When I hear the name Shyra Ely-Gash many words come to mind: FIERCE, strong, confident and fashion-forward to name a few. She’s an accomplished WNBA player but that’s not the only success this remarkable, tall woman has in her bag.
Recently I talked with Ms. Ely-Gash about all of her amazing feats including her most recent venture, TUTZgalm. There is a mini-launch for the site this Friday and I for one can’t wait to shop til I drop! What is it? Read away…
Alicia Jay: I always have to start out with the question we all know so well, how tall are you?
Shyra Ely-Gash: I'm 6'2”.
AJ: LOVE IT! So...do you like being tall? What is it about being tall that you like?
SEG: I love being tall, I'd actually like to be an inch taller. I love the attention and the athletic advantage.
AJ: Attention is definitely something we know all about! Love the good but sometimes there is annoying attention too. Have you had any bad experiences related to your height?
SEG: I can't recall any really bad situation regarding my height except bullying in school but everyone goes through that. I guess not being able to shop freely is a frustration of being tall. Thankfully, tall women have alternatives now.
AJ: I know we all can relate to that and thank God for the alternatives we have now! I love seeing you rock them in your blog Hoops Meets Heels…what inspired you to start it?
SEG: Thank you! I love TallSWAG! I created Hoops Meets Heels because I was in dire need of some type of self-expression. I have an artistic mind and Hoops Meets Heels is my world. My blog represents me, everything that inspires me, my eye, my interests, and my projects.
AJ: Speaking of interests and projects, you are a very busy woman! What do you do for a living?
AJ: Both of those sound exciting! If you had to pick the most memorable moment in your WNBA career so far, what would it be?
SEG: My most memorable WNBA moment is being drafted by the San Antonio Silver Stars as the 14th overall pick in 2005.
AJ: Being a fan, I know that the League definitely missed you last season because of the injury to your ACL…how is the rehab coming along?
SEG: I am on target and expected to be released in January. I'm getting stronger and have every intention of playing professional ball again.
AJ: That is great to hear! Now that we know all about your hoop game, please tell us about the business side.
SEG: Before I even picked up a basketball, my dream was to own a fashion empire. I've always wanted a career in fashion. I started Styles By Ms. Ely, LLC in 2009. Nikki Caldwell, head women's basketball coach at LSU, was previously my coach at UT. When she landed the UCLA position, I said Wow! This gorgeous woman on this awesome platform, she should shut the game down! I just called her up and pleaded my case and thankfully she supported me. She encouraged me to make it official because in all actuality, I have been styling people my whole life. I've always been the person people in my circle would come to for fashion advice. Styles By M.E. was inevitable and something I've always had my eye on.
AJ: Can you tell me about some of the people you style? Is there a client that sticks out? Why?
SEG: Nikki Caldwell and Tasha Butts of LSU are the most notable coaches I've worked with. I've worked with a number of WNBA players. Nikki and Tasha stand out to me the most because they were my first high profile clients. They gave me a great opportunity and the room to grow as a business woman. I'm really thankful for their support.
AJ: So, we have talked about the clients you style, but what about your own personal style? What are your favorite things to wear?
SEG: My favorite thing to wear is probably shoes. I'm a shoe freak! I have too many. I believe they make or break your look.
AJ: I couldn’t agree more! Who do you look to for style inspiration?
SEG: My style icons are definitely Grace Jones, Solange, Rihanna, J-Lo and June Ambrose.
AJ: What a great group of women! If your new venture TUTZglam is anything like any of their styles, I will be a daily customer! For those who don’t know, please tell us about the fashion site.
It has always been a dream to own and operate my own boutique. I have a collection of clothing that I have built over the years. I was going through my closet for donations and I realized that I had so many pieces that were brand new with tags attached. I was already in the process of opening an urban, hybrid-type e-boutique catering to long-legged ladies. The idea just came to me to offer some of my clothing.
In the past several months I have been exploring the world of thrifting and vintage wear. Can we say ADDICTED?? So, I thought that would be a unique dynamic to incorporate everything.
The ultimate goal of TUTZglam is to expand into a multi-dimensional e-boutique. Every item is hand selected by me. Additionally, TUTZglam will serve as a handy tool for SBME, providing a complete wardrobe styling experience.
SEG: I'm having a mini-launch for TUTZglam Friday, the 9th. I plan to have a grand opening in December.
AJ: It’s already in my calendar…can’t wait! You have so many accomplishments, what would you say is your biggest achievement?
SEG: Big picture, my biggest achievement is probably where I am in my spiritual journey at this moment. In a business sense, it would be being a professional athlete and entrepreneur.
AJ: True achievements indeed! I always have to ask this question…tell us something about yourself that people would not normally know.
SEG: I’m the biggest goof and I love to sing.
AJ: Wait…so you can play basketball, style and sing. A true triple threat! Thank you so much for taking the time out to speak with us, before we go, we have to know what your definition of TallSWAG is?
SEG: My definition of TallSWAG is just owning who you are. We're tall. It's who we are. Why wouldn't I be proud to be me? I feel like height enhances beauty.
Remember to visit TUTZglam.com Friday, November 9th for amazing handpicked new and vintage fashions from Shyra herself!