10 Years & Counting

10 years ago today, I moved to New York. That Friday night in April, when I pulled a mini-van up to my apartment on Adam Clayton Powell Avenue. I was scared shitless as to what I just signed up for. It wasn't the glittery streets or green parks shown on TV. However, it was my newest adventure and what would become the greatest reality shows of my life!

I cried real tears of joy when I received the call from Macy’s in 2008 that I got the job as a Merchandising Assistant. I was 27 and it was the lowest role in the buying office; but finally, I got the job and would be moving to New York!

After 5 years of undergrad at Clemson, I became a portfolio manager with Axa Advisors and quit within the first 3 months; I hated it. Next, I waited tables at Wild Wings Cafe (to me, a step beneath Hooters) and quit after some months. I hated that too. I wasn't until 2004 when I took an administrative job in Trident Technical College's Career office that I realized I could have a career in the business of fashion. It was then that I knew, I would move to New York, live in Harlem, and become a buyer!

Unlike the movies, this did not happen within 90 minutes. It took moving to Atlanta, crashing with my sister, and 4 long years of being told "No"; I was determined to be not be the southern "norm". I'd change my name and prove to those who doubted me, and to myself, that I would make this dream a reality.

The call came March 28, 2008, I visited the city once and signed a least on April 14th, made the drive up from Atlanta April 25th, and my first day as Macy’s newest MA was April 28, 2008. I wanted it. I worked for it. I earned it. I got it.

The Early Days

(scroll through the gallery)

I blinked twice and now it’s 10 years later; What an exciting decade it has been. I've learned, I've loved. I've lost. I've experienced professional highs and personal lows all while continuously growing and ever evolving. I've developed an amazing tribe that has become my family and support group. All in all, I am extremely blessed In honor of this milestone, I choose to commemorate it by shooting in the middle of my sweet streets of Harlem. I am now officially a Harlem girl living in a Harlem world!!!

The Present Day

People often ask...”where to next?” This question plagues me because I think of it often myself, but where would I “want” to go? Not Atlanta again. Cali is way too far, Dallas? DC? I don't know. What I do know is that if home is where the heart is, then I am definitely at home in Harlem!

Thank you Anthony Artis for lending your lens and capturing these moments.

Here to 10 years & counting!!!

M. Renee

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