In 1999, author, entertainer, and “Fashionista” Deborah Gregory took the ‘tween literary world by storm with her hugely popular series, The Cheetah Girls. The series — a positive, upbeat portrayal of a multi-ethnic girl music group — has spawned sixteen books written by Gregory, three movies, and countless other movie-related books and merchandise.
Gregory equates part of the series’ success to the desire for people to rise above their environment. “Part of the American culture is to transcend your background…to focus on a dream.” Gregory says. Gregory herself rose above a childhood spent in the New York foster care system to earn a degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology. She later earned a degree in English from Empire State College.
Though painful, it was Gregory’s childhood in the foster care system that led to her two passions. Gregory’s first foster mother was illiterate, which Gregory hypotheses is one of the main reasons that she became an author. “I was designated to be her eyes,” Gregory says of her foster mother. Gregory would read her foster mother’s letters for her, and pay her bills. In addition, Gregory made clothes for her foster mother, which fueled her other passion — fashion.
It’s this combined love of fashion and writing that had led to Gregory’s second series, Catwalk (Delacorte, 2008 – ongoing). The first novel, also titled Catwalk (Delacorte, 2008), features Pashmina Purrstein and fierce friends-all students at a New York fashion high school-as they prepare to compete in their elite high school’s legendary Catwalk competition. Essence calls Catwalk, “…a high energy journey through the world of fashion high school…” and says, “…young readers will dive into Gregory’s vibrant mix of teenage realism, glamour and fantasy…”
The next novel in the series, Catwalk: Strike a Pose (Delacorte, 2009), is scheduled to be released this summer. While Gregory isn’t offering many details, she’s promised that the novel will chronicle the next set of struggles for Pashmina and her friends, and will be full of the “drama and kaflamma” her readers have grown to love.
Read more about Deborah Gregory at the following locations: