Putting Hollywood on Hold to Give Others a Hand
The Giving Closet is a daydream transformed into reality. After 12 productive years on the Hollywood landscape, celebrity wardrobe stylist Sam Russell gave birth to an idea—an idea that blossomed into a passion project that personalities in show business could not easily ignore.
“Hollywood was very, very good to my work and even better to some of my clients; prosperity was flowing,” claims Russell. “I had a light bulb moment while driving down the canyon after a fitting. A client at the time was constantly hounding me for free stuff. I realized then that I’d rather spend my precious time re-routing a portion of what we throw at celebs to real people in need. Once that thought washed over me, it changed the course of my life.”
On September 1, 2011, Russell debuted the Giving Closet on NBC San Diego. The idea was to surprise a randomly selected woman who overcame great obstacles with a wardrobe upgrade valued at over $10,000. Russell shares, “Our society adores the rich and looks down at the poor. But if she had a new handbag and wore the same shoes as you, would you know the difference?”
“The Giving Closet takes a village. If we all did just one thing within our means to help just one stranger, this would be deeply re-thread and re-connect the human spirit.”–Sam Russell
With the help of non-profits and social workers, 4 years later Russell has traveled from Knoxville to Long Island to Detroit to find unique stories of persevering women. He has accomplished exactly that.
The Giving Closet celebrated its 12th give-away in Houston April 2015.
In 2012, the 5thGiving Closet recipient, two-time cancer survivor Christine Pechera, was surprised by a new wardrobe and paid internship on the hit show “Sleepy Hollow. Noted Hollywood producers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci have personally taken Christine under their wing, after Sam’s recommendation.
To underscore his core mission, Russell says, “These women will not benefit from designer gowns. Everything the Giving Closet provides is much more practical and accentuates their lives from weekday to weekend. All recipients of this goodwill mission are headed to brighter futures that will be manifested by their own hands. I just gave them new shoes to get them there faster.”
If you’re looking for that next rung up on the ladder, Sam Russell is looking for you.