Last week I had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of meeting and greeting some of the biggest names in celebrity styling. I was lucky enough to get my name on the guest list for the FIDM Alumni Stylist Panel, a well-attended event hosted in the New Mart in Downtown LA.
The event was centered around a fantastic question-answer session with a very impressive, star-studded panel featuring:
Daniel has styled: Paula Abdul, Ashley Simpson, Giuliana Rancic, Jenny McCarthy, and many more!
See his work: in USweekly and Cosmopolitan Magazine, on American Idol and Ready for Love–just to name a few.
Lindsay regularly contributes to: InStyle Magazine and “Fashion Police”.
She’s been on TV!!: E! News, Access Hollywood, EXTRA, The Today Show etc.
He’s done their hair!: Annalynne McCord, Vera Wang, Angie Everhart, Karina Smirnoff, Kim Richards, and Fergie
Has styled for shows: The Taste, The X Factor, Karaoke Battle USA.
Some of his leading men: Nicholas Hoult, Zachary Levi, Colton Haynes, Jessie Spencer, Peter Facinelli, and Steven R McQueen.
Aside from being an excellent networking opportunity, I really gained a lot of insight into the world of celebrity styling. Here are the top five most interesting facts I learned from the panel:
1. Personality vs. Skill: Something I noticed about all four stylists was that I couldn’t pick a favorite. I felt a sincere connection with each one, and wished I could be friends with each of them. In other words, I kept saying to myself, “God, I would love to hang out with him/her.” That common thread seems to be the secret to their success–not to say each of the stylists isn’t impossibly talented, but being as personable as they are sure doesn’t hurt . Daniel said it himself: A celebrity stylist is on-set for several hours at a time, and you’re more likely to get hired if you’re fun to have around.
2. “Fake It ‘Till You Make It”: This was undoubtedly a theme for the entire night. I mean, the event itself was for FIDM Alumni and I’m obviously still a current student. But I just put my name on the list and walked in like I belonged there. The panel, too, had similar stories about accepting new jobs and getting “in over your head” on assignments. Lindsay joked about talking her way into her first big styling gig, and knowing she was completely under qualified, but jumping right in anyway. Never sell yourself short or let fear stop you from taking a leap; worst case scenario it’ll just be a learning experience, but more likely you’ll be awesome!
3. Styling Hollywood Isn’t Always Glamorous: One of the questions asked was “What was your most challenging experience styling?” And all four panelists had a “story from hell” to share. (Even Jonathan, who originally couldn’t think of a bad experience he’d had, later chimed right in.) Stylists have to please many frustrating people (damn publicists!) and can sometimes work brutal 28-hour days. But the stylists all agreed that these experiences help you build a thick skin and become more confident in the long run.
4. What’s the Difference Between a Stylist and a Style Expert?: This question was actually one that I asked the panel, myself. I learned that once a stylist racks up a certain level of success and recognition, he/she becomes a consultant and spokesperson for brands and products. For example, if Lindsay gets interviewed on EXTRA and is asked about upcoming trends, she’s not actually “styling” anyone so she is acting as a “Style Expert” and not a stylist. That part of the profession is supposedly a lot fun, but it doesn’t come until way down the line in a styling career.
5. They Take Interns!: This note made me realize that these stylists are people too. And while they’re rich, famous, and working with celebrities, they’re very reachable. The panel members encouraged the audience to follow them on Twitter and Instagram and made us all feel like we could really connect with them. The stylists also told us that they’re always looking for interns! This was obviously very valuable information to a student like myself–and as soon as I have a minute in my life to breath, I might take them up on that offer. What the stylists said they’re looking for: an energetic, personable, hard-working person who can learn on-the-go and has a car!