LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - A former Longview resident designed a dress worn by Lady Gaga as she attended the Oscars Sunday night.
Brandon Maxwell has made quite a name for himself in the fashion world. In fact, he’s also receiving an award in Austin: a Texas Medal of Arts Award for design from the Texas Cultural Trust, a nonprofit organization advocating advancement of the arts in Texas.
A mathematics teacher, Bridgette Ponder, has taught algebra and calculus at Trinity School since 1999. She taught a kid she recalled as “just a nice guy”: Brandon Maxwell.
“That’s what was interesting about Brandon ... he was always so humble. He was grounded; just well-rounded, as well. He was involved with everything in the school. He pretty much had friends in all the classes because he was that friendly,” Ponder said.
She said he was involved in theater and has numerous pictures in the yearbook, but he seemed to remain humble.
“He never thought he was better than anybody else. You just could feel that in his presence. He was just a genuine soul,” Ponder recalled.
She said he had a knack for bringing out the best in people in a visual sense, including a former school counselor.
“He told her that if she had bangs she would look amazing with them. Well, it wasn’t a week later and she had bangs and she did look amazing with them,” Ponder stated.
She says she doesn’t remember Maxwell ever saying anything about fashion.
“I think it was just one day he decided he wanted to get involved in that and he really took a high risk, because he had nothing, and went to New York,” Ponder said.
Somehow he started meeting some of the right people.
“...it certainly helped to get to know Lady Gaga,” Ponder said.
Maxwell took a leap of faith when he talked Lady Gaga into wearing a somewhat infamous dress made of meat to the MTV Video Music Awards in 2010.
“I feel like that’s probably part of his story, getting there and taking a risk,” Ponder said.
He definitely got some publicity from that, which took him a step closer to his yearbook statement quoting Marilyn Monroe:
“I’m going to be a great movie star someday.”
Well, for now, he’s dressing movie stars. In addition to Lady Gaga, Maxwell also dressed Melissa McCarthy and Sarah Paulson for the Oscars.
Bridgette Ponder said Maxwell was good enough in math to get through school, but his passion was for the arts. She added that he visits Longview from time to time and she feels that he has retained his humility.