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Ajit Berg, Published May 10 2012

Berg: Secret to true beauty isn’t found in store

I often get asked, “What’s your best fashion tip?” My answer is always the same. “Make sure you are dressed from the inside out.”

After 15 years of working in the fashion industry, I realize that true beauty really does start from the inside.

I was recently asked to speak at a mom’s group here in Fargo about fashion. I said yes, but reluctantly because I’ve never been one for public speaking. It’s funny; my husband is such an eloquent speaker and wonderful story teller. He toured with Tony Robbins for a number of years and now is a radio talk show host.

I, on the other hand, am a different story. Give me a fashion emergency to solve, and I can do it no problem. So I decided to follow some words of wisdom I heard once from Joyce Meyer: “Just do it afraid.” It’s some of the best advice I have ever received.

The woman who invited me said I could really talk about whatever I wanted. I stayed up a few nights before my speech trying to plan some good ideas as to what I was going to say.

I’m never at a loss for words about fashion, and here I was with no words coming to me. I asked my husband for some advice. He said, “Ajit, think about what you want your outcome to be with these women and how you can best serve them.”

Still nothing.

So the day of the talk, with no speech planned, I just prayed for the best and decided that in my “just doing it afraid” that I would simply speak from my heart. As I looked in the eyes of all those mom’s, it hit me.

Whether its women in L.A. or women in Fargo, we are all just the same. We are mothers, wives, sisters, daughters and friends. We all want the same things no matter where we live … We want to look and feel our best.

I wanted these women to know that you don’t have to be a size 2 to be beautiful and look great. You don’t have to have an expensive wardrobe, a closet full of clothes. And you don’t have to be a movie star to feel good about yourself. In fact, many of the celebrities I helped, were a size 2, had the expensive wardrobe and exciting lifestyle and appeared happy, but were really sad and alone on the inside.

The night before my speech, I noticed a magazine with a celebrity on the cover that I helped in L.A. over the years. I had known her since her 20s, at the height of her career. She and I were both “aunties” and always shared our stories about our nieces and how much we were looking forward to being moms.

She was always fun loving, kind and sweet hearted, so when I looked at her on the cover of that magazine in an expensive designer dress, looking gorgeous, it saddened me.

Knowing that she was almost 40 and after all these years she was still searching for what her heart desired most ... true love. She always wanted a family, a husband and kids. I could relate to her because that is what I also wanted.

Somehow L.A. has a way of eating all the years away with its constant excitement, even if you are not a celebrity. I was one of those people. I was a personal stylist to the rich and famous, constantly on the go, and had an exciting lifestyle, lots of friends, fun social life, and beautiful clothes at my disposal.

It was all very exciting and kept me busy enough to not think about the void I felt in my heart that was filled by any of those things.

Even though I was dressed perfectly on the outside, my soul was not dressed. It was not full of the light and joy that true fulfillment and peace brings.

One day I faced what was happening to me and broke down and cried out for help. God heard my prayers and my life turned completely around. The love I received from that point on filled my heart up and gave me the peace I had always wanted.

I met my wonderful husband and had our beautiful baby girl, who is now 2½. The love and contentment I felt was better than any expensive outfit I could ever put on, and something amazing happened to me … My soul began to shine! I was truly dressed from the inside out.

After my speech, one of the mom’s came up and thanked me for sharing my story. “I always thought my life was kind of boring, but it made me realize that I am blessed to have my boring life! I have my family and a lot of love in my life,” she said. “You always think the grass is greener until you realize the truth. I guess you just have to be thankful for what you have.”

This was my outcome … true beauty comes from a loved, happy and peaceful heart. When you have this your soul shines. Then the fun clothes and fabulous accessories and shoes are just the icing on the cake.

Ajit Berg is a former personal shopper and stylist for Barneys New York in Beverly Hills. She now lives in Fargo with her husband and daughter. She can be reached at .