“We hype ourselves up on fear so much that we don’t even try… Forget your haters, forget everybody around you. Talk yourself out of it. Once you start not being afraid to fail, you start going forward.” -Andre Wilson


“Follow your dreams” is probably one of the boldest pieces of advice. For one, because only a few will actually do it and second, a small number of those “few” will have the guts to follow through until they succeed. Today, de de interviews Style Icon and Fashionista extraordinaire, Andre Wilson. Andre wears many hats but he always makes sure these works are congruent to the path he chose. But to follow their dreams, de de and Andre have to have more than passion and knowledge- they needed skills and wisdom to overcome the storms along the way. Join in as they share their secret to handling pressure, overcoming fear and failure, learning and relearning, and being imbalanced-ly balanced. Life is a “beautiful chaos” and it is definitely worth dreaming for. Like a lovely painting, yours too can be a breath-taking work of art if you continue working on it. Forget the fear and self-doubt. Instead, remember why you started dreaming in the first place. So, keep pushing forward, because when regrets take the place of our dreams, it is a lifetime wasted. 



02:16 Inside the Fashion World

07:43 Why Details Matter

09:45 Handling Pressure

13:55 Be a Student

16:39 Fail Fast, Fail Often

19:39 How to Balance Time- Or NOT!

21:31 Life is a Beautiful Chaos



de de’s Books

Two Degree’s Series 

Rescued Heart Series


Craft your dream and live that dream! Listen in as @dedeCox and Andre Wilson, CEO of Style Icon LLC, shares how to do just that while overcoming pressures, fear, and failures. #dedecox #kentuckyromanceauthor #unbriddledcountrytraditions #podcast… Click To Tweet



07:47 “There are subtle nuances that bring about a certain look. And when you study a craft, all of that matters.” -Andre Wilson

12:50 “80 to 90% of small businesses fail no matter what color you are because business is a tough taskmaster. However, once you have some of the right things in place and people helping you that have been there before… you can improve that success rate.” -Andre Wilson

14:06 “Try to study your craft and become a student, because half of your job is going to be googling it and applying it the next day. The minute you stop learning, you’re done for.”  -Andre Wilson

12:59 “If you quit, you fail. Keep trying and keep trying and keep trying.” -Andre Wilson

17:07 “We hype ourselves up on fear so much that we don’t even try… Forget your haters, forget everybody around you. Talk yourself out of it. Once you start not being afraid to fail, you start going forward.” -Andre Wilson

20:50 “We make time for what’s important. And you figure out through that important how the relationship continues.” -de de cox


Meet Andre Wilson:

de de has known Andre for over 19 years and they have remained friends since then. de de met Andre when he started P3 Magazine (Proms, Pageants, and Parties). At present, Andre serves as the CEO of Style Icon, LLC. He is the “fashionista” of Louisville.  



de de Cox  Hey guys, welcome back. This is de de Cox, I am your designated driver. We are the Kentucky Romance Author Podcast, Unbridled Country Traditions. And of course, I am country because you can tell by my accent. But today I wanted to bring a very dear friend on. He’s very, very special to me, we go way, way back, right? And talk about the age. Really talking about bringing it forward and how his kindness and his expertise have brought me forward into the next realm of my romance books. So I call him the fashionista. You guys call him the style icon. Please welcome today, Mr. Andre Wilson. So he’s just now coming from something that I wanted to ask him about. So how did church go today with the saxophone playing? 

Andre Wilson  Okay, yeah. It went well. I think you saw that.

de de Cox  I know, most people don’t know that you do that, because you’ve never actually posted it.

Andre Wilson  Right. It’s something so close to my heart. But yeah, I started playing saxophone when I was maybe 11 or 12 years old. And I’ve been inlove with ever since and it’s something you never master, you just try and try and try and try. But hopefully, you know, you can make some beautiful music.

de de Cox  And see, and that was a little tidbit for you guys. There’s something there and this is what makes him so unique. So I want to go back to my very first meeting. It was when you were the producers, or the director, the owner of p3. Tell us just a little bit bringing that in so that I can tie into how our friendship and our bonding and our relationships taking place. Give them a little bit about p3. 

Andre Wilson  Yeah. Well, I was in the publishing business for a little bit. And I had the bright idea of starting up a magazine that focused on proms, pageants, and there was one more part of a and so I thought this is brilliant, right? Proms got it, parties got it, pageants. And as I started thinking about pageants, I knew nothing about it. And I thought, you know, you say the toddler pageant, you see, you know, the Miss USA, Miss America and I thought, okay, it’s fine. So everybody kept those was one name that kept coming up. Well, you need to talk to de de Cox. You need to talk to de de Cox and you’re talking to de de Cox. So first of all, when I didn’t understand that the pageant world was its own universe inside of the universe is out of another universe. Okay. It’s so much. I had no idea. And you tried to tell me what I was getting into. But I had no idea. I thought there were like three pageants, right? I thought there was like a USA or Miss America like a county fair. That’s that’s how I thought. I didn’t know there were 37,000 in each State,in each City, in each County, I had no idea.

de de Cox  I mean, yeah. Then on top of the mamas with the little children that can get 64,000 mama he’s dealing with. 

Andre Wilson  Right. Yeah. That’s, yeah. It was intense. It was very, very intense. But it was a learning experience. And then you and I have been just friends ever since.

de de Cox  Ever since then. 

Andre Wilson  Yeah. 

de de Cox  So I want to ask and I’m going to tell you guys, I actually saw him one time at Rhodes when we ran downtown. Remember when downtown was poppin and everything and roaches right there on the corner from the storage building. I want you to tell them, because you’ve shared with me one of the most unique experiences that you have had as a style icon as a fashionista. Who did you meet?

Andre Wilson  Okay. See, number one. Let me tell you audience, okay. Don’t start telling stories around De De it should bring you on your podcast and tell the same story. So it was around Derby Town. And I worked for this upscale clothing store and it was the Saturday there would be before I was involved with Derby. I was telling my wife that morning, I was like, you know what a celebrity is a celebrity, they put the pants on just like I do. I don’t need to take a picture of a celebrity. I don’t– for what, right? So then we’re just going throughout the day, maybe the middle afternoon. This older gentleman comes in and his wife/girlfriend, whatever. But anyway, so it was obviously his girlfriend, she was a little bit younger. However, I woke up and I’m thinking that oh my god, This guy looks for mega and as I get closer I realize it’s Tony Bennett and–

de de Cox  The crooner?

Andre Wilson  Yeah. And I’m just like, and he’s a legend. And I love, you know, playing saxophone, love jazz music. And so I was like, I was just taken. I was like, Oh, my God is Tony Bennett right here. Like, what do you say? Don’t be dumb. Don’t say anything stupid. And he was very, but he was so Tony Bennett though. Like he was like, “Hey, man, everything’s cool. Yeah. Hey, brother, it’s fine.” Like he was just so chill. He had the same cadence like, he seems. It was amazing. And so of course, I got a picture with him. And he was one of those, you know, sometimes they say, don’t meet your heroes. But he was, he was incredible. He really was.

de de Cox  Let’s see, and I love that because you guys get to see a little bit about what I have known all along, that he’s so humble. When you meet all these celebrities and different things, but yet your name is out there if you want something for the Derby, for Oakes, for and I know we call it 30 Thursday. This is a home mat. And this is how you go to when you need your passion taken care of. And so this new series that I started, I sent you a message and I said, I have a new vision. And he said send it out to me, so when you got that phone call for me to work on a romance book, what did you think?

Andre Wilson  I thought number one, I owe this lady that talent papers. So I can’t say no, because anytime I call her she is there period, like without question. I need five models. I need 10 huggers, I need 20 pageant, like it doesn’t matter. So anyway, so she calls me for various things. And we call each other but I was excited and to see somebody just number one, their dream, because I didn’t know you wanted to be a romance author that kind of came out of nowhere, right?

de de Cox  I kept it hidden. 

Andre Wilson  Right, you know. Yeah, it was like charities, charities, pageants, pageants, romance talk. So I was happening. Right, right. Right. It was I got whiplash for a minute. But anyway, I was very happy to help. And I just wanted to bring your vision to fruition, didn’t know what we were going to do with all the hair and the suit, but we got it together.

de de Cox  So when he says all the hair in the suit, he’s not talking about Heaven, the female cover model, he’s talking about my son. He’s known Bo since Bo was a little. and Bo was actually going in his fashion shows, and he had the long hair then. But I think what was so interesting to me, and I want you to tell the audience, I watched him work with my son and with Heaven, the two models that will be on Furternity Leave, the details, why are details so important?

 “There are subtle nuances that bring about a certain look. And when you study a craft, all of that matters.” -Andre Wilson

Andre Wilson  I’ll say like this [inaudible] is in the details. And there are just subtle nuances that bring about a certain look. And when you study a craft, anything, whether it’s the lapels, the stitching, the tie, the colors, all of that matters. And so I really wanted to, like bring that, if this is the character and who he was portraying, I really wanted to give him that look, and have him step into that character. And all the details was so important so he could really embody the character that you need to see for the book.

de de Cox  When you saw Heaven. And I said, Heaven is going to be, we agree that she would be the female Cover Model. You have been with Heaven as well. How was your connection with Heaven? How did you create that connection with Heaven?

Andre Wilson  Yeah. Well, I met Heaven when she was 11 or 12 years old. And so she has that look, and she has this beautiful like almost, I think she belongs in a case by gum in my mouthpiece. She’s just so perfect for it. But I really wanted to embody that, like I said, embody the character. I really like it when Jamie Fox was in the movie Way. He said that he didn’t really get it get to embody the character until he put the prosthetic eyes and he became blind. And that’s the way I feel about clothing, when you put the clothing on, it’s so important. The glasses, the jacket, the pants, how they feel, and you become that character. And it’s easy to kind of get into that role.

de de Cox  I know that we talked about the other different things that we’re going to be moving forward with the other books, which are former books, and then we want to also take possibly into a movie. Have I put too much pressure on you to do what I envision, you know, how do you handle the pressure because you are the style icon, you are the fashionista, everyone needs a little bit of something from you. And so when I am now asking you to come in a different direction, how does that make you feel?

Andre Wilson  I’m a glutton for punishment, and I knew what I was getting into when I agreed to this. Number one, let’s not act like that. It wasn’t you won’t go through 1000 curveballs at me. I knew that. So

de de Cox  But you handled it so well.

Andre Wilson  But when you know a curveball is coming you could– so anyway, no, I really, I’m used to working under pressure. And I’ve had, I feel like my day, you know, like the show Project Runway. I live it pretty much every day, every weekend when people call me up with fashion emergencies, when people calling me up with, you know, I was attending a wedding one time, and the bride busted out of her dress, had to go back. And so the dress because her mother was a seamstress, but she was the older, she couldn’t thread the needle. She couldn’t get it. And I’m not gonna say I elbowed the mother on the way and took over. But maybe I did. And so we saw them dress but fashion emergency, especially Derby time. I mean, how I met one of my first celebrity client, Valerie Bertinelli.

de de Cox  Oh, I love her.

Andre Wilson  She didn’t really pack the right things for Derby, and didn’t have a hat. I mean, and her husband, his suit was too small. So getting things under pressure,  I love I’m going to say I love working like that, but I’m built for and I can do it. And I know that you know, and sometimes it doesn’t really– the vision that really get into it. I think you think oh, we need this and we need that. So I really tried to just be there and serve your vision and do what it takes. Even though she stressed me out. I’m just gonna say it.

de de Cox  I’ve never stressed anyone out with my vision. But I do want to say something because I just now noticed that you have been appointed to a wonderful board and I want you to tell the audience about this. He’s still the fashionista. He still the style icon. But he is doing something that is making such a difference in our community and I want you to tell them what that is.

 “80 to 90% of small businesses fail no matter what color you are because business is a tough taskmaster. However, once you have some of the right things in place and people helping you that have been there before… you can improve that success rate.” -Andre Wilson

Andre Wilson  Thank you so much. And thank you for giving me time to talk about that. I was appointed the Chairman of the New Diversity Empowerment Council. And our focus is really focused on on black and minority businesses, and really help encourage entrepreneurship within the community. And you know, we’ve all been made aware of whether we wanted to look at it or not. We saw what happened in 2020. And it was in everybody’s face and there were protests and marches and all the way around. However it’s like okay, now, what do we do. And so this is a part of really dealing with the economic impact and really teaching, you know, there’s an African proverb says each one, teach one. If you have more entrepreneurs in the community, they tend to raise each other up. And so we’re really helping addressing some of those disparities. And it’s something I’ve been an entrepreneur for 20 years. And I know the challenges that I faced, that I couldn’t talk about and that I tried and was just not only having the pressure of just being an entrepreneur, because I mean, first one of the three years, maybe 80 to 90% of small businesses fail, no matter what color you are, because small business is very, very, very tough taskmaster. However, once you can get in if you have some of the right things in place, and people helping you that have been there before, they can really help you whether it’s raising fund, connecting the resources, and even flushing out your own business model. So we wanted to provide, we’re working on opening a business incubator, we’re doing trainings, we’re doing all the things to really, really help give businesses a leg up. And so we can really improve that success rate.

de de Cox  Well, I specifically want to ask you, you just said that the young entrepreneurs, it doesn’t matter the color or whatever. That’s one of the things I love about you is your philanthropy. Your philanthropy, it doesn’t matter who is foreign, your height, your color, your weight, your race, or ethnicity or whatever. What type of advice do you give a young entrepreneur? You know, what would you say to them? You know, I want to establish a business and how do I go about it? Do they come to see you? Do they come to one of the meetings? How will this take place?

“Try to study your craft and become a student, because half of your job is going to be googling it and applying it the next day. The minute you stop learning, you’re done for.”  -Andre Wilson

Andre Wilson  Yeah. I would say number one, reach out to me on my social channels. And then I would say just for any entrepreneur that before they get into business, you know, I would say number one try to study your craft, and become a student, because half of your job is going to be googling it and applying it the next day. Become a student and the minute you stop learning, you’re done for. But when you become a student, because typically, it’s I love fashion, I love design and that’s maybe 20% of what I do, but it has nothing to do with the business of running. Just like great photographers, a florist, you have to still be HR, and marketing and get customers in the door and all those things. So you have to kind of become all these things before you can start putting and then eventually we’ll start adding employees and all that but when you first start it’s just you and you have to learn and you have to apply and then sometimes you just you don’t know what you don’t know I was dealing with like a celebrity kind of sweet situation, right? And somebody was like, “Yeah. Tell you what? Send me your treatment.” And then so they just start giving us all these terminologies. I was like, “I’ll send that right over. Yes, I will. The treatment, the sizzle reel, [inaudible] Send them right over? You the sponsor to–okay, gotcha. All right.” And I’m like Google, like, what is that? You know? So

de de Cox  I think that was Michael because they send for the movie. Send us to treatment. I emailed him and I said what?

Andre Wilson  Yeah, yeah. 

de de Cox  You should Google it. 

Andre Wilson  Yeah, yeah, I mean, and that’s where you– because you don’t want to, you know, you’ve been working years to get to this spot, you’re not going to be like, Oh, I’m just saying the triple course of course, I’m going to. Yeah.

de de Cox  24 hours. Just a turn around. I got you.

“If you quit, you fail. Keep trying and keep trying and keep trying.” -Andre Wilson

Andre Wilson  And you have to learn how to study and you have to learn how to gather that information, and then apply that information. That’s the key, how do I apply it information? And that’s where we need mentors and people that help, you know, kind of been there, done that. And it sounds silly but if you quit, you fail. There’s no such thing as good. You keep trying and you keep trying, and you keep try.

de de Cox  And that’s typically, what would we dwelve in to not just the romance books, or to the vision or to movies or whatever, we continue to try, we toss a lot around. I cannot tell you guys, I sent him team emails and text messages, say, what do you think? What do you think? And I value that opinion, because I have to trust you because I don’t know that field. And that is the beauty of it. If you can give the best piece of advice that you’ve ever been given, what would that best? Oh, I know.

“We hype ourselves up on fear so much that we don’t even try… Forget your haters, forget everybody around you. Talk yourself out of it. Once you start not being afraid to fail, you start going forward.” -Andre Wilson

Andre Wilson  I’ve ever been given? Oh, I’m a sponge for like, I’ll tell you something I heard recently. Because all of it is, I mean, one of the things that really stuck with me was it was a maybe fail often and also it was fail fast, fail often. And also ask yourself, how have you failed today, okay? Because then when you ask yourself that you’re like, because what we do is we can hype ourselves up on fear so much that we don’t even try it. There’s so many people out there that are listening that always want, they always want to write a book. They’ve always wanted to start their business. They’ve always wanted to try this or try that or go here, or start that new career, or take this class or whatever. But they don’t do it because they talk themselves out of it. Forget your haters, forget everybody around you, you will talk yourself out of it. You’re your own worst enemy sometimes. So once you start not being afraid to fail, or what they’re going to say about me, then you start going forward, you start going for because they’re not talking about you. You’re not doing anything, right. Okay? I mean, and so and also, I heard this too, and it just blew my mind. A statement was if nothing changes, nothing changes. 

de de Cox  It’s true.

Andre Wilson  Why don’t you guys live with that. If nothing changes, nothing changes. And that.

de de Cox  It’s still the same.

Andre Wilson  Yeah, yeah. And so and I think to myself, we can expect change all we want to, but nothing changes if I don’t even do the small part. And then one of the, oh my god, shoeshine guy that I love, oh my God. God rest his soul. He used to say he would shine your shoes, he would drop wisdom, pearls of wisdom on you in the most like that country laughing kind of way. But he would rock your world and mess your mind up for like two weeks. When you think about what he said. He’s like, “Oh, well. You can’t steer a parked car.” And I’m like, “Well, no, you can’t.” Week later, I’m like, “Oh, wait, hold on. He said I should keep moving. He was calling me lazy. And tell me I should keep moving.” You know what I mean? So but you have to keep moving. You have to keep going and start opening your mind up to those little pearls of wisdom that you get every day. They’re out there.

de de Cox  You know, what you just said about the mentorship and the pearls of wisdom. People don’t realize or maybe the young folks don’t realize that there’s you, there’s me that is willing to help. And, you know, they, “Oh, no, he’ll never have the time for me.” So we talked time, and not a lot of us have a lot of time but as mentors, we try to make time. You have three handsome boys. [inauduble], the style icon you’ve been appointed to this new board and the most important thing is you’re working with me and my vision, 

Andre Wilson  Right. That’s the most–

de de Cox  That’s the most important thing. How do you balance time? How do you, oh and you play sax too for the church so, he’s got all that energy. So how do you balance? 

Andre Wilson  One. I want to say I get the requirement of sleep that the amount of requirement I get, but I don’t. That’s it. You just have to make time, you know, and I’m trying to be better at it. I don’t know if I’ll ever get the balance thing. My life is here and it is here and it is here. You know when I heard a guy say one time he said you know what was it? Oh, the heart monitor. Just going like that. it’s like if you’ve ever found the balance you’re dead, right?

de de Cox  Yeah. That’s right. That’s right.

Andre Wilson  No. No. I’m not cold out like. So no, I mean, just trying to make time for– and sometimes it’s not even, you know, sometimes a 15 minute conversation can change your life and somebody’s just taking the time, but I’m available, reach out to me, and I was one there. If I don’t have the answer, or to point you in the right direction and get you connected to the people that do, but sometimes we waste a lot of time.  So

de de Cox  That’s true.

Andre Wilson  I’m trying to watch not on Netflix, I’m just trying to do it less. I’m trying not to binge out on shows as much, even though I love movies, but it’s just we have to make time, we really do.

“We make time for what’s important. And you figure out through that importance how the relationship continues.” -de de cox

de de Cox And we make time, sometimes for what’s important. And you figure out through that importance how the relationship continues and I’m very blessed that you gave me the time, not only today, but for the vision of Furternity Leave, and he’s on board for the rest of them too. So I’m so excited that I don’t have to worry about the next four books or the next movie or whatever we’re going to do. So in closing, what would you say just overall your life? If you had to describe your life? What is your life like?

Andre Wilson Oh, that’s very question. I would say my life is a journey in trying to become what I am. And also this madness it’s a beautiful chaos. So one of those paintings with just blacks in colors and you have to like Stand back. And you know, hopefully at the end, it’ll make sense. It’s like, you know, we see a guy drawing something upside down, you hope he comes up with a picture. That’s what my life is, like, I’m drawing it upside down, trying to figure it out, hopefully, when I turn it all around, and it’s done, that will makes sense, you know but right now, I mean, my life is just trying to always challenge myself to be better to challenge myself to– once my mother told me one time she said if you’re the smartest, and the prettiest, okay, you’re the most successful in your group, you need a new group.

de de Cox That’s good. So please keep that in mind. And I want to tell you something, he will. If you contact him, he will follow up with you. He will help you. So Andre Wilson, my fashionistas style icon. I love you. 

Andre Wilson Let me say this while I’m busting on the podcasts. Well, I’m so proud of this lady. And this is an example just following your dreams. I mean, we all hear, I hear it all the time where people like, I always wanted to do this, but they never did. And you know, you hear people talk about the regrets at the end of your life is I wish I would have. And so you take a chance and she told me she wanted to be a romance author. Then I was like, What? How? What? Where’d that come from? But this is an incredible example of living your dreams and following your heart and doing what you love. So taking the chance so I’m very proud of you.

de de Cox I love you too. Thank you. So that is Mr. Andre Wilson. He’s my fashionista, your style icon. Could be your sax player too. But this has been the Kentucky Romance Author de de Cox, your designated driver. We are Unbridled Country Traditions. God bless.