Idris Elba, Yasmin Warsame, Meaghan Markle and Sarah Lafferty? Have you heard of them? Well Talia Brown, a Toronto based personal shopper + stylist who is as personable as she is stylish counts these celebs as besties. She’ll be the first to admit that climbing the ranks as a celebrity stylist, as well as working with some of the top magazines, brands, and tv shows is no easy feat. But with a laser-sharp focus since her younger days (cough* Grade 1 to be exact) she’s built an buzzworthy career as well as a strong personal brand as a smart, powerful fashion icon. Examples being recent interviews with the likes of Hello magazine + FASHION and having top brands ask her to represent them in the form of interviews and commercials. Hear first hand from Talia how she gets her #yessupply.
What’s a day-to-day in the life of Talia?
My job can be anything from working on a photoshoot, whether it be editorial or commercial, or personal shopping and helping someone find their favourite new item, or even a whole new wardrobe.
When did you know you wanted to become a stylist?
I always knew I wanted to work with Fashion, my first day in grade one when my teacher asked me what I wanted to do and I told her I wanted to play dress up. I guess didn’t I really realize that there were lifesize barbie dolls. I didn’t know you could actually play dress up as a job. Even when I go back home to where I grew up and see old friends, they’re not surprised that fashion is where I ended up.
Your first work experience…
My first internship ever was when I was in California, and that when I realized that stylist was a real job and I did everything I could to make it happen. But it did take me a while to get here. I worked on the sales floor, I worked in PR so that I could meet people and get my name out there, but also so that I could meet people in the fashion industry so that when I had my career I knew every aspect of what I needed to do in my every day career.
How do you stay motivated?
It’s seeing my work, whether it be in print, or on a billboard, or just running into someone that I helped shop and realizing that they’re confident and they look great. It’s just seeing my work come to life. It keeps me motivated and keeps me wanting to work for even more!
I just think when I see my work in person people enjoy it or they see it as a piece of art, that’s what I feel good about. That I’ve created this feeling, this emotion, this perfect pretty picture.
I think as a kid I didn’t see things as everyone else saw them, I would come home and instead of learning from what I learned in class, I learned from my parents. I really learn from hearing and seeing and doing rather than just listening in class. So I’m a doer, so being a doer, I always wanted to create mood boards or that’s what we call them now, but as a kid they were known as pretty pictures, that might not have even made much sense. That really gave me the confidence, to have my parents telling me that this was beautiful, that what I was doing was art. It really inspired me to keep going. It inspired me to do something I loved everyday.
My parents said never go to bed upset, you have to always want more and need more and I think that being encouraged by a young age to be who I wanted to be has got me here today.
Was there anyone that told you no along the way?
Working along the way, I had many people telling me no, that what I wanted wasn’t realistic, that should think of something thats inside the box, and that I really should focus on going to university. I mean, I went to University and not that I don’t use my degree, but I really went for the interpersonal skills that was going to have in my styling career. Not necessarily the logistics of getting an English degree.
I had a lot of people telling me that I should really question where I see myself. I should try and become a professional, I remember my math teacher telling me I needed to pass this class because I need this skill, and I remember going home and thinking “I’m never going to have this skill”. I was scared, I didn’t know what I was going to do unless I learned these skills.
I’m happy that everything took the route it did, but I’m also happy that I had the confidence to go home and not linger on things that people told me I couldn’t do and rather focus on things I can do.
On her first shoot…
The weird thing about my career is that, in my very first shoot, I didn’t tell them that it was my very first shoot, I just kind of faked it til I made it. I wouldn’t have changed that for the world, I had the confidence to do it I just had to be given the opportunity.
I asked a lot of questions. I also learned from the mistakes I made, because once you make a mistake, you’re never going to make it again. A big thing was getting rid of fear and realizing that fear was what was going to get me from one thing to the next, and even now, fear is my motivator, I never want to get so comfortable that I’m scared to grow, I always want to think of the bigger picture.
I think most people are scared of fear, and they think it’s what going to stop them and get in their way, but sometimes overcoming fear is what drives you. You might not be able to succeed and feel like you accomplished something every single day but you don’t need to you can do it the next day you accomplish what you meant to accomplish the day before. Set your benchmark one step higher than the last so that you’re never comfortable.
I think the only thing that makes us grow is fear. Even if you’re scared to take one more step you need to do it.
What makes you different from other stylists?
I feel like I’m inspired by other stylists and other people in my industry because they’re all so passionate. I think passion is what brings us together. And the thing that sets us apart is that we’re all different people, some people are more skilled, other are more resourceful.
You can use what other people are doing to benchmark where you are, but not in a way that holds yourself back, you could almost use it as a stepping stool to what else you could be doing.
Do you have 3 tips for someone who wants to be a stylist
- Have confidence, when you believe in yourself, people can start to believe in you more abd begin to help you grow even more. Being a stylist is working on a team.
- Create a nice hub of connections, the more stores you can pull from and the more showrooms, the easier your job will become, they’re all there to help you!
- Always be a team player, make sure the photographer is okay, the models are okay. Make sure that you’re contributing to the mood
- Believe in your self, trust your fashion sense and don’t be scared to makes mistakes, because you’ll learn from it and be able to grow.
If you’ve ever dreamed of becoming a stylist, Talia lets us know that if you have a vision and passion, you can do anything you want to do.