Serena Dazzles Down the Aisle

Meet Michelle Meneses, the woman responsible for what is possibly the most sparkly tennis shoe to ever glitz its way down an aisle. Armed with thousands of Swarovski Crystals and a glue gun, Michelle played an unexpectedly important role on Serena's special day. 

So how does one get the gig being Serena's designated bedazzler? A little bit of luck and A LOT of crystals. 

1) Serena just posted you on her instagram page: what has the response been like to your work? Is it overwhelming?

Well it's definitely been overwhelmingly positive. I've not seen a single negative comment as I’ve scanned through as many possible. It’s really  exciting to see all the feedback. I was definitely not it expecting it to go that viral.

Serena dances in her Michelle Meneses' designed shoes

Serena dances in her Michelle Meneses' designed shoes

2) How long have you been bedazzling shoes?

I have a normal full-time job, but I've bedazzling on the side for a few years. It’s a 50/50 thing that I try to balance out. But I don't only bedazzle shoes. I am very truly passionate about bedazzling just about anything: clothing, books, purses, you name it. 

3) What sparked your bedazzling passion?

I’ve always had a passion for art and design, I just never had the opportunity to really pursue it. And I honestly just fell into this and it’s evolved over time.

4) Had you bedazzled other shoes of Serena's or was this your first time working with her?

Yes, last year when she held a dance-off between her and Venus, that was the first time I worked with Serena. It was a unitard aerial arts custom suit and I rhinestoned it with thousands of Swarovski Crystals. It was spectacular, and she actually won the competition.

5) What was the process like to design the unitard with her?

With the unitard, I drew out a sketch of what my vision was. Then, I sent to Serena, and she approved it or sent in her suggestions, and then I went on to rhinestone it.

Original sketch of Serena's unitard 

Original sketch of Serena's unitard 

4) When you got the call to design her shoes for her wedding, what was that moment like?

She had messaged me around midnight, and the next morning I had the shoes on my front door. I had about 24 hours to complete the project. I had to be determined, and give myself pep talks and just went for it. But it was really exciting.

5) Did you already have the crystals or did you have to go buy them?

I have them. I am always stocked up and ready to bedazzle.

6)  Did she already have a design in mind, or did you have to do it on the fly?

This time there was no time to do a drawing of any kind. I just kind of trusted that she had liked my previous work. But she did have a vision as well, and that was for the shoe to be really shiny and I made sure that it was.  

5) Did you feel any pressure to make sure the shoe was perfect?

I knew I was going against the clock. As I was working on the shoe I would play mind games, and say, “Okay, if it took me this amount of time to do this side of the shoe..." I would then multiply by how many sections I had left to determine how much time I had. I had to make sure to get it sent off on Fed-Ex on the morning of her wedding day to New Orleans.

7) How many crystals were on the shoes?

It’s hard to say exactly, but there were at least a couple thousand Swarovski Crystals.

8) What was that moment like to see pictures of her wearing it at wedding or seeing her wear them?

It was awesome. To be part of her wedding day was a dream come true, for me. I’ve always wanted my work to come to light, so when I saw the photos of her wearing them at her wedding, it was really meaningful for me. I do this solely for the love it because it’s a passion of mine, not just a hobby.

For the Major League Girls reading this, you can also bedazzle your own tennis shoes. Watch this YouTube video for tips on how to start your own shoe bedazzling kit.

Anya Alvarez