Twenty years ago, if you’d told Vancouver’s Heidi Smith that one day she’d be going to the Oscars to hob nob with the biggest names in cinema, she would have laughed in your face. Now, she can barely believe it herself.
The 44-year-old Vancouver designer and recovering addict will be heading to Hollywood, California Friday, February 26 for the 2016 Celebrity Oscar Gift Lounge, alongside Oscar nominated actors such as Leonard DiCaprio and Cate Blanchett, to represent her company Addictive Designs.
“I struggled for so many years, switching from one [addiction] to another, just barely getting by in life,” Smith told Vancity Buzz. “Eventually I had my son and realized the guilt and shame I was carrying for one, I was starting to carry for two of us. It buried me into complete isolation to the point where I didn’t feel safe talking to anybody.”
Five years ago, things came to a head when Smith had her young son temporarily removed from her custody.
“[I knew that] that was when I needed to make change in my life. I think I was almost fortunate that it happened, because I never looked back,” she says.
It was then that Smith – a freelance graphic designer – combined her passions for writing, design, and fashion to create the Addictive Designs line. Combining the high quality shirts with messages such as “Faith,” “Sacrifice,” and “Courage,” Smith seeks to present the messages she herself sought in her time of need.
“We are not alone, and it’s okay,” she says. “It’s a disease that we can successfully conquer, but we cannot do it alone.”
After two years of hard work, Addictive Designs launched in August of 2015. The response was immediate.
“It’s been going crazy. I haven’t been able to keep up with it,” says Smith.
Smith’s journey to Hollywood began after Vancouver-based soap maker Corina Nuessler‘s product was chosen for the 2015 event. Pointing event organizers towards Addictive Designs, Smith was elated to receive the call to attend.
“I said ‘absolutely, I would love to go down,'” says Smith. “It’s way beyond my league, but nothing I cannot handle.”
Though even just attending the event will be a huge boon for Smith’s business, she says the real opportunity is in connecting with celebrities who can further promote the message of recovery.
“I’ve created a list of celebrities I’m really hoping to touch base with that are in recovery,” she says. “I’m bringing some press packages. I’m not a star struck type, but I would really love to have a backing like that.”