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Our Interview with Stylist Steffany Allen, 6/01/2011
by Suzette Banzo

Sometimes within the most simple concept or basic need, there must exist the grace of strength in order to seek the change that will fulfill you.

The stunning sudden loss of Mia Amber left us all breathless. How could someone so full of passion, youth, radiance and hope, someone whose last tweet was "I'm excited for the future", leave us so soon?  People who are truly doing what inspires them are not only excited for their futures, but are also completely stimulated by their present.  In speaking with Steffany Allen for this month's article, the conversation left me reflecting on the journey Steffany has embarked on, and the importance of knowing how to recognize when it's time to walk away from something that no longer inspires you and listen to your inner voice to guide you.

Steffany touched on something I know to be true: many women become sidetracked in life by the pressure of the moment to moment needs and wants of others, they forget the necessity of self care and preservation for their own sense of self worth. The mark of a great stylist is having the sensitivity to understand not only what works well on an individual's body to help create a mood, but also to honor the balance that seems to allude us most of the time. A great stylist will manifest the beauty beneath the surface. The multitalented Steffany Allen is the stylist to pull it all together for you!



Suzette:  Many of us have had to reinvent ourselves over the past few years; tell us a little about your transition from working in corporate America to becoming a freelance stylist.

Steffany: I had been working at Manolo Blahnik for nearly 15 years when I was liberated in the Fall of 2009. I was the production and distribution manager for the shoe company and there was a time when I truly loved my job but near the end I felt unfulfilled.  I have always loved fashion and I have a background in design, but I didn't want to pursue that arena again.
One evening, after watching The Rachel Zoe Project, my husband suggested I become a stylist.  I thought about it and agreed, "Yes, I can do that!"   As a curvy woman I know the challenges of finding clothes and finding fashion forward pieces; I immediately recognized this as my niche.

Suzette: Who gave you a start in styling?

Steffany: I didn't know anyone! My trainer, Diane Williams was a plus model for Wilhelmina. After chatting with her, she helped me to create the vision of being a plus fashion stylist and personal style coach. Once I had that in mind, I started to research the industry and made valuable connections. I volunteered as a dresser for Full Figured Fashion Week and attended the seminars so that I could continue networking. I also made sure to attend each full figured event; I was everywhere! Diane hired me for her shoot with Tony Armstrong, and I met makeup artist Tara Taylor.  I saw PLUS editor Maddy and Tara again at the Eliza Parker trunk show and mentioned my availability to assist in a shoot. Lucas Pictures was shooting the holiday collection for Sydney's Closet and the late Mia Amber Davis Yard was the lead stylist. Maddy thought it would be good opportunity to have me assist Mia and I was beyond excited!

Suzette: I can imagine! If I'm not mistaken that shoot included Fluvia Lacerda, the legendary Catherine Schuller, and a few rising stars in the industry.
 
Steffany:  YES!! This shoot was LEGENDARY but I was able to contain myself.

Suzette: What do you love about styling; what influences you?

Steffany: I love having the opportunity to create. Editorial styling allows me to create a fantasy or something really over the top. Having the trust of the models, photographer and creative director is very rewarding; it means I am doing something right. When I am working one on one with a client as a personal stylist, I have the privilege of helping her to reconnect with herself beyond being a mother, employee, etc. It's a chance for her to feel unique and special. Women are often lost in their roles and it seems that their health and fashion are the first things to go. Part my goal as a personal stylist is to encourage and support women in their efforts to look and feel good with the help of clothes and accessories.





 
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PLUS Model Magazine inspires the style-savvy, fashion-forward, full-figured woman to embrace her curves.

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