Walking A Mile In Heels
By MEGAN MONTALVO
Olga Maria Czarkowski
Photo by Zohn Yancy
It has been said that in order to really know someone, you first must walk a mile in their shoes.
If you were to walk a mile in Olga Maria Czarkowski’s shoes, chances are you might fall on the first step, since an average day for the Astoria resident consists of doing everything in high heels.
From taking the subway into Manhattan to once climbing the Great Wall of China, Czarkowski (nee Vargas) has built reputation on never parting from her fashion forward shoes.
Since the age of 2, Czarkowski had always loved wearing heels – a trait that comes from her mother.
“My mother was a seamstress and always had great fashion sense,” she said. “I used to love walking around the house wearing her heels.”
Her early passion for shoes paved the way for a full-time career in fashion.
When she was 18 years old, Czarkowski moved to the United States from her native Puerto Rico.
After spending some time initially in Miami, she decided to move to New York City.
“New York is where dreams come true,” Czarkowski said. “I knew that if I wanted to make it in fashion, I needed to make the move.”
Shortly after arriving in the City, she began volunteering with fashion designers, which landed her a freelance spot in the prestigious NYC Fashion Week.
Although her new life fulfilled her desire to work in fashion, the transition was not an easy one.
“It was very difficult learning English,” she said. “I had some training in Puerto Rico, but it was definitely frustrating at first. Thankfully, I had great mentors who helped me.”
While working in the fashion industry, Czarkowski has had many doors open up to her, including working with Top Model judges Ms. J Alexander and Nigel Barker, styling fashion designer Shekhar Rahate at the Brooklyn Wave Fashion Week, judging the preliminary for Miss America and working as campaign model for Huntress Stiletto Fragrance by Epiphany and Body Up Pro hairbrushes.
The success she has garnered led her to create her own public relations firm earlier this year, which she appropriately named “DREAMS in HEELS PR.”
Her clientele includes famed designer Ola Hawatmeh of Ola Style, celebrity hair stylist/make-up artist Carlos Otero, The Latino Make up Show and My Lifestyle Magazine.
Never losing focus on her desire to contribute to charity, Czarkowski also works with nonprofit organizations, including the Reginald F. Lewis Foundation, Milagros Day Worldwide, Real Beauty Real Women and Beating Cancer in Heels.
“Working with charitable organizations has always been important to me, especially ones that are dedicated to women. There are so many issues women face, but sometimes not enough attention is given to them. That is why I volunteer,” she said.
For her charitable work, Czarkowski was honored on Nov. 12 by Mastercard and Latina Magazine as a “Next Generation Latina,” along with nine other inspiring women from around the country.
With her mother by her side at the awards ceremony, she said “I never thought I would win. But, I’m happy I get to represent for strong, Latina women everywhere. It just reaffirms my mantra that I’m living my dreams in heels.”
Reach Reporter Megan Montalvo at (718) 357-7400 Ext. 128 or mmontalvo@ queenstribune.com.