From a young age, Diana Miller had always enjoyed sewing — and was able to turn it into a career for herself. Miller is from Winnipeg, MB, and has been working for the past seven years as a sew assistant/seamstress at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.
“It’s definitely a fun job. You get paid to make beautiful things come from paper, from a designer, to life on the stage,” said Miller.
What motivated her into this career was when she was a teenager, she couldn’t afford to purchase a dress for her grade nine farewell. Miller figured from material she was given and a sewing machine she had that she could potentially create something from scratch.
With help from her aunt, she was able to make her dress and says from there she “just stuck” with sewing and found a high school that offered a program where she learned how to do more and more techniques.
“From there, it just kept going opportunity after opportunity came and I just kept taking it. And now I pretty much make an income off of something that I just very much enjoy,” said Miller.
After the high school program and taking a bit of time off, she continued her education path by applying to a newly opened fashion design program at MC College in Winnipeg.
From there, she did a work experience and met people in the field and was offered a job to work at the ballet. They ended up keeping her on, and she’s been there ever since.
In her downtime, Miller has also had the opportunity to expand into other jobs in wardrobe such as film and musical theatre.
Although Miller has been incredibly successful in her career, it wasn’t easy for her in the beginning. She says because she was young, it was hard for her to get her foot in the door.
“Being a teenager and trying to get your foot into the door, a lot of people don’t necessarily think that you know what it is that you’re talking about,” said Miller.
“Unless you know what you’re doing, people don’t really… They would take someone that’s older with more experience because in their eyes, they don’t want to have to train someone.”
But she says as long as you go in with an open mind and eager to learn things, people can be open so you can learn as much as you can with them.
And after all her successes so far, if there was anything she could tell her younger self it would be to “not compare yourself” to others and not believe what people say when told “you’re not good enough.”
“There are so many different techniques and ways how to do things that sometimes you just have to trust your gut,” said Miller.
Miller has done a lot in her career. When she first finished school, she entered a fashion show with local designers and had to create a line with eight garments and won.
She’s had outfits for the Nuit Blanche runway show and have had some of her items make it into the Winnipeg Free Press.
And for the youth out there who dream of doing something, Miller says to just go for whatever it is you want.
“You’ll probably be so focused on the bad, of like what bad could happen, but there’s also the chance of so many good things that can happen,” said Miller.
“It’s better to just go out and try it than to look back and think like, ‘Oh, I wish I did that. I wish I did that. I wish I did that.’ No one wants to have regret, so just take that step, find people that will support you in that decision and just go for it.”
Special thanks to Jasmine Kabatay for authoring this blog post.
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Funding is generously provided by the RBC Foundation in support of RBC Future Launch, and the Government of Canada's Supports for Student Learning program.