Chica" Lilliana Vazquez shares a big laugh
with one of her publicists while they were getting
ready for the meet and greet at Henri Bendel's in
the Cherry Hill, N.J. mall, Nov. 8, 2013.
YORK — Studded Aeropostale bag in hand, "Cheap
Chica" Lilliana Vazquez bursts into the Westville
diner ready to chitty-chat.
on time, she immediately hands over the final version of
her first book, "The Cheap Chica’s Guide to
Style" (Gotham Books, 2013). She’s headed uptown
to film live segments for Rachael Ray’s show and
"New York Live," NBC’s local-affiliate
afternoon talk show.
‘Confessions of a Shopaholic’ and one of Suze Orman’s
financial-advice books had a baby, my book would be
it," said Vazquez, the "Cheap Chica"
blogger who, until three months ago, was the go-to
budget fashion guru in Philadelphia. Now Vazquez is
living in the Big Apple, right around the corner from
this cute Chelsea organic eatery.
324-page softcover is an aspirational guide to
affordable chic — and an organized closet — designed
to help women conquer the intimidating, pricey world of
manual is filled with eye-catching illustrations, and
throughout the book are product shots — think tweed
pencil skirts and sequined cardigans — arranged into
ensembles sensible enough for cul-de-sac moms with an
edginess a downtown diva can appreciate.
Chica’s is all about the hot lists too, including
everywoman’s must-haves (topping that list is nude
pumps), the best sample sales (Loeffler Randall has
good-quality, affordable boots), and what’s
splurge-worthy (like the pair of wax-coated Rag &
Bone jeans she’s wearing right now).
like every other great girly advice book, Cheap Chica’s
is chock-full of those time-sucking personality quizzes.
So yeah, the book is cute. Super-cute, even. But does
the world really need yet another how-to fashion book?
really," Vazquez said in a tone that was as honest
as it was matter-of-fact. Actually, the world doesn’t
need any more books, period, she concluded.
Vazquez, master brand-builder that she is, needed it. It
was the next logical step in her plan to be a consumer
lifestyle expert. Her Cheap Chica’s blog was averaging
about 20,000 page views a day, and she had formed
lucrative relationships with Cover Girl and Maybelline,
Loft and Banana Republic.
to mention that Vazquez’s "successorizing"
tips, such as shop the clearance rack for bags, belts,
and jewelry, were popular on NBC’s "Today"
and "The Nate Berkus Show."
goal wasn’t to be a blogger," said Vazquez, 33.
"I never wanted to be a blogger. But you have to
exist in the digital space, you need to have a book, and
you need to have products. … Otherwise you are never
going to make it."
now she’s in the process of gaining exposure for her
book from every available avenue.
days, Vazquez does "The Rachael Ray Show"
about twice a month, and she’s regularly on the
"Today" show. Look for her in December to talk
stocking-stuffers less than $25.
visits Steve Harvey’s couch, and she talked fall
trends last month with Katie Couric.
BEGIN OPTIONAL TRIM)
a week during the month of October, she orchestrated
makeovers for breast-cancer survivors on "The Wendy
Williams Show." At the end of each show, Williams
plugged Cheap Chica’s.
connects with our audience by being completely authentic
and having fabulous style," said Dan Fitzpatrick,
producer of "The Wendy Williams Show."
"What she can accomplish on a small budget is
last week she was in Los Angeles taping segments on
"Queen Latifah" and "Access Hollywood
a long way from her roots as a kid growing up in Fort
Worth, Texas, wearing private-school plaid jumpers —
definitely not chic, but certainly frugal.
mom made sure, however, that Vazquez had the right
saddle shoes and monogram sweaters to accompany her
uniform. "But she’s no sucker," Vazquez
wrote in her book. "There was no way she was going
to pay full price."
attended George Washington University on scholarship and
double-majored in international business and
entrepreneurship. She worked on the college radio
station and the school newspaper.
landed a job at W! magazine, and while she loved high
fashion, she didn’t like the editors’ snooty
attitudes. One day she was wearing the same knee-high
boots as a supervisor, who asked how she was able to
afford what she thought were designer boots. Her
response: Why not? They were from Century 21 (a New York
department store for bargainistas).
like Puerto Rican and Mexican," she said. "I
have a fire in me at all times."
left the glossy and took a job at an advertising agency.
She worked on a J.C. Penney campaign that planned to use
real women as models, but at the last minute, the store
opted for professionals. That was Vazquez’s lightbulb
was like, ‘Oh my God, we have these gorgeous women;
they look fantastic in clothes, and people don’t want
to see them?’" Vazquez said. "I thought, ‘This
is what I want to do: Show real women with real bodies
how to dress on a budget.’"
moved to Philadelphia in 2007 and got a job at West
Chester, Pa.-based QVC as an on-air expert. She started
"Cheap Chica" in October 2008 on a cold Sunday
afternoon while her husband was at an Eagles game.
wrote her first post on Wordpress about a T.J. Maxx
shopping trip where she found a Theory blazer for just
committed to writing three posts a day for 30 days
before I went public with it," Vazquez said.
"Then in December, Glamour featured me, and it was
grew up (the daughter of) immigrant parents, and now I
get to go on TV and talk about things I love," she
said. "That’s unbelievable."