| IT ALL STARTED WITH ELVIS |
Shelby first moved to Tennessee about 4 years ago from a small town in Connecticut to live with a best friend. She made it to Nashville shortly thereafter and was hooked. “I got a retail job downtown and I’ve been stuck here ever since.” She’s a talented painter, model, and swing dancer. The first thing you notice about Shelby Rossi when you meet her is her appearance. Never have I met someone so passionate and refined in style. Her life breaths and bleeds from another era. From the retro styled hair to the vintage heals to the wicked cool tattoos. You see her and just expect a Cadillac with The King behind the wheel to pick her up at any moment. Shelby is a bold and beautiful statement of what nostalgia is all about.
“It started with Elvis. My dad loved Elvis. My mother loved Elvis, and everything 50’s.” Growing up with older brothers that taught her “not to take shit”, and having a grandmother that taught her to take pride in her womanhood and appearance, Shelby has a very unique mixture of womanly class and tomboy qualities. With interests ranging from cars and tattoos, to music and vintage style, her life is a visually stunning masterpiece.
“I feel like my style is who I am, and when you see me you know exactly what I am about. I love the class, the visual. I love the 50’s style living room. The women that took pride and dressed up everyday. The beautiful dresses. The memories. It’s what I grew up with, it’s what I remember. There are times when I don’t dress like this and put on a slayer shirt and pretend to be normal, or go out in jeans and sneakers, but there’s always a part of me that loves when I do go out and wear heels. I feel like it’s an alter ego, and I feel more confident.”
Working downtown has really grown Shelby’s love of the city. “My hometown is small and sheltered. I graduated with 80 people and you know everyone. Here you can go a month without seeing the same person twice, or you can run into them every night. There’s a sense of community here that I love. And everyone is so different. Everyone embraces each other, they want to get to know each other. And working downtown on broadway I get to meet a lot of people that I would have never met back home.”
I had never really met someone like Shelby before. I try to live by the rule of not judging a book by it’s cover, but I will say there is a wonderful quality you may not expect about Shelby. Her style is striking and her tattoos proudly visible, yet Shelby is quiet, modest, full of humility, and what I would describe as truly wholesome. She has a very kind heart, and cares deeply for her friends and family. She is someone I’m very proud to say is my friend.
| NOT A SINGLE COMPLAINT |
I met Shelby in the summer of 2012 because of friend of another friend of a friend. (Seriously… Facebook is just ridiculous.) I instantly knew that I had to have her on camera. So we made plans to have a shoot. Set a date on a weekend and made it happen. We started the day with Steak & Shake. With the outfit she had on she made the place look modern. After breakfast we drove aimlessly around Tennessee. This is one of the longest shoots I’ve ever had, and I’m still amazed looking back at how well it turned out.
I was driving a very tiny, none air conditioned pickup truck in 90-degree heat. We had no idea where we were going. I recall Shelby having to change outfits in the most unusual locations, and even with all this… the heat… the uncomfortable ride… the lack of privacy… this wonderful lady had not a single complaint. And honestly I think if I ever asked her to do it all over again she would. (Thankfully now I have a/c. Cheers to you Miss Shelby.)
So after this 12 hour adventure all over Tennessee, we called it a day. And this ended up being one of my favorite shoots ever. I’m forever thankful and still love sharing these gems with others. Because when I do the common reaction is pure joy and amazement at Shelby’s beauty and vintage style.
So please enjoy. And thanks again Shelby.