"The Wishmaker" and fashion icon Simonetta Lein has been leading two lives: as a fashion influencer and as founder of a nonprofit called The Wishwall.
Now the two worlds are coming together.
Lein is working with internationally renowned designer Shahida Parides' new "heart2heart" campaign as its star model, while raising funds for The Wishwall Foundation. The Wishwall aims to "give a voice to the voiceless and help make meaningful wishes come true," according to the organization's webiste.
"The Capsule Collection," which features Parides' designs and scarves dreamed up by Lein, will be sold through the heart2heart campaign. It marks Lein's expansion into fashion design.
"I was so amazed when I found out she chose me," Lein said of Parides, whose designs have been worn by such celebrities as Beyonce, Paris Hilton and Demi Lovato.
Lein has a pretty strong feeling this line will do well. "We literally were stopping traffic in Roxborough when we did the modeling photo shoot," she laughed.
Getting the chance to model one of her favorite designers, while selling her own work, represents one of her own dreams being fulfilled, she said.
"If you dream of something, you can have it," said the 34-year-old model. "You just have to work hard and never stop trying. I am the perfect example of a millennial who had a dream and made it come true."
Parides launched the heart2heart campaign to work with different woman-led charities.Thirty percent of the profit from every sale in the collection will be donated to a nonprofit or charity chosen by each buyer.Lein is the first chosen ambassador of the campaign.
"The Capsule Collection is unique and designed to make every woman feel empowered and stunning," Lein said. "While showing off an amazing style, the women who wear the pieces from this collection will also know that they are part of something extraordinary."
The Wishwall Foundation has made a splash since Lein moved from her native Italy to Philadelphia and set up the Wishwall in the Italian Market in September 2015 during Pope Francis' visit for the World Meeting of Families.
The first wish Lein chose was that of a South Philly family seeking justice in the hit-and-run death of their beloved sister and daughter, Theresa Pozzi. After Lein helped the family secure a billboard seeking information on the case, a witness came forward, leading to the arrest and conviction of the driver.
Since then, Lein brought some closure to young women with Girl Talk Marlton, New Jersey. Lein helped the group set up a Wishwall in tribute to former Marlton resident and The Voice finalist Christina Grimmie, who was the victim of a tragic murder. Lein also helped a cancer survivor make her first visit ever to New York Fashion Week.
She plans to bring the Wishwall to Washington, Sierra Vista, Arizona, and Milan, Italy.