‘The Real’ Stylist Dressing The Hosts & More!
When daytime talk show The Real premiered last month, we were so excited to see a talk show with a panel of all women of color. Watching Loni Love, Tamar Braxton, Tamera Mowry-Housley, Adrienne Bailon and Jeanni Mai debate about juicy topics, interview guests and have the time of their lives each weekday has become popular in our office but we’ve been paying closer attention to their ever-changing hair and fun wardrobe choices. We recently got the opportunity to speak with Jeni Elizabeth, the stylist for The Real, and she tells all about dressing the ladies, landing the job and more.
How did you break into fashion styling? Any advice for others who are interested in a career as a fashion stylist?
I started studying fashion about 12 years ago at FIT in NYC and I got a job at Henri Bendel, where I ran the women’s department for 3 years. Going to work every morning never seemed like a job. I knew I had found my passion, and I truly felt like the happiest girl in the world! The best advice I could give is to never give up. There are SO many areas of fashion that people can get involved in to break into the industry. If studying is not something you can make happen, it’s as easy as getting a job at any retail store and to just continue to push yourself.
How did you land the role as fashion stylist for The Real?
I am lucky enough to work for an amazing company 495 Productions. The Real was a project that 495 and Telepictures teamed up to do together. I was asked if it was something that I wanted to, and without even hesitating, I answered yes. I knew with such great companies and an amazing group of women, it was going to be the opportunity of a lifetime. However I also knew I would have competition for that job. When I got the call, I was so excited.
How do you decide what to dress the hosts in?
Each girl is so completely different. It’s so important when you have a panel like this that you are able to capture each individual style. I had an amazing team of assistants and together we would shop until we dropped with different options we thought each of them would like. There were tons of fittings, tons of photos, and TONS of clothes. In the end it was process of elimination in finding looks that both the girls and I loved. At the end of the day, each girl felt fabulous and like they were expressing their personalities through their clothing, and that’s best past of my job!
How would you describe each of their styles?
Loni is hilarious, but at the same time she’s so intelligent, she’s driven, fun and she’s caring. Her look was comfortable, approachable and soft. Adrienne has an amazing body so she can really look good in anything. Adrienne’s look was sassy, Hot and fabulous. Tamera just had a baby and she was looking to spice things up a bit within her wardrobe and her amazing post-baby body! Tamera’s style was modern young chic. Everything Tamera wore I would want in my own closet!
Jeannie Mai is a fashion fabulous diva! She’s not afraid to take fashion chances, and push the envelope. She loves accessories, and finding the right article of clothing is only the base of her look that she builds on until she gets its perfect! Tamar is absolutely beautiful and her clothing seals the deal! I worked with her stylist Ashley, and I can promise you this woman has the closet that every woman dreams of having, with the shoes to match! Tamar is Hot, daring and fashion-forward.
Which one of the hosts is most willing to take a fashion risk? Which one is least likely?
I would say that Jeannie is the most likely to take a fashion risk. She believes in taking chances with clothing and she stands by anything she puts on. Loni is least likely. She is comfortable in knowing her style and what she likes and she is happiest sticking to it. However I will tell you that by the end of the show we managed to get Loni into a small heel and wedge! I would tease her that those were her stilettos.
Each of the hosts on The Real has a different body type. What are the key fashion rules for tall, pear-shaped, plus size, petite, boyish, etc. shapes?
Each body shape has different rules and guidelines as far as certain styles that flatter each figure. However I am also a firm believer in wearing what you feel fabulous in! I also am a firm believer in undergarments. They work miracles! One of my biggest pet peeves is when someone says “Ugh I could never wear anything like that because I am too tall, or too fat, or too short.” My response is always “Yes you can and we will figure out a way to make it work.” Tailors, Spanx and a good stylist are all you need! You only live once, so every girl deserves to wear anything she wants and be fabulous.
A great outfit isn’t complete with great hair and makeup. Do you work hand-in-hand with the makeup artists and hair stylists to create their looks? Do you recommend starting with your outfit first, or hair and makeup?
Yes I do work hand in hand with hair and makeup. In network I find it is usually the clothing that is chosen first, where as in commercials or photo shoots sometimes we work clothing around hair and makeup. On this particular show I would email each of the girls the evening before and let them know what they were wearing so they could let their glam team know first thing in the morning. By the time I would get to each girl they were fully done with glam and ready to get dressed so it was perfect!
If you aren’t fortunate to have a stylist each day to help you get dressed, what is your advice to looking great? Any key rules to follow?
1. Know your body and be comfortable with your choices.
2. Have fun.
3. Not everything needs to always match perfectly!
4. Never be afraid of undergarments, every woman wears them!
5. Take chances and express your feelings everyday through your wardrobe.
Lastly, if you could dress any celebrity that you’ve never worked in, who would it be and why?
I have always said I would love to dress Melissa McCarthy. I adore her personality and think she must be one of the most wonderful women in the world. I would love the opportunity to work with her, and I am keeping my fingers crossed!