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Woman opens up about Chrissy Teigen paying her college fees: 'It was life-altering for me'

The woman has since been able to set up her own business thanks to Chrissy Teigen, who has earned the love and respect of many on social media for being something of an internet fairy godmother.

Woman opens up about Chrissy Teigen paying her college fees: 'It was life-altering for me'
Cover Image Source: Getty Images/ Chrissy Teigen attends the 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards at STAPLES Center on January 26, 2020, in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison)

Mercedes Edney was going through a difficult phase of her life when a helping hand reached out from the unlikeliest of places and turned her life around almost overnight. Struggling to find work and feeling rather lost in her personal and professional life at the time, Edney had found herself living back at home with her family by her late 20s. Little did she know that she would find support from none other than model Chrissy Teigen, who has earned the love and respect of many on social media for being something of an internet fairy godmother.




Speaking to The Guardian recently, Edney revealed how Teigen's act of kindness has made a profound impact on her life. "I'd tell all my friends I didn't know what to do," she said of her challenging late 20s. "One of them reminded me that I'd always loved beauty: I spent my childhood listening to my family's skincare ailments and dispensing what I thought were appropriate lotions. She suggested I do a six-month academy course to get my beauty license, which would give me the freedom to set up my own business. It was exactly the direction I needed. The only problem was that tuition fees were $6,000, which was way out of my budget. I wasn’t eligible for scholarships or funding."




However, Edney was determined to pursue the course and willing to put in the hard work. "To help pay the fees, I got a job as a quality control technician at a construction company. I tested the emulsion that went into the asphalt used to pave roads. It was intense, and I knew I'd have to work long hours to pay the fees for the course. To do both at the same time was going to put me under a lot of pressure. But I'm very stubborn, so I was determined to make it happen, one way or another," she recounted.




"People can be uncomfortable about asking for help or financial support; but I knew that even working full-time, my salary wouldn't cover all the fees. I'd seen others set up crowdfunding pages to help them meet their goals. I thought I'd do the same; I knew if I could get a little help, it would leave me more time to concentrate on learning," Edney explained. Within a few days of setting up a crowdfunding campaign and posting about it on Twitter, she received donations of $300 — an amount she was more than happy with as she was touched by the generosity of strangers on the internet. However, she had no idea that just a few days later, she would receive a donation she'd never even dreamed about.




"While I was at work conducting an experiment, my phone pinged. I checked the notification and saw that a deposit had been made to my PayPal account: a very large amount of money. I had to sit down to read the words properly. There had to be some mistake. I assumed it was a scam," she recalled. "What I saw next blew me away. A stranger had made a very generous donation to cover all of my remaining fees for the course: $5,605. The name on the donation was one I instantly recognized: Chrissy Teigen, the model and TV host who is married to the singer John Legend. I read the email once, twice, and still couldn’t take it all in. I lost it. I started screaming and completely messed up the test I was conducting."




Teigen had also left Edney a thoughtful note along with the donation: "I've seen this be your passion for such a long time now. So excited to see you fulfill your dream," it read. "I've never met Chrissy and have no idea why she decided to donate the money to me. I knew that, a few months earlier, she had started following me on Twitter, but never dreamed that she'd see my tweet or act upon it. I've always been a fan of hers. I thought she was funny and quirky – that's why I started following her. I don't know why she started following me. We'd never spoken," Edney explained.





"The amount might have been a drop in the ocean for her, but it was life-altering for me. It was the stamp that made me feel, 'Yes, I'm on the right track.' She didn't have to do that. Lots of other people donated after her. I guess they thought, if Chrissy Teigen can see that she is passionate about skincare, she must be doing something right," Edney added. "The next morning, I paid the $895 deposit for the course. I couldn't have been happier. I've now set up my own business, Ixora Botanical, and I use the lessons from my time at the academy every day. I always think about Chrissy's generosity. I did thank her, and we still follow each other. Hopefully, one day, I'll be able to give her a facial."



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