We’re so excited to introduce our next Aspiring Woman Who Inspires, celebrity stylist Tiffani Chynel. She began her career in editorial and advertising working with brands like Timberland and Halston back in 2013. By 2015, she was being referred to work on celebrity editorials, leading her to red carpet dressing and hands-on celebrity styling. Throughout her career, she has worked with talent such as John Legend, Rosario Dawson, Seth Rogan, Gemma Chan and more. Today, she spends her time in Los Angeles, New York and London working with her clients, and is the Fashion Editor of The Laterals magazine.
Please welcome Tiffani!
I am the daughter to an amazing mother who has the biggest heart, a wife to the most thoughtful, loving, supportive husband. I am an Editorial & Red Carpet celebrity stylist. Right now, I divide my time between Los Angeles and New York and I have incredibly kind clients (their teams are a dream to work with as well). I started styling about 7 years ago in the commercial/advertising world, then began celebrity styling a little over 5 years ago.
How did you get into your industry? Was this always where you saw yourself?
I always knew that I wanted to do something in the fashion industry, but I wasn’t sure what. I love a fast paced environment that is constantly changing, challenging, and creative. In college, I had a 2 year internship with entrepreneur Pamela Noxon at San Diego Wedding. I worked closely with her and she inspired me with her small business work/home lifestyle. I knew I could apply the same techniques from what I learned into one day having my own business.
My mother was the one who suggested I look into becoming a fashion stylist (she always watched the red carpet coverage for award shows). I honestly didn’t even know that was a real job. Although my mother does not work in the industry, she somehow knew how to navigate my career “you probably need a portfolio”, “you need to do email outreach”, “get some meetings going”, “assist someone”, etc.. I emailed stylists to intern and assist but I never got a response (and now being a stylist myself, I understand the assistant community is VERY tight knit).
I became impatient not receiving a response from stylists and knew I had to figure something out if I wanted to make this happen for myself. After following my mother’s advice, applying the techniques I learned from Pamela, and dealing with lots of rejection from emailing, the puzzle pieces started falling into place.
For example: I wanted to style a fashion editorial for a small local magazine and I thought to myself “brands must loan for product placement, I should reach out and see if they will work with me” – brands would then direct me to a showroom who also represented multiple brands and THAT opened my eyes to a whole new world, I seriously felt like I hit the jackpot. I then thought, “there must be so many of these showrooms”. So, I began my research. I spent hours, days, weeks just looking for more fashion pr agencies. Once I compiled a spreadsheet of showrooms and PR rep’s, I felt more confident to reach out to photographers and get projects going.
I had many moments like this where I just had to figure it out. However, I wanted to make it happen. I was determined.
From your experience, what are the three key factors or strategies for starting and establishing a brand?
- Learn to be self-motivating: no one else will push you harder than you. Get out of your head and out of your comfort zone.
- Organization / efficiency: During those overwhelming moments, take a step back, take a deep breath, grab a pen and piece of paper and start prioritizing
- Communication: with each project, come different teams and each team has different ways of working. Great communication skills are key when you are delegating tasks in order to complete a project and keep everyone on the same page.
- Bonus factor – let go of your ego.
What’s an accomplishment you consider to be the most significant in your career so far?
As cheesy as this may sound – waking up being able to do what I love is a pretty big accomplishment for me. Freelance is hard and the down times can really get to you. But pushing through those moments and really exceeding your own expectations while making your clients happy AND being able to maintain a work-life balance makes it all very rewarding.
What’s a failure that turned into a blessing?
There were times that I was up for a job that I really wanted, and didn’t get it. I would later find out that the project was a complete nightmare, or that the team or talent were difficult. Those moments I found to be a blessing that I didn’t get confirmed. Today, I am more accepting of the jobs that I don’t get and I move onto the next project. There is ALWAYS something going on in this industry.
I typically wake up before my alarm clock, check emails, go to a boxing class, then come home and get ready for the day.
Who’s an aspiring woman who inspires you?
My grandmother. She is retired now but she moved to the US from Japan without knowing any english, and received her cosmetology license in Okinawa. She was married to my Filipino grandfather who joined the US Army, leading them to move to the United States. My grandmother received her US cosmetology license, she then opened her own hair salon. She became a business woman on her own while teaching herself english along the way. Her story inspired me because if an immigrant woman who came to this country barely knew any english and was capable of being her own boss, why couldn’t I?
What’s one piece of career advice you’d give a young person looking to follow in your footsteps?
Organize, organize, organize and be appreciative.
I wouldn’t have accomplished half of what I did if I wasn’t organized and showed appreciation to the people who helped me along the way. When I started, I didn’t have enough money to hire an assistant. I also said “yes” to every project thrown at me because I wanted the experience. There were weeks and even months when I didn’t have a single day off. I wouldn’t have survived those moments if I didn’t organize properly and show gratitude to the individuals who worked with me.
Another is to turn discouraging moments into something positive. Use rejection to feed your motivation to become better. I really don’t like hearing “no” or someone telling me I can’t do something so when I do hear those words, I like to reflect on my options to make it happen in other ways. Give yourself solutions to your roadblocks, there isn’t just one way to get to your goal. We may not always be able to control the situation but we can control how we handle it.
When you’re not killin’ it in your career, what can we find you doing?
Either trying a new restaurant, going to my boxing classes, or spending time with my family and friends.
Three words that describe you?
Loyal, Reliable, Organized
Three products you can’t live without?
My Caudalie products – S.O.S Intense Moisturizing Cream, Vinosource S.O.S Thirst-quenching Serum, and the Premier Cru The Eye Cream.
My skin gets so dry transitioning between each season that these products do wonders for me.
I’m a bit superstitious and prefer to keep that to myself until I make it happen.
Trendy or classic?
Classic. I love versatile minimalist pieces.
#1 place on your travel bucket list?
It’s a tie between Mexico City and Japan
Go to drink order?
In the Summer, Aperol Spritz and the rest of the year any natural wine from DoMaine Wines on Santa Monica Blvd.
That’s really tough because I love going out to restaurants.
I’d say Industrial Eats in Buellton, CA because it’s a hidden gem and always consistently delicious.
Miss Ada in Brooklyn and Cervos in Lower East Side Manhattan
Where can people follow you?