Do you ever tire of shopping?
Never! I don’t know if it’s in my blood, but it’s definitely in my upbringing. My siblings and I laugh all the time about how much shopping we did growing up because our mother loved to shop.
Is it fair to say your mother is your greatest fashion influence?
Most definitely. I remember my mother rocking Diane von Furstenberg wrap dresses, wedges and big hair like a supermodel! Now, of course, I’m her personal stylist.
Word is music, although not visual, is one of your major inspirations.
That’s true. A good melody, beat or lyric truly helps me visualize colors and feel textures. I’m also inspired by art and a good overcoming story.
Is there a specific genre that moves you?
Nope. I love music! Jazz, R&B, Latin, Opera, Hip-Hop, Classical, Gospel and Country, I love it all.
As one whose work requires close ties with fashion designers, is there one who serves as your inspiration?
No there are many. I love the way Donna Karan understands women’s bodies. I’m fond of Michael Kors’ use of clean lines and lux fabrics, and Carmen Marc Valvo’s dresses are pure love. However, it’s Bradley Bayou who gives me the chills. He’s a full creative—fashion and interior designer, author, television and Hollywood personality. We met in 2003, because he had an interest in designing Queen Latifah’s Oscar gown. We become instant friends. Bradley was the first person to tell me I would be a great designer and assured me I had the gift. He saw in me something that I did not see in myself. That was big, coming from the man who dressed Oprah, Megan Fox, Eva Longoria, Beyonce, Halle and a host of other stars.
It seems many responsibilities have contributed to where you stand right now. Had you planned to wear so many different hats?
No I didn’t, but every time something came my way I gladly took it on. Casting models, selecting photographers, writing copy, guest editing, it was all a great time, and it still is. I even wrote a column for the men’s magazine Code. It was called Dress Code and offered men fashion advice. That was a lot of fun too!
Do you count your retail experiences as significant contributors to your current status?
Definitely. When I worked at A Different Step, a plus-size boutique on the upper west side and La Rue De Reves in SoHo, I learned the importance of good merchandising and how to translate seasonal trends to the selling floor and thus to the consumer. Those are the same translation skills I use now to style my clients.
If you had to point to one single experience that has brought you to this moment, what would it be?
Working as a contributing fashion editor at Mode. That experience gave me life! It was a beautiful magazine celebrating curvy women with great integrity and modern sophistication. It was an amazing time for me professionally and personally.
Have you received a lot of media attention for you work?
I’ve received some. Us, People, Vibe, the New York Daily News, Newsweek and VH1, have featured me. I’ve also been featured on Styleblazer and The Curvy Fashionista blogs. But more importantly, my work has been featured in important fashion, beauty and entertainment magazines, on network and cable television and in major advertising campaigns. I don’t require a lot of attention. My joy comes from doing the work I love and making others feel good about themselves. I also get a great deal of enjoyment from what has turned out to be an endless creative evolution, taking me all over the world and in and out of doors that may never have opened for me otherwise.
If you did not have a career as a fashion professional, what kind of work would you be doing?
I honestly don’t know. Before all of this happened I was eight credits shy of a degree in government and public administration. Maybe I’d be designing public policy or setting the tone for a new style of government.
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?
That I’m grateful and I understand this blessing could have been given to someone else.
I’ve stopped trying to know. Everything’s gone so well without my predictions.