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click to enlarge Daviece Clement launched a public campaign to explore the art of dating, and says she emerged a changed person.

Scott Elmquist

Daviece Clement launched a public campaign to explore the art of dating, and says she emerged a changed person.

Richmond hairstylist Daviece Clement was three months into her splashy public campaign to go on 54 dates in a year to find a mate when she called it quits. Not officially. Not publicly.

But that last date, the 15th or 16th of March 2014, is extra special. The man she finds is generous, intelligent, spiritual — and he gets that her campaign with its blog and billboard and team of interns is to show women that they don’t have to settle in life. They can call the shots. He’s the guy for whom she steps off the media merry-go-round. And it’s good — until they break up about six months later.

“I think I just moved too fast and was focused on the outcome and thought, ‘This is it.’” Clement says. “I thought about what I wanted in a mate and he had all those qualities and, in the end, it still wasn’t enough. I had to ask myself then, ‘Is it him or me?’ And it was me. I was what needed to be different.”

With that reflection she officially ended the 54 dates campaign, a husband hunt that she launched on New Year’s Eve 2014 as a journey with a message, not a gimmick. What she didn’t expect was how it ended. “I had very good intentions,” she says. “I just didn’t know that I needed to do more work on me first.”

The breakup and implosion of the dating project was tough, she says. “I went through, ‘I’m a failure and I’m a public failure.’”

But Clement will tell you now that things ended as they should have. After a lot of work, after recognizing that for all her talk about empowering other women, she was still seeking affirmation from others, Clement says — and she is a changed person.

Who is Daviece Clement now?

“I would say that Daviece now is more confident from the inside out, more self-assured from the inside out. I would say Daviece now is just more self-aware. I would say Daviece before was coasting, living on autopilot. Daviece now is living more intentionally.”

She says she may start blogging again. Somehow, Clement says, she’s going to return to her message of empowering women. Just maybe not through public dating.

(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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