'Say Yes to the Dress': Who is Randy Fenoli? Here's how host went from farm boy to millionaire fashion designer
Randy Fenoli's inspiring journey from a poor farm boy growing up with an abusive father to a successful TLC Host will leave you speechless
Amid all the chaos and drama at the Kleinfeld Bridal studio while the brides are looking for their perfect wedding dress, designer/ host Randy Fenoli comes across as a lovable voice of reason, who gently guides the brides in finding their perfect outfit for their big day. While Randy may come off as a sophisticated gentleman on the show, the popular designer had his fair share of obstacles to cross before experiencing success in the world of designing.
For starters, Randy's humble beginnings paired with an abusive father didn't exactly leave him with the best childhood experience. Randy revealed in an interview that he was raised on a farm, and his father was very abusive. The famous TLC host reportedly spent years praying for an escape from that life. He said, "I was born and raised on a farm, my father was pretty abusive, and I prayed for my whole life to get away from him and get off that farm." Randy also shared that his difficult childhood is what shaped his world view and defined how he interacted with the people around him. "That's why one thing I won't do, if somebody asks for a photo, I never say no unless I'm running to catch a flight or in the middle of something," he added.
At the tender age of nine, Randy finally found his escape. One fine day his mother bought a sewing machine and decided that she wanted to learn how to sew. Before she even had an opportunity to open the machine and start sewing, Randy got his hands on it, despite her warning him not to touch it. Randy's disobedience paid off, as he turned out to be a natural at stitching.
He followed a pattern and ended up stitching a pretty dress for his mother. His mother loved the dress and encouraged Randy to stitch more dresses for him. Over the years, the youngster managed to further hone his craft by stitching several dresses.
Randy wanted to enroll himself in a fashion designing school to learn more about designing. Unfortunately, his poor financial situation came in the way. But he was determined to make it to school, so he participated in the prestigious Miss Gay America in 1990. For the pageant, the youngster took on the stage name of Brandi Alexander and strutted down the runway in clothes designed and stitched by him. He won the pageant and managed to bag the cash prize home.
He used the money to enroll himself at FIT and graduated with flying colors. "When I started off at FIT I was very, very focused on what I wanted to do. I was that student that you hated, the one that stayed up all night," he shared in his 2015 commencement address at FIT.
He became a fashion designer in 1992 and is the Fashion Director at the wedding dress store Kleinfeld Bridal. He made his small screen debut with TLC's 'Say Yes To The Dress' in 2007 and started hosting the series 'Say Yes to the Dress: Randy Knows Best' in 2011. The designer's net worth is estimated to be at $8 million, as per Celebrity Net Worth. Randy reportedly earns $3 million per season of TLC's show.
'Say Yes to the Dess: In Sickness and Health' premiers on January 4, 2021, on Discovery+.