Recent Press on Deborah Gregory
FASHION INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
CAREER SUCCESS SPOTLIGHT
I MADE MY FIRST DRESS BY HAND AT 11 YEARS OLD, and it was natural for me to be drawn to FIT, but I didn’t know why.
I was an orphan and grew up in the foster care system in New York City. Four years ago, I took a DNA test and had renowned genealogist Justin Salvadore trace the lineage of my unknown father back to the 1600s. What I discovered was more than just my unknown father’s identity and my paternal family tree; my grandfather, Ciro Rivieccio, was from Torre Del Greco, and my grandmother, Elisabetta Liparulo, was from Arienzo, Caserta.
My fashion talents were woven into the tapestry of my DNA. I came from a long line of Sartoria, the finest Italian tailors and dressmakers. When I met my paternal first cousin, Elizabeth, for the first time, sitting in her living room alcove was an old black Singer sewing machine.
She told me, ‘Your Aunt Filomena was a seamstress, and our grandmother, Elisabetta, was in charge of the seamstresses in a Brooklyn clothing factory.’ I told her about my prized possession.
When I was 12, a man bought me a white portable Singer sewing machine.
I began attending FIT at 17. FIT was a standout school. I had lots of girlfriends who were beautiful, and I had my first gay friends! They would shout down the hallway, ‘Miss Deborah!! It was pronounced ‘De-bor-ah,’ so I became ‘Miss Deborah.’ It was a great school to go to.
I went on to get a BS in English literature and writing, but the only way I could get into the magazines was as a fashion and beauty writer. Thanks to my fashion background, I opened a plus-size boutique called Toto in New York in Soho, I was able to maneuver my way into a writing career and began as a contributing writer for Essence Magazine.
I went on to create ‘The Cheetah Girls’ franchise, and one look at the concept tells you it is imbibed with my ‘Cheetahlicious’ style sensibility.
Growl power forever!
“Back Issue” Podcast Cheetah Girls Episode Out Now!
Episode “In Our Cheetah-licious Era”
THE DAILY BEAST: “Long Live ‘The Cheetah Girls,’ Disney Channel’s Most Revolutionary Film”
Before 2003, Disney Channel had never produced a film specifically for Black and brown girls. Twenty years later, a generation of women is still grateful that they did.
Brittany the Book Slayer: Cheetah Girls Author, Deborah Gregory, gets WILD!
Hello Beautiful – “Cheetah Girls” Creator, Deborah Gregory, Pens Tween Series, “Catwalk”
Profile Magazine – Living Legend: Deborah Gregory
HUE Magazine, Alumni Magazine of The Fasion Institute of Technology:
Farewell to a Supermodel, Naomi Sims by Deborah Gregory
American Cheerleader Magazine: Time Out With: Cheetah Girls creator Deborah Gregory
My Brown Baby Blog: The My Brown Baby Happy For the Holidays CHILDREN’S BOOK GIVEAWAY!
ABC 7 Online Video & Text: ‘The Cheetah Girls’ creator talks to EWN
UrbanBeautyCollective.com: PURRLICIOUS AND PLUS SIZE, PUHLEESE!
Official Random House Press Release for: Catwalk: Strike A Pose
hollywoodreporter.com: The N takes a stroll with ‘Catwalk’
Juiciliciousss Reviews: Author Wednesdays with…Deborah Gregory
The Philadelphia Inquirer: Social Circuit
PlusModelMag.com – Deborah Gregory, “Feline Fatale”
Fun on Friday: CATWALK by Deborah Gregory Bowllan’s Blog
Cheetah, Who? Kalamazoo Gazette
The Cat’s Meow: Novelist Deborah Gregory (EurWeb.com)
A passion for fashion
By Kara Warne
Special to amNewYork
Daily Variety, November 15, 2002
DISNEY TWIRLS ‘GIRLS’
Houston, Chase produce cabler’s first tuner
By Melissa Grego
The Disney Channel has teamed with Whitney Houston to produce the cable network’s first musical telepic, “The Cheetah Girls.” The project is based on Deborah Gregory’s series of “Cheetah Girls” books from Walt Disney Co.-owned Hyperion division Jump at the Sun. Gregory is also a co-producer on the project. Raven Symone (“The Cosby Show”) who stars in upcoming Disney Channel series “That’s So Raven,” ; pop singers Adrienne Bailon and Kiely Williams, of the band 3LW; and Sabrina Bryan (“The Bold and the Beautiful”) star as four Gotham ninth-graders who dream of becoming dancing and singing superstars. Pic marks the 3LW members’ acting debut.
“It’s a multiracial ‘Clueless.’ It’s all about friends, fashion and fake fur,” Gary Marsh, Disney Channel’s executive VP of original programming and production told Daily Variety. Lynn Whitfield (“The Josephine Baker Story”) co-stars as a model-turned-fashion designer who is the supportive mother of one of the girls. Deal for Whitfield, who also co-stars in Chris Rock’s “Head of State” for DreamWorks, was brokered by her manager, Danielle Allman, and William Morris Agency. “Cheetah” being shot in Toronto for an August preem, is budgeted at about $4.5 million, considerably more than a typical Disney Channel original movie.
“You won’t be seeing people breaking out in song, but there are four big production numbers,” Marsh said. “It is a music-driven movie, much more so than anything we’ve done before.”
Houston and Debra Martin Chase (“The Princess Diaries”) are executive producers of the pic, a production of Martin Chase Prods/Brownhouse Productions in association with the Disney Channel. Oz Scott (“Tears and Laughter: The Joan and Melissa Rivers Story”) is directing from a teleplay by Alison Taylor (“The Wayans Bros.”). Troy Liddell is choreographer. “The Cheetah Girls” wil feature original songs performed by the four girls with a soundtrack release on Hollywood Records. Raven’s “That’s So Raven,” Disney Channel’s first multicam laffer with a studio audience, bows Jan. 17. The involvement of Raven, who is repped by Osbrink Agency and managed by her father, Chris Pearman, is emblematic of Disney Channel’s talent strategy, which is to see stars of its series and movies move between both forms.
Bailon and Williams are managed by Michelle Williams and repped by Writers & Artists Agency. Bryan is repped by Abrams Artists Agency and managed by Sharon Berg. Gregory’s deal was brokered by attorney Lita Richardson. WMA reps both Chase and Houston.
SISTER II SISTER, JANUARY 2003
The two 3LW ladies star as “The Cheetah Girls”
The remaining members of the pop group 3LW will star in a new movie about a multiracial girl group. Kiely Williams andAdrienne Bailon have been added to the cast of the Disney Channel original film, The Cheetah Girls, based on the book series of the same name written by Essence contributing writer Deborah Gregory (who also serves as the film’s co-producer), follows the life of a teenage singing group. The film is produced by Whitney Houston, Debra Martin Chase and Cheryl Hill. It will shoot in Toronto and is expected to be released this summer. I asked 3LW’s manager, Tse Williams, why they kept ex-member Naturi on 3LW’s CD cover and liner notes. She told me she felt that the other two group members didn’t start the public display of the breakup and that Naturi contributed to the album. She thought it would have been petty to take her picture and thank-you’s off the album.
ESSENCE MAGAZINE, April 2003
BOOKS TO FILM
Films based on novels by Black authors that actually make it to the silver screen can be counted on one hand. While many books are optioned for television and movies, few are “green-lighted” for production by studio executives. An exception is The Cheetah Girls, based on a Hyperion preteen book series by ESSENCE contributing writer Deborah Gregory. The Disney Channel original movie (which is scheduled to air on the ABC family network in August) charts the rise of a “tween” singing group and features Lynn Whitfield (The Josephine Baker Story), Raven-Symone (The Cosby Show), Adrienne Bailon and Kiely Williams (from the R&B group 3LW) and Sabrina Bryan (The Bold and the Beautiful). “Going from book to screen is a long process—and getting past developmental hell is a victory,” explains Gregory. “This is also the first time the Disney Channel has bankrolled a musical such as this so seeing a vehicle about young black and latin girls is unique. I hope it will be the first of many.”