We love to hear about how our grads have gone out into the styling industry and are putting the tools they learned in class to work. School of Style grad Hema Persad is not only working in styling, she is also a mother of two, maintains her blog, and full-time practicing attorney. The Florida native traveled to LA to take the School of Style classes and 6 months later, she sold her house and moved her family to LA! Talk about determination! Here’s her story since graduating a year ago…
School of Style: How did you get your foot in the door of the styling industry?
Hema Persad: After taking School of Style class 1, I moved to L.A. 6 months later, and applied for pretty much everything that was posted on freefashioninternships.com. I got hired pretty quickly as a Showroom intern. After working there for about 6 weeks I went back on freefashioninternships.com and applied for internship positions with stylists only. Taylor Jacobson hired me as an intern and here I am!
SOS: What projects or styling jobs are you currently working on?
HP: Currently I work for Taylor Jacobson, who has a variety of projects going on, including editorials, look books, celebrity red carpet and events, and advertorials/e-commerce for a couple of brands.
SOS: What has been the most important lesson you’ve learned while being a stylist?
HP: You need some serious stamina. The physical aspects of this job are no joke. Days are long, clothes are heavy, and there’s not much sitting down. Also, it’s really important to be nice to everyone. The styling/fashion community really is not very big and everyone knows everyone, including who all the a-holes are. Don’t be an a-hole, because everyone will know and not want to work with you.
SOS: Tell us about the most rewarding styling experience you’ve had so far
HP: Working on set for Taylor when she styled Colin Farrell for the cover of Vanity Fair magazine – enough said! Actually, being on set never gets old because the energy is usually really positive and collaborative.
SOS: Which source do you utilize most often for style inspiration?
HP: Style.com pretty much daily. Also Pinterest, especially for pictures of old movie stars and movie stills. I watch movies and flip through magazines for inspiration when I can but I usually don’t have much time for that so looking up photos on Pinterest is the quickest way. I also love Stockholm Street Style and check it daily.
SOS: Any exciting upcoming styling jobs on your agenda?
HP: Yes! Taylor has some exciting things in the works – but I can’t say much more. Otherwise just gearing up for my first awards season.
SOS: What was the most useful thing you’ve learned as an SOS student and why would you recommend the school to other aspiring stylists?
HP: Two things – the level of physical demand and also the importance of your location. Luke was really honest about being in either NYC or L.A. if you want your styling career to get to a certain level (i.e. celebrity styling/ad campaigns). In general I would recommend SOS because it takes away all of the unknowns about this business. If you’re not sure you have what it takes to really make a living out of this, this will definitely help you figure that out.
SOS: Any other dream careers that you’d like to pursue alongside styling?
HP: Styling is my number 1 dream career and my main focus. I would also like to grow my blog, collaborate on designing for brands I love, and maybe do some on-camera work like Fashion Police.
SOS: Who would your dream styling client be and why?
HP: Kerry Washington. She’s beautiful, intelligent, and makes smart fashion choices – risky but not ridiculous.
SOS: What is a piece of advice you wish someone had shared with you when you were starting out as a stylist?
HP: I’m still starting out so I would take any helpful advice! But, so far, I do think it’s important for aspiring stylists to know that there IS a place for you in fashion, you just have to trust your instincts, go out there, and hustle for what you want. Also, make sure you have a job that can pay your bills until styling takes off. Being tired is inevitable, but being stressed about money will only kill your drive to do this.