Friday, January 31, 2014
Star of American Pickers brings antiques ideas to Grapevine
See her Saturday at Fashion & Flea.
You might think it’d be a monumental leap from a Jehovah’s Witnesses girlhood to a life of burlesque dancing, roller-derby team ownership, fashion design and reality show stardom.
Not so, says Danielle Colby of the History Channel’s hit show American Pickers. “I beg to differ with you on that,” she says with a laugh, by phone from her home in Chicago. “All of my friends who left the faith became strippers, just about every one of them. They saved money and paid for college and got great jobs.”
She didn’t exactly go that route, but instead spent time in a lot of different jobs, including creating her own erotic dance troupe, Burlesque le’Moustache, and owning a roller-derby team (and skating in it) with her two sisters. But Colby has gained true stardom from Pickers, in which she helps dudes Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz with their business of traversing the country buying collectibles and antiques.
Colby, 38, will be in Grapevine this weekend to meet fans at Vintage Promotions’ Fashion & Flea, which will feature merchandise, clothing, jewelry and more. “I’m sure I’ll be looking for things to buy, too,” Colby adds, “because to be at a vintage event is like going home for me.”
She grew up in Iowa, the daughter of “good parents who had a very liberal lifestyle, they were hippies. … Then they became Jehovah’s Witnesses, in a drug-induced haze or whatever,” she says, “and we grew up in this very strict, religious atmosphere where we were going to church three times a week, not including field service where we went out and knocked on people’s doors.”
She says she saw so much hypocrisy that it completely turned her off of religion, and she’s typically outspoken about it. “So I just decided I was going to be completely out there in my life. I have a no-[expletive] policy. You can take me or leave me, but I will always show you the real me.”
American Pickers, she says, “has changed my life in every conceivable way. … The notoriety has woken me up to the true nature of people, and some of that has been very good and some very negative. I definitely have a more keen understanding of people, and of protecting myself against energy vampires.”
Her husband couldn’t handle her burgeoning fame when the show took off, she says, and she’s now a single mom to son Miles, 17, and daughter Memphis, 13. Colby’s retro- and antiques-inspired boutique in Chicago, 4 Miles 2 Memphis, is named for them. It’s closed now as she looks for a new location, but she expects the store to open again this spring or summer.
Wherever she’s picking, you can be pretty sure she’ll also be grinning. Colby says she believes that life’s bumps make people more precious, not unlike some of the vintage wares she finds for American Pickers.
“I’ve gone through some really hard times, but that’s what makes us grow and become stronger, more beautiful: We endure.”
Plan your life: The Fashion & Flea will take place from 3 to 8 p.m. Friday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Grapevine Convention Center, 1209 S. Main St. Danielle Colby will meet fans on Saturday afternoon (time not specified). Admission is $6 per person, online or at the event. 214-329-9818. grapevineflea.com.
On Twitter: @joytipping