All things fashion can best describe Nekea Valentine. From a young age she held her own when it came to identifying what style truly meant to her. It eventually became her moniker and stamp to the world of the fashion industry as she has not only styled for celebrity and high fashion models and clothing companies, she has also written some of the greatest reviews, short pieces and blurbs about high-end labels. Valentine’s name is one to be reckoned with and her sense of style is like none other, which is why we named her The Best of the Best Fashion Stylist of 2014.
Here is her interview:
- How and when did you get started in your industry? – I got started in this industry writing for magazines in 2005. I wrote articles, assisted with photo shoots and styled for free until I built up my portfolio. It became my full-time career in 2010.
- What makes you different from others in your industry? – Being able to both write and edit across multiple channels and industries. I can write about fashion, beauty, lifestyle, business, personal development, etc… I’m also able to write/edit for both print and digital. I combine my work with visual media by conceptualizing layouts or photo shoots for magazines and communicating that to the graphic designer and being able to use Photoshop and InDesign as well. I can also style on set, whether it’s people (i.e. models) or interior (i.e. home goods).
- What are you most passionate about when it comes to doing what you do? – Being creative. I love conceptualizing the vision itself for every project, which generally includes research specific to each assignment and/or task. This keeps me in a position to continuously learn and expand upon my skills. I also love defying the norm. People have this perception that media is negative but portraying fashion, beauty, lifestyle, etc…can all be very positive if one is strongly rooted in the Lord. There is nothing vain about desiring to look our best for Him – both inside and out.
- When did you have your ah ha moment and realize you were where you should be? – I’d been taking writing workshops to hone my skills and freelancing part-time since 2005. Once I’d built up enough capital to support my career transition, I knew it was time to pursue it full-time.
- Who are some of your role models (within your industry and outside of your industry)? – Marita Golden and Amy DuBois Barnett are two role models and mentors. They have both been very instrumental in taking me under their wings and mentoring, encouraging and providing me with opportunities and resources that really helped me excel within my career.
- Where do you draw your inspiration from? – God-given creativity. God has immersed creativity in everything and we can really draw from it when we slow down and pay attention. I’m inspired by the sway of green leaves on a tree with its intricate branches and marveled by the roots that sustains it just as much as a creative piece drawn or written by a fellow creative. I pay attention on purpose to all of what God has created and thank him for spoiling me with all of its beauty :-).
- Where do you see yourself going in the next 3-5 years? – I see myself furthering my career with more experience in expressing creativity through various mediums. Writing/editing will always be my foundation and mainstay but the visual aspects, that complement the written word, are what I’m looking forward to learning much more about. These experiences include editorial design along with how graphics tell the story, styling for photo shoots and/or directing photo shoots.
- What has been your greatest comeback story? – Definitely leaving my full-time career in finance to pursue being a full-time creative. I down-sized extensively, got a roommate after years of living alone to pay the bills and have since recovered quite well. I did not have a lot of support in my decision to leave what many viewed as a “secure” job or a stable career.
- How does what you do impact those around you? – It inspires others to pursue their own dreams with the understanding that God is our provision and never said that creatives have to be broke and unable to support themselves financially. Yes, it is the road less traveled and more challenging in many ways – but what an excellent way to learn how to truly depend upon the strength of the Holy Spirit.
- What is your greatest quote, belief or accomplishment? – One belief that I really love is “In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” – John 1:4 and My life is in Christ. What I do for a living does not define me. The revelation of that is just one of God’s many precious gifts to me.