On the day that I interviewed Sondra Celli for my radio show, she was busy getting dress orders done for something American Gypsies call Car Parties. A Car Party, as Sondra explained to me, is an event where gypsies (mainly children) get gussied up in $8,000 rhinestone dresses to stand around their new car. Yes, it’s a party for the car.
And, so we enter the world of American Gypsies.
Being a fan of TLC’s “My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding”, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to interview THE go-to designer for American Gypsies, and the designer we see on the TLC mega-hit, Sondra Celli, for my radio show.
As visually arresting, culturally fascinating and unbelievably intriguing as the show is, after watching an episode, I often found myself left with more questions than answers. I wanted to know things that the show didn’t disclose. Things like, how much the dresses Sondra created cost, what gypsies did with the gowns after they were done with them and if they really do give Sondra that razor thin deadline to create them?
I was also incredibly curious about the way the gypsies live. To us Gorgers (non gypsies) the gypsy world seems riddled with contradictions and disturbing lifestyle choices. They are people of high morals and devout religious faith, yet the girls are often seen parading around half naked. Education is not encouraged (eighth grade is usually the max a gypsy will attend school), first cousins are often married off and once a girl has her big wedding day, her life, as portrayed on the show, seems reduced to cleaning a trailer with a bucket of bleach and a sponge.
On the day of the interview, prepared to tread lightly with Sondra, especially about the lifestyle choices the gypsies, I was pleasantly surprised that Sondra offered up answers to all my questions, and then some. Not only did she finally give me the full scoop on the burning questions that we’ve all had about this culture, but she told me things that, as viewers of the show, we will never see televised. To say she was very forthcoming would be an understatement. In addition, I found Sondra to be one of the coolest women I’ve met in a long time. Having done business with the gypsies for thirty years now, she managed to disclose the information we’ve all been dying to know, while still showing respect for the lifestyle choices of the gypsies calling them “the most hospitable people she has ever met.”
And, if you don’t know, Sondra Celli has her own show, “Bling It On”, airing September 20th on TLC where we will see the other side of Sondra Celli’s successful business. Contrary to what many think, Sondra doesn’t only design over-the-top gypsy gowns. She has a huge communion, Bat Mitzvah, christening and special event business…all which encompasses her love of bling. Where did Sondra’s love of bling come from? Well you’ll have to listen to the show to find out.
To hear my exclusive one-on-one interview with Sondra Celli, you can listen to the show here.