Karen’s Rebel Story
Karen’s path to founding what insiders call “the most exciting thing to happen to the cheer industry in decades” follows the path that all rebels naturally take: one that is twisted, full of highs and lows, and logical only in its illogicality.
Born to a US Military father and a Chinese mother in Taiwan, she spent her childhood on a military base in Fort Hood/Killeen, Texas where she cheered and danced, forming the foundational passions of her later life. During that time she was a 3-time US National Dance Champion. As the best-dressed girl at school, and the only one to speak Mandarin, she also learned the importance of style, and staying true to your principles.
After attending the University of Texas and then Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law, Karen graduated to the world of high fashion. After a life-changing experience where she lost both her health and all her possessions from an exposure to toxic black mold, Karen experienced a turning point in her life where she promised herself that if she ever regained her health, she would live fearlessly and pursue only those things that fired her soul. In 2007 she kept that promise to herself when she launched Fortune Denim, a premium denim brand later carried in over 300 boutiques with distribution in the US, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Fortune Denim was featured in national publications and shows – including Women’s Wear Daily, Access Hollywood, People, Elle, Lucky, Redbook, OK and worn by celebs including Britney Spears, Eva Longoria and Drew Barrymore. Rebels… all of them.
Concurrently she taught dance for 7 years and performed extensively in the US, Europe and Asia, with her class voted Best Hip Hop Dance Class in Dallas by D Magazine. That same magazine voted her one of the “10 Most Beautiful Women in Dallas” in 2009. Karen was also the 2009 recipient of Dallas Business Journal’s prestigious “25 Women to Watch in Business” award.
Once the recession hit, Karen put her fashion expertise to work producing private label garments for apparel brands including Neiman Marcus, Anthropology, Velvet, Member’s Only and Abercrombie. Karen has also worked as a fashion and brand consultant and launched lines at Couture Fashion Week in New York.
Karen brings the fashion-world’s cutting-edge, fast-paced approach to design and manufacturing, coupled with her deep understanding of movement and performance through the world of dance, to the Cheerleading and Gymnastics Industries; served up with a side of rebel attitude redolent of her Texas upbringing.
Karen has been a featured guest on CNBC’s The Big Idea, Good Morning Texas, Business Beat Live, PBS’s Road Trip Nation and nationally syndicated radio programs including On Air with Ryan Seacrest.
Karen is married to her ex-boss, Julian Aldridge, (look who’s the boss now!) and continues to pursue her musical and dance proclivities whenever possible.