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Meet Danielle Iddrissu of The Dashing Defender in West LA

Today we’d like to introduce you to Danielle Iddrissu.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Danielle. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
When I was a little girl, I decided that I would become a lawyer. I come from a family where I am the first to graduate from college so being a lawyer at the time was an unfathomable life of success that no one I knew could attain. On my journey, a few incidents in my life shaped my future and exactly what area of law I would go into. When I was in my junior year of high school, my father died unexpectedly on the 4th of July. When I was in my freshman year of college, my brother was killed during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. The police not only tried to blame the death of another young man in our neighborhood on my brother but also classified my brother’s death as a suicide. It took many years and a lot of fighting to get it reclassified.

My mom was also evicted during the weekend that my brother was killed. She was packing all of our stuff up while I was away at college and the police came and served a fallacious search warrant on her. Although the search warrant was for a silver truck that we, nor anyone we knew owned, they used it to search our home. They ransacked the place causing her to have a mental breakdown. This treatment by the police of the victims of such a tragic loss solidified my career as a public defender. I knew that I had to be an advocate for the underrepresented people of my community. I became a lawyer for that reason and fashion has always been a big part of my life.

Throughout my career, I’ve been told that you have to wear this and you can’t wear that and I have rebelled against it my whole career. I have always sought to show women in my industry, the legal field, and other professional industries that you can wear what you want within reason. You can be yourself and still be an awesome Bad A** lawyer. In my industry, I don’t limit myself to blue, black, brown, and gray. Those are artificial standards men have imposed on women in the legal industry. I have pink suits, lilac suits, and all sorts of extravagant clothes and shoes that I find a way to wear to work. To me, work would be no fun if I had to dress like someone else while I was there. It is extremely important to me to be able to express myself and be who I am and let that show in my clothing. I want to show women that you can be dashing and great in your profession or career and be a terrific mom and wife and still be sexy.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It has not been a smooth road. In addition to those two tragic losses in high school in college. When I was applying to law school, I was invited to apply at ivy league schools. Then I did not get in. I finally learned that my transcripts appeared as though I was in the extension program at my school rather than the prestigious four-year university, USCB, that I went to. Ultimately, I ended up going to an out of state school because of that. I went to Arizona State University which was an amazing school. Unfortunately, I had my first of four children prior to my first year of law school so that was a struggle. Being pregnant when I took the LSAT exam and a mom in law school was extremely difficult and it prevented me from being able to focus one hundred percent on school, and it prevented me from pursuing certain opportunities that would have made my career path easier.

Ultimately, I was not able t go straight to the KA County Public Defender’s office as I have always wanted to. I did private work for a few attorney’s, I worked on the Criminal Justice Act (CJA) Criminal Defense Panel and did federal work. I went to Sacramento and was a public defender in a small town up there called Amador County. I came back and worked for the Los Angeles Dependency Lawyers for a few years and it all led me to my ultimate goal of being at the LA County Public Defender’s Office.

Please tell us about The Dashing Defender.
My brand, The Dashing Defender is a lifestyle brand about showing women that you can have it all and do it all. You can be a woman who focuses on her career and is a good mom and puts lingerie on and has a great sex life with her husband. I have heard my whole career and even before I got into the legal industry, “you won’t be able to have children..” in fact, someone told me that they heard it was impossible to do trials as a mom. I laughed out loud. I have heard that you have to be conservative, you have to wear black or navy blue, you must always wear a blazer to work or in court, no heels higher than four inches, etc. I feel like I have grown to the point where I am confident enough to defy all odds.

I feel sexy and confident and powerful and having my own career is part of that and fashion is another huge part of that. I want women to know that you can be yourself whatever that means for each individual person. I wear white dresses to court, I wear blood-red suits, lilac suits, I wear blouses with dramatic sleeves and bright colors, and don’t even get me started on my shoes. I push the boundaries and I am comfortable doing so. The intersection of fashion and law is something that I am seeking to exploit a little further. I love seeing women who are well dress in the courthouse. I compliment them, they compliment me and it’s a whole thing. I strongly feel that when you look good, you do good. I mean, think about arguing a motion and winning and looking good while doing it. I won a very important preliminary hearing the other day on a complex legal issue and got the case dismissed. Those hearings are very infrequently won, and people joked about how good I looked while doing it when they congratulated me.

Some women reach out to me and tell me that they never knew they could wear certain things to work and other women reach out and say I have no kids and I see you waking up at 5 am to work out and then go cook breakfast for your kids so it inspired me to go workout. To me, that is the most important thing, inspiring women to live a life that is true to who they are. I thrive on these types of messages from people supporting me. I want to be transparent about my life and the way I live it and the things that work for me and the things that don’t. The tools that I use to survive the weekends and difficult times with my kids. The easy meals that I cook, the clothes that I buy for them, the way I keep my marriage exciting and how I manage it all. I just want to be transparent and encourage people to do everything they dream of. If my blog and Instagram page inspire one person, it’s all worth it.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I believe that you manifest everything you expect to manifest. I feel lucky to know some of the people that I know who have helped me to accomplish certain things in my life. I feel that when it comes to growing your business or your brand on Instagram luck plays a huge role in it. Sometimes when I post a picture that I think is going to do well and a picture that I was not feeling so great about is the one that performs amazingly. In this day and age, it definitely feels like a lot of people are lucky but I believe that if you have a definiteness of purpose and a persistence that doesn’t recognize failure, you have no choice but to accomplish the goals you want to accomplish. This is something I learned from Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill.

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Image Credit:

Yasmine Iddrissu and Salma Iddrissu

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