What's It Like Being A Celebrity Stylist? Amanda Sanders Has The Breakdown – EXCLUSIVE
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Could you ever picture yourself advising Gwyneth Paltrow what to wear to a red carpet event? What about helping Chris Rock find the perfect look to host the Academy Awards? If you think that's a job filled with glitz and glamour, you're right — but it also takes a ton of sleepless nights, an ever-changing daily schedule, and rolling with the punches when an outfit goes awry. So, what's it like being a celebrity stylist? It turns out that the job is key in helping the world's most prominent stars look their best both on and off the red carpet.
After originally going to school to pursue her dream of being a costume designer, celebrity fashion consultant Amanda Sanders was thrown into the realm of styling after assisting the cast and guests that appeared on The Dana Carvey Show, which included the likes of Steve Carell and Steven Colbert. That role catapulted her into becoming the costume designer for HBO's The Chris Rock Show, The Wanda Sykes Show, and Louie.
I love that clothes are a form of expression, and I love that I can help people interpret themselves. I always feel like a wardrobe speaks before you speak — it’s the language of of who you are before you even open your mouth.
I wondered whether Sanders' days were filled with non-stop celebrity meetings or if her day-to-day looked a bit more like the average person's job.
"Well, the one nice thing about what I do is that there is no real day-to-day," Sanders explains. "It’s me getting on a plane to go see a client before a fitting. Sometimes it’s going to someone’s home and going through their closet and helping them edit and get ready for the new season ahead. Sometimes it’s being in department stores or showrooms — I'm fortunate that no two days are the same," she says with a laugh.
When I ask Sanders about the celebrities she's worked with — like Jamie Fox, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeff Goldblum, and Ali Wentworth — she tells me that she has plenty of memorable moments with certain clients, particularly when it comes to a big event.
"When Chris Rock hosted [the Academy Awards] for the first time, that was a big event," she reveals. "It’s amazing how much thought goes into the image ... that really stood out to me."
A big part of the job, as I soon begin to realize, is for Sanders to create the perfect look, and then step away, allowing her client to impress their audience without necessarily giving credit to Sanders.
You mean to tell me that a celebrity stylist's work goes largely unnoticed?!
While that might seem unfortunate, there are arguably more pros than cons to Sanders' job. She tells me that styling for a red carpet event is undoubtedly the most glamorous part of being a celebrity stylist.
"I love styling for red carpet events — more so for women than men, because it involves dresses, jewelry; it involves just the right bag, and just the right hairstyle. It's sort of like somebody's wedding day," Sanders says.
At the end of the day, I get to sprinkle fairy dust and make people look better than the day before.
But a job can't come without its challenges, and Sanders reveals that her work often takes her to areas outside of her home base in New York City. When she leaves the city, she doesn't have her crew of trusted vendors — particularly, her preferred tailor, who she credits as the one person who can perform magic on things like a too-long blouse or a too-tight dress.
"I'm only as good as the tailor. I'm the liaison, and I can find great pieces and put them together and make them a look, but the tailoring is really what I think makes somebody own the looks versus it owning them," Sanders says. "Tailoring is important, so that it's you wearing the clothes versus the clothes wearing you."
And if you think that the only clients Sanders takes on have A-list names, you might be surprised to find out that she also loves to style the average person, too.
"I love working with everyday people," she tells me. "How they walk into a room and feel differently, or how they can close a deal differently — whatever it is, that to me is sometimes more appealing than working with celebrities."
When I ask her what it is about everyday people that brings joy to her job, she tells me, "People are self conscious, and they want to look their best and they want to feel their best. Nobody wants to feel invisible. And we all have to wear clothes ... it’s nice to be able to teach somebody what works best for them and why. Whether it’s a color, a fabric, a designer, or a brand, I can give them a different sense of confidence that they carry around with them."
In the end, what Sanders loves about her job is boiled down to the most essential piece of styling — the clothes themselves.
"I love that clothes are a form of expression, and I love that I can help people interpret themselves," she says. "I always feel like a wardrobe speaks before you speak. It’s the language of who you are before you even open your mouth."
And, while her job does have its difficulties (for instance, she's never off-the-clock and there's no way to ever really "shut down"), in the end, she never feels like her job is a chore or a task that needs to be done reluctantly.
"[Styling] is not a gigantic process, you just need to be patient," Sanders tells me. "It should be fun, you know. I always think of my job as fun and sort of magical. At the end of the day, I get to sprinkle fairy dust and make people look better than the day before."