Talia Joy Castellano gained national acclaim after appearing on The Ellen Show… And now she’s thisclose to realizing her dream of being a fashion designer.
The 13-year-old Latina, who has been battling terminal cancer for six years, inspired millions with her story after her first appearance last September.
Castellano has been creating beauty videos for the past six years, and she’s gone on to become a YouTube sensation.
Along with meeting Ellen DeGeneres last year, she was named an honorary Cover Girl. And now she’s hard at work to become a fashion designer.
In the past few weeks, Castellano has been creating a new teen fashion line from her home in Orlando. Urbana Chappa, a Spanish-Persian designer whose latest collection debuted at New York Fashion Week has been helping Castellano with the line, which has been called That Bald Chick.
“I wanted to create a fashion line for teens that is trendy,” Castellano told NBCLatino.com. “I’m hoping to inspire young teens to express themselves through their fashion. I’m excited to have created this collection and will forever get to share it with the world!”
Chappa, 33, was inspired when she first saw Talia on TV.
“It was very close to home for me — I had cancer when I was in my early twenties,” says Chappa. “Then my children were on my phone and her photo popped up on Instagram. I thought, ‘Oh my God, this is a sign.’ I went to her YouTube page, and I heard on her bucket list that she wanted to be a fashion designer.”
After some email exchanges, Chappa flew to Orlando and brought fashion books and swatches.
“We sketched 16 pieces, and we chose about 14, and I came back to LA and in two weeks, we put it together,” says Chappa, who taught Talia how to draw outfits on pre-made model cutouts. “We were on a very short time crunch with her being so sick we didn’t know what was going to happen. It’s been amazing. We have so much fun.”
They’re hoping to get the line in a national chain like Target. Chappa hopes it will allow Talia to see another dream come true while helping with medical expenses. But Chappa admits it hasn’t only been strictly business — the young teen has taught her a few things as well.
“She would say, it doesn’t matter if you are dying or homeless, if you have dreams do not give up,” says Chappa. “She wants kids and people to fight harder. I’ve been through a lot, and she’s taught me to not sweat the little stuff.”