While we tend to cover the style of our favorite musicians, actors, and it girls, it’s typically those unsung heroes behind the scenes who truly deserve the shine!
I recently caught up with Sade Tavia, stylist to Meek Mill, who has worked with a long roster of stars including Idris Elba, Young Jeezy, Swizz Beatz, TI, and more:
Sade’s first experience in the industry was as an intern at Atlantic records, in the A & R department. She said, “I had just graduated from high school [and] wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. At the time, I was working at Kid Robot [as a sales associate]. I knew I wanted to do something pertaining to fashion and music.”
She continues, “ My Dad had a friend who was working at Atlantic in a completely different department. He suggested I send them my resume. I got an internship at Atlantic, and ended up staying for about 2 years. While there, I reached out to Rosie Philidor who I had met on a project, and began interning with her. When you’re watching the videos, you don’t know the process that goes on behind the scenes. [Working with Rosie] really opened my mind to the industry and how things operated. She taught me the ropes and how things worked in the styling world. [The experience] really confirmed for me that I wanted to style.”
Now you’ll find the Harlem native on video sets or magazine shoots, pulling and curating looks for some of hip hops brightest stars.
For those who want to follow in a similar path, Sade says, “I was always very shy and stand offish, so I’d recommend being bold. Network. Be open to meeting new people. Be nice because you never know who the person you’re talking to is or who they’re going to become. And just work hard. Have a positive attitude. I’ve always given 110% even when I felt that things weren’t going anywhere. Just stick with it. Eventually your purpose will surface.”
When working with celebs, she cautions, “Don’t be too crazy. Be cool. [Stars are] regular people who have a job, just like everyone else, so make the atmosphere as comfortable as possible for them so they’ll want to continue working with you. You’re doing a job together, so act like how you would act with any coworker or any boss. The biggest point: Don’t act like a fan. Celebs don’t want to feel like they’re getting dressed with a fan. Styling is very personal. You’re in close quarters, and you’re spending a lot of time with people alone. So, be comfortable, professional, and cool.”
In closing, she offers aspiring stylists and fashion hopefuls the following words: “Create a plan and knock it out. Intern until you can’t intern anymore, assist until you can’t assist anymore. [A lot] of people look down on interning, but there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s something you do until you figure out what you want to do. My internships were tests of character. They made me think about whether or not I wanted to style because sometimes they were a struggle. [Some may realize they really want it], and some may realize they don’t want it. Figure out if it’s what you want to do. Plan it out, intern, assist, execute, figure out how you’re gonna go to the next level. Stick to it, work hard, and don’t stop until you reach your goal.” Wise words, Sade!
Keep up with Sade on Twitter at @theservintage and on her website, SadeTavia.com.
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