Apparently fashion and forensics have more in common than I thought.
Who would ever suspect that in the recent past, stylist, blogger and UAL sales associate Audrey Rhodes was a cop? After meeting at the discount designer store, the “poor gal’s mecca,” I had to ask, “Are there any tricks you learned in law enforcement that are equally as valuable in retail?”
“Never to take things people say personally,” she deadpanned.
“You were totally the pretty cop everyone hit on weren’t you?”
She laughed. “Yeah but it’s like, why the hell would I go out with someone who is currently in handcuffs?”
Whether on the hunt for fingerprints or a thrift store frock, it is the Georgia native’s love for the hunt that has helped her excel in both avenues. After dodging bullets for nearly a decade, Audrey is catering to the public in a different, yet equally altruistic, form of customer service.
How did you know that you’d be a good fit for law enforcement?
I am very even-keeled when it comes to my emotions, which is imperative as a cop. We rectify situations while remaining objective. You meet everyone on the worst day of their lives, which teaches you to never let other people’s stupidity strengthen your insecurities.
Why were you drawn to that particular profession?
Like fashion, the quest for truth and justice was my calling. It’s the only reason I could have risked my life day in and out.
How did it shape the way you saw the world?
As a cop, I had to deal with so many traumatic situations, then turn around and be entirely neutral. You’re completely going against the way human beings are wired. I am still slightly suspicious of everything and everyone around me. It’s hard to let my guard down. On the other hand, I am now a lot more empathetic. Whether it’s a jerky customer or someone cutting me off in traffic, you never know what someone is going through.
Why swing the pendulum from law enforcement to fashion?
When everyone you meet wants to, or could, harm you, you become fairly cynical. After nine years it was time to go. Plus, since my teens, I’d always loved clothes, shopping and creativity.
I am the most nit picky person who notices, and double checks every single detail. Being super thorough, as a cop, can lead you to the best fingerprints of your life. As a stylist it means you’ll go the mile to get every inch of an outfit right.
What do you miss most about law enforcement?
That I could look at a criminal and say “You’re insulting my intelligence, you idiot!” It’s about taking control of a situation to extract information.
How did you transition into retail?
After I left my precinct I managed a boutique in Georgia however, quickly felt as though I had hit the glass ceiling back home. I had to branch out beyond, which is why I moved to Nashville. Here, I can wear suspenders and a bow tie without getting a bunch of crazy looks.
Were you always a fashion fanatic?
Not at ALL! My three sisters don’t care about clothes and my mom is happy wearing a Dixie Girls t-shirt and jeans. When I was a preteen I played soccer and was often mistaken for a boy. My own trajectory is proof that if you take an interest in something, you can be good at it.
How would you advise others to create their own unique look?
Wear what you want to wear, and don’t give a crap what anyone says. People should constantly push past their comfort zones and take baby steps to dressing a little more boldly. Confidence is key.
I dig your soulful approach to an oftentimes shallow industry.
Fashion is my form of self-expression and has taught me how to be true to myself. Insecurity breeds bad behavior. By standing with confidence, even if it starts on the surface, we can really embrace the good in life.
Follow more of Audrey’s adventures on her blog.