Have you heard an excellent rag to riches story lately? Listen to Andy and his guest, Monte Durham, discuss how he went from growing up with no running water to becoming a hugely successful fashion expert and one of the stars of TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress, Atlanta, where he had been the fashion director at Bridals by Lori, the south’s premier bridal salon.

Monte shares his life in small-town West Virginia, how he was bullied and how that contributed to the man he is today. He discusses going to junior college, then a fashion program that led him to dressing mannequins before he started dressing people. Monte also speaks about wanting to style hair and going to beauty school when he was thirty-two.

Listen, as Monte discusses his position at a bridal salon where he met Lori Allen, how she got him to work for her, and how she insisted that he star with her in the pilot for Say Yes to the Dress Atlanta, which had 10 seasons! Monte gives us insight into the show from the psychology involved with helping a bride find a wedding dress to dealing with the entourage and the drama they bring. 

Monte also shares about the new salon he is opening up in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, and all the unique details he has researched to make sure it will be the best experience you can have when going to a salon. This is an excellent interview with a fascinating, humble, down-to-earth yet charismatic industry star who you most certainly do not want to miss.



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Show Highlights:

[02:56] Monte, I am so excited to have you on the show!

[03:21] Monte shares about growing up in very humble surroundings with no running water and an outhouse.

[05:31] How do you think growing up that way has affected you even today?

[06:51] Monte speaks about being bullied once his family moved to Virginia.

[09:49] How did the bullying manifest?

[11:54] Monte shares that he spent a lot of time with art teachers and choirs to stay hidden from the other kids and how that gave him confidence.

[13:20] What did you do after high school? Did you go to college?

[14:38] Monte discusses going to a fashion school where he got a job as a model before graduating.

[17:30] Monte shares that he used to go to New York when he lived in DC and go to Studio 54, back when it was so popular.

[19:55] How did you go from dressing mannequins to dressing people?

[21:24] Monte speaks about going to beauty school when he was thirty-two and how he qualified to go to London to do hair on stage.

[23:10] He worked at Elizabeth Arden’s Red Door doing hair when he graduated from beauty school.

[25:10] Monte discusses being asked by a bridal salon to style hair for their brides.

[26:42] Monte shares getting invited by a client to do trunk shows for her.

[27:17] Monte shares a story about meeting Lori Allen from Bridals By Lori, and why he began working for her.

[29:04] Monte discusses Lori calling him to film a pilot of TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress, Atlanta.

[30:35] Did they give you instruction to create drama for the show?

[31:49] Monte describes how he felt when the show got picked up for a second season.

[33:54] Monte shares a story about the first time he was recognized in public.

[36:38] Monte speaks about the psychology involved with finding a bride the perfect wedding dress.

[39:19] What do you recommend when it comes to bringing someone with you when trying on your gown?

[40:39] Monte chats about the conflict that they have on the show around the entourage that comes with the bride.

[43:41] Monte speaks about bridesmaid dresses and the problems that stem from them.

[45:55] How do you feel about color? Do you encourage it?

[46:49] Monte shares about opening a new hair salon and how elegant it will be.

[49:15] He speaks about a new reality show he will start around salon culture.

[52:30] Monte discusses his new hair care line that is for sale on Amazon.

[54:10] Monte chats about the care he took in finding the perfect shampoo chairs and sinks for his new salon.

[57:24] How do you view success?

[58:15] Thank you for being on the show today!

[58:28] Please share this with your friends in and outside of the business.




Find Monte:

Monte Durham

Monte’s Hair Care line, available on Amazon.


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Title Sponsor: This episode is sponsored by Kushner Entertainment