Miquelle West has styled some of today’s hottest and most influential stars. But coming from humble beginnings, her journey hasn’t been all roses. I caught up with the Revolt stylist and we chatted about her road from Detroit to LA, lessons she’s learned from her famous clients, how she got through some of her toughest moments and more.
No, she wasn’t an overnight success. Miquelle was interested in fashion before she could talk.
“I was born in a world of fashion. My mom brought me home from the hospital wearing Christian Dior so I always loved fashion. I would pick out my clothes, pointing to them before I even knew how to speak. So I always knew this is what I wanted out of life.”
And she realizes the blessing in that.
“When you’re young you don’t really realize, but as an adult I definitely can say wow because if you can get that out of the way…to know what you want, then obviously you can be passionate about it and pursue it. I’ve had an advantage over a lot of people because it takes time to figure out what you want out of life but I always knew.”
Miquelle attended Parsons School of Design and had the opportunity to intern with Patricia Fields but her education and experience only added to what had already become a lifestyle.
“I’ve just always loved clothes. To me it’s more so like a lifestyle. I’ve always loved fashion. I love the details, things that are made beautifully. I enjoy luxury brands…I just always had a desire to want to be surrounded by these things.”
Miquelle’s journey started in Detroit but she moved to New York after graduating high school to pursue her dreams at the tender age of 18. She had a plan for herself and she knew that New York would give her the experience she needed to excel in her craft.
“I used New York to be a teacher for me because being from Detroit, Michigan, I was really involved in fashion but when I moved to New York it took me to a different level. I grew. Working with Patricia Fields for many years, I became more polished and refined.”
If New York was her teacher, her next stop had to give her the ability to show what she had learned. Miquelle made the transition to a place where her talent could be showcased…Los Angeles.
“I began getting a lot if work here (Los Angeles). When you live in LA there are only three things that people do: music, film and fashion. So it kind of goes hand in hand here. I’ve taken a lot of big projects and I’ve been able to further my career living in LA.”
And from her move to LA came loads of opportunity including a gig at Sean “Diddy” Combs Revolt television network. Working for the mogul was one of her lifelong dreams. Miquelle describes the opportunity as surreal.
“I wanted to work for him since I was 15 years old. I’d write him letters every time he’d open up a company. When he opened up Sean John and his store on 5th Avenue I sent him a gift. When he did his Broadway play “Raisin in the Sun” I was on the front row…I’ve been trying to work for him since I was a little girl. So when I finally got the job at Revolt I had that ‘dreams come true’ kind of moment.”
“It’s amazing that I’m his go to person when he needs to be dressed for a red carpet or when he’s doing an editorial for a magazine. We have a relationship where my birthday just passed and he called me and said ‘Hey Miquelle, happy birthday’. I didn’t know it would actually happen.”
Miquelle’s resume speaks for itself. In addition to working with Diddy, some of her other big name projects include assisting a lead stylist on a project for Madonna, styling Beyonce’s “Pretty Hurts” video from her most recent album “Beyonce” as well as multiple music videos for Ray-J. When reflecting on her accomplishments, she is overwhelmingly grateful.
“I remember the days when I wanted to give up. It hasn’t been overnight for me at all. It takes work, you have to work hard. I cannot stress that more but I’m blessed.”
As much as she poured into those projects, she took away just as much. Miquelle shared how seeing the work ethic of some of the world’s biggest stars pushed her to work even harder.
“Working on that shoot (Beyonce’s “Pretty Hurts” Video) I was really taken aback. There are not a lot of girls on her level” she said speaking of Beyonce. “Some will never make it to her level but they get diva, they want to be late, they want a break. Beyonce works. If call time is 9:00am she’s there no later than 9:30am. When it’s lunchtime for everyone that’s when she takes her lunch. That’s why she is where she is because she works hard. When you’re in the presence of that kind of work ethic, it would be scary if you didn’t want more for yourself after encountering that.”
That gratitude and her humble beginning makes Miquelle want to lead by example and show other little girls that they can do it too.
“I always want to lead by example. I don’t mind sharing my back story. My mom is serving two life sentences of 50 years so if anything, I don’t have to be a role model for everybody, but I at least need to be a role model for kids that grow up in the same position I did. My mom went to prison when I was 9 years old. So I need people to understand that yes these things happen and it’s a lot but you still can be someone. I’m the story that you don’t hear about. You more so hear about these situations and the kids growing up and ending up in the same position and their lives don’t really grow because of what happened with their parents. If I can set an example for just one kid in that position then I feel like I’ve done enough. Life takes its toll on you but you’ve still gotta fight. I’m always gonna fight, I’m gonna fight til the day I die.”
The one thing the stylist to the stars wants you to know?
“It’s not all about the clothes. You have to be confident. If you’re confident, then your clothes will look good.”
Look out for Miquelle’s work on red carpets in the future as well as on TV and in film. In the meantime check out her website www.MiquelleWest.com and follow her on Twitter @Iamfashion and Instagram @miquellewest.