Our model, Roberta Mattson of West Asheville, is the stay-at-home mom of two little girls, ages 15 months and 5 years, an avid gardener, and a fiber artist who sells hand-dyed hemp garments and needle-felted dolls on her ETSY shop Piece Blossom.
Besides her high-and-wide cheekbones, heart-shaped facial profile, thoughtful eyes and small, vulnerable mouth that mark a strong physical resemblance to Zelda Fitzgerald, Roberta can also claim other similarities to the Jazz Age icon. She relocated here from Alabama, Zelda’s home state. Roberta is 36 — the same age as Mrs. Fitzgerald when she entered Highland Hospital in Montford.
Most coincidentally, upon moving to Asheville, Roberta was overcome with a severe skin condition first thought to be eczema, a disease that tortured Zelda at around the same age; the fallen flapper was given archaic treatments that may have led to a misdiagnosis of schizophrenia. Roberta recalls that the extreme pain and loss of motion she experienced was compounded by stares from strangers. “How I was treated, the social stigma, caused a lot of psychological distress. It was very difficult to deal with,” she says. Eventually, Roberta was diagnosed with dangerous food allergies, and radical dietary changes brought about a cure.
“Today I’m fine. In my case, the story has a happy ending.”
Hair by Guadelupe Chavarria II, owner/stylist at Studio Chavarria (Studiochavarria.com)
Makeup by Francesca Hernandez, Makeup at the Grove Arcade (Makeupatga.com)
Dresses, pearls, and shoes came from The Costume Shoppe (Costumeshoppe.net)
Roberta Mattson photographed at Battery Park Book Exchange & Champagne Bar in the Grove Arcade. (Batteryparkbookexchange.com)
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