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Let's go inside some of the industry's greatest closets off the runway and off camera.  Everything on this site is handpainted by the author. Follow me on Instagram @theclosetinterview and @annthaden.

Mercedes Young

Mercedes Young

Today I’m meeting Mercedes Young in Los Angeles.   Mercedes is an actress and author of the empowering children’s book “Look At All the Things My Hair Can Do”.  See Mercedes navigate single life in Italy on Bravo TV’s To Rome for Love and follow her @mercedescyoung!

Hello, It’s Ann.  It’s great to see you.  Can I interview your closet? Sure.

A view of a street in Trastevere.

A view of a street in Trastevere.

First of all congratulations on your adventurous choice to seek adventure and romance abroad for Bravo!  How many suitcases did you bring and how did you decide on what to pack?  I ended up bringing four suitcases.  I feel like I packed everything in my closet because I never wanted to run out of options! I also took an empty duffel bag since I planned on doing plenty of shopping in Rome! The weather was so hot so I’m glad I had a lot to choose from as well as having access to the cleaners downstairs.

Zara polka dot dress available  here.  

Zara polka dot dress available here. 

Rome has some of the best shopping in Europe.  Did you score anything amazing while you were there?  What were some of your favorite places to go shopping? I have to admit that of all of places it was Zara.   The Zara in Rome is unlike anything you’ve seen in the U.S.  It has three stories with completely different inventory.  Definitely more colorful and adventurous.  I found a white dress with polka dots, floral jacket and this great t-shirt white with ruffles that has a West Side Story/Latina Vibe.   I also ended up buying an incredible ball gown with a heart shaped neckline with rhinestones.  Overall there is amazing fashion in Rome!

The facade of Zara on Via del Corso.

The facade of Zara on Via del Corso.

What advice would you give to fellow gorgeous young women looking to date Italian style?  Be excited!  There are a lot of opportunities to meet interesting guys.  If you are African American definitely be prepared for a lot of attention!  There’s a lot of partying too, on a typical night you might start with an appertivo and head to the Club and before you know it it’s 6 in the morning!   Also whatever you do don’t wear stilettos.  Try a block heel, otherwise your shoes will get destroyed by the cobblestones.  I ended up extending my trip after the show was done and loved having a more authentic experience in Rome.  I still got lots of attention but it was nice to interact with people without all the cameras. 

Alexander Wang Satin block heel sandals available at  Barneys.

Alexander Wang Satin block heel sandals available at Barneys.

What is your favorite place in Rome and why?  Definitely the Trevi Fountain- it’s so majestic and it’s magical listening to the sound of the water. It’s breathtaking, you have to see it!  

What’s your favorite pair of jeans? Where and why did you buy them? Actually it’s my Fashion Nova high waist jeans in a light/medium wash.  Great fit and great price!

Trevi Fountain.JPG

Do you prefer television or movies? Which if any movies or shows has inspired your style?  I prefer tv as opposed to movies because I feel like you can build a long term relationship with the characters and watch how their story lines develop.  I love watching Insecure.


What did you wear the last time you went out?  I went to a Watch Party and wore a two piece long sleeve top with a long skirt with a fur vest.  It was a gift from one of my friends! 

Where did you go and what did you order?  The party was In New Orleans at 14 Parishes.  It was a very intimate gathering with amazing centerpieces.  Afterwards we went to a hookah lounge to have a nightcap.


What song keeps showing up the most on your playlist?  Luther Vandross, Drake, Israel Houghton, Cardi B &  Truthcity. 



If you could go on a $5,000 shopping spree anywhere in the world, where would you go and what would you buy?  I would go to Paris.  I haven’t been there yet even though I’ve traveled a lot! I love boutiques because they have rare finds you wouldn’t see anyone else wearing.  I don’t want what other people are wearing or anything generic looking.  Plus I think it’s awkward to match someone else!

Dodo Bar Or Crop Trop available  here. 

Dodo Bar Or Crop Trop available here. 

Who is the most interesting person you follow on Instagram? It’s my shero- Issa Rae! 

What is something one of your friends has in their closet that you want to borrow and never return?  Does it have to be clothes? Because I would love to borrow my friend’s G- Wagon and not bring it back!

Fendi Bag Bugs keychain available  here.

Fendi Bag Bugs keychain available here.

If you could collaborate with anyone onscreen who would it be and what sort of project do you envision? Viola Davis.  She is phenomenal! I’d love to work with her on How to get away with Murder or any project with her onscreen!  I love her to pieces.

Fill in the blanks regarding your closet!

I should throw away this every white t shirt because they never wash properly but I could never part with my high school/college class t-shirts because I’m sentimental. 

Zimmerman painted silk shorts available  here. 

Zimmerman painted silk shorts available here. 

 I spend too much money on traveling but saved a lot of money on hair/nails.

I would love attend Milan Fashion Week and see this designer Givenchy.

Squash Blossom Brass earrings available by custom order at  GeoFlora Jewelry.

Squash Blossom Brass earrings available by custom order at GeoFlora Jewelry.

I wear this fragrance I got a bunch of oils from Egypt that Chanel uses and I also love Hale Berry’s Fragrance Hale  but I love smelling this fragrance on someone else Invictus.

Thanks for letting me interview your closet Mercedes.  I’m glad I got to know you better too.  Now would you mind if I borrowed your polka dot dress from Zara?  

Filip Odžak

Filip Odžak

Anthony E. Byrne

Anthony E. Byrne