauty era with Constance at the forefront of several events: as a model in a stunning Patrick Kelly creation, as a stylist working with Audrey Smaltz and a slew of other events. She recalled: "That whole era was such a beautiful golden era for Black beauty and fashion, Audrey Smaltz had launched so many careers. Legendary is the word I can use here. I love Audrey, she kept me on the floor laughing and it was such a wonderful experience working with her."
As for now, Constance is trying to see the world again. "I now have time to relax and promote the book all this year. I was so obsessed with the writing, it took me five years and I didn't decide it was a book until two years into the writing. Everything is so different now and it takes getting used to all the newness again." 'She Can Go Where Pretty Girls Go' is available by calling 212-222-3704, 917-575-2939 or visiting www.shecango.net.