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The Ultimate ‘Ro’ Tamez

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Fashionista: at press time, Houstonian Rolando Tamez was still competing in Bravo’s The Fashion Show: Ultimate Collection.

The homegrown fashion designer shares his reality
by Marene Gustin • Photo by Virginia Sherwood/Bravo

Because we can’t have enough reality TV stars in town, along comes 24-year-old Rolando “Ro” Tamez, now starring on Bravo’s The Fashion Show: Ultimate Collection.

“It just fell into my lap,” says the slender, sexy, and long-locked fashion designer. “A friend texted me to e-mail someone about my designs, and I did. I didn’t even know what it was for.”

The next thing he knew, he was auditioning and then shooting the second season of the show hosted by fashion legends Isaac Mizrahi and Iman, whom Tamez calls “just great.”

What’s really notable about the national TV show is that it features two hometown contestants: Tamez and Cesar Galindo.

“They actually had us room together,” Tamez says. “I think because some people still think we are riding horses down here. But Galindo’s now my mentor—he says I remind him of him at my age. He’s trying to drag me to New York right now, but I’m staying here. We have so much talent here [with fashion designers and] actresses. I want to stay here and raise the standard in Houston.”

Galindo even flew back home to join his pal Tamez for the premiere viewing party at a packed Crocker Bar, along with a few fashion luminaries from New York City and Paris.

But it hasn’t always been bright lights and fame for Tamez.

His teenage years weren’t exactly a walk in the park for the budding fashionista, who describes his high school as Redneck Central.

“I went to Magnolia High School—I told you, redneck!” he cries in his rapid-fire speech. “Yes, I was bullied. I don’t know if it was my long hair, or because I was so skinny. But you know what? It made me stronger.

“I actually tried not to end up in any kind of gay industry,” Tamez admits. “But fashion became very important to my self-esteem. I want people to look at my creations and judge me by that, not by my sexuality.”

Tamez started creating when his mom took him to a vintage shop when he was 12 and he fell in love with the clothes. He started to buy vintage clothing and reconstruct the pieces into gorgeous gowns for his girlfriends. At 18 he headed to Dallas, where he graduated from Wade College with an associate design degree in 2008. Now back home in Houston, he’s creating a website portal (rofashions.com) to sell his unique vintage-inspired gowns. He’s also working on a line of more casual clothes.

“I would love to have a storefront here someday,” he says.

In the meantime, this darling, bubbly young designer is also big into physical fitness and having fun. He started working out with his gal-pals about a year ago, jogging and playing volleyball.

“They were all saying they were so fat—and they aren’t! But we all decided to start working out, and now I just love it. Just like fashion, physical fitness is all about self-esteem.”

And he’s just started dating someone special. He says he’s very happy right now with his love life, and life. And his tacos.

“I love Jack in the Box tacos,” he says with no hint of guilt. “Really, I can eat eight of them! I’m not picky about
my food.”

Luckily, he is picky about his gorgeous designs. You can check out his style at bravotv.com/the-fashion-show-ultimate-collection/photos?field_collection_nid=72750.

The Crocker Bar, at 2312 Crocker Street, is hosting Fashion Show viewing parties Tuesday nights at 9 p.m. while Tamez remains on the Bravo series. Call 713/529-3355 for more information.

Marene Gustin is a frequent contributor to OutSmart magazine.

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Marene Gustin

Marene Gustin has written about Texas culture, food, fashion, the arts, and Lone Star politics and crime for television, magazines, the web and newspapers nationwide, and worked in Houston politics for six years. Her freelance work has appeared in the Austin Chronicle, Austin-American Statesman, Houston Chronicle, Houston Press, Texas Monthly, Dance International, Dance Magazine, the Advocate, Prime Living, InTown magazine, OutSmart magazine and web sites CultureMap Houston and Austin, Eater Houston and Gayot.com, among others.

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