Brooke Shields gets it.
Yes, graduation day is all about celebrating the culmination of years of learning, growing, studying, advancing and ultimately completing a grueling and exhilarating college experience.
But, on that triumphant day, as graduates file across the stage in floor-draping gowns of the academic variety to receive their hard-earned degrees, one thing is always certain—all eyes are on the shoes.
“You’ll see that what has inspired you [over time] has been surprisingly constant; let that continue to inform you as you work with and for other people because that passion—that driving force— is who you are and it’s at the root of your unique voice,” the actress, author and entrepreneur told graduates. “It’s made you happy—just like picking amazing shoes. I was looking around at all the shoes that were going by because that’s your voice that’s being represented and it’s [being represented] from your feet up!”
And Shields wasn’t kidding, the room was full of expressive styles with Christian Louboutin and Giuseppe Zanotti being some stand-out favorites.
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Shields, a graduate of Princeton University, best-selling author and award-winning television and movie star, commanded the attention of graduates at the 2015 Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), State University of New York Commencement exercise on May 21 as a keynote speaker.
This year, FIT graduated a total of 4,000 students, with degrees in nearly 50 different areas of study. One ceremony, for the School of Art & Design was held at 10:30 a.m., during which Shields spoke. The second ceremony, for the School of Business and Technology and School of Liberal Arts, during which Saks Fifth Avenue president Marc Metrick spoke, took place at 3 p.m.
Shields encouraged graduates of the school with notable alumni like Calvin Klein and Brian Atwood to “make mistakes and grow from them,” even making light of some of her own misgivings over the years.
“Why did I date George Michael?” Shield’s laughed. “I didn’t know…I didn’t know.”
Among her other gems of wisdom, Shields told students to “be fair to [themselves]” as their will be “bleak times” in their careers during which opportunities are few or undesirable.
“What do you really want to accomplish as an artist?” Shields asked the graduates. “If you want guaranteed money, go work on Wall Street. If you want fame, go be a Kardashian!”
Success, Shields asserted, “entails continuous hard work and tenacity.”
And comfortable, stylish shoes, of course.
We’re sure she meant to tack that sentence on at the end.