A couple weeks ago, I had the humongous honor of being selected as one of the 10 Most Influential Women in Dallas. At the center of the sold-out event was the fabulous Laurie Graham. But that’s not surprising! Laurie has taken Dallas by storm the minute she relocated here from Los Angeles over two years ago. Her bright personality and warm soul stood out to me the moment that I met her, and I knew one day she’d have to be a part of Model Behaviors! This spokeswoman and celebrity stylist is a one-woman band, and we’re so lucky to get her Confessions today.
Read on for Courtney’s exclusive interview.
MB: What does a day in the life of “Spokeswoman and Celebrity Stylist Laurie Graham” look like?
LG: Many people think having a stylist is just for celebrities. While it’s definitely a luxury item in your budget, most of my clients are actually business professionals, men and women who simply don’t have the time or the knowledge of how to put a flattering outfit together from head to toe. They suffer from “I have an entire closet full of clothes but nothing to wear” syndrome! Almost everyone who calls me feels apologetic for their appearance. They know what they like when they see it but aren’t sure where to buy all the pieces and how to put it all together day after day. That’s where I come in!
Think of me as your Fashion Translator. I magically help you create a Signature Style with a wardrobe that best suits your individual lifestyle, personality, body-type, goals, and budget. I can help you land the job of your dreams or the significant other you’ve always wanted to attract, just by projecting yourself as a confident leader. With confidence comes options. I help make it as easy as possible for people to tell you YES!
I’m also a hired spokesperson for companies to help promote their products and services on television, which I absolutely LOVE! Whether I’m hosting an international TV commercial or doing a live segment on a morning news program, I feel the most “at home” when I’m on camera. It’s by far my favorite career path. Basically, I’m a cheerleader-for-hire and extract such great joy in giving my clients an enthusiastic endorsement in public. As an entrepreneur, I have such great respect for other company owners who have put so much of their time, energy, money and LOVE into their products. I like to use my influence to highlight the incredible features that someone has painstakingly developed and perfected.
MB: Your passion is contagious! It sounds like you put tons of effort into everything you do, which is an amazing quality, and it also sounds like a lot of hours. So, I’m wondering how you keep everything fresh. As a writer, I draw inspiration from life, from movies, books, music, from eavesdropping, from culture and current events, and from my dreams. Basically from anything I can get my hands on! Where does yours come from?
LG: Great question! I also need inspirational fuel to operate at “full throttle” capacity. I’m a perfectionist, and so when I’m working with a client, I give 110 percent of my time, focus, and resources to that project. I find that inspiration comes in many forms. For instance, I’m obsessed with studying other successful entrepreneurs—people who have the guts to take great risk and reap the financial reward. I love reading books by entrepreneurs, going to live seminars, and examining the habits of highly successful people. The manifestation of taking an idea and turning it into a profitable business is a big turn-on for me. I respect “do-ers.”
Also, I appreciate beauty—beautiful architecture, killer fashion, fine food, breathtaking views. And travel reinvigorates my soul too because it’s imperative to actually REST if you want to stay fresh. I learn so much from other cultures and ways of life. Bright colors make me happy too. I notice what other people wear all the time and like to compliment strangers throughout my day, asking where they purchased something. In all honesty, I also receive so much inspiration from my clients. I truly love people, so listening to what makes others tick—their goals, their struggles, their journey—makes me excited to work on their behalf to achieve their vision.
And laughing…LOTS of laughing.
I take my job very seriously, so unwinding with great friends and family along the way resets my brain.
MB: On your website, it says you work with anyone—from celebrities to real estate agents to stay-at-home moms. How long have you been a stylist and how did you first build up your client list?
LG: I’ve been a stylist for twelve years (since 2003) and have worked with thousands of clients along the way. My youngest client is seven and my oldest is eighty-two. From pear-shaped to apple-bottomed, from four foot ten to six foot seven, from every ethnicity and religion, from size zero to twenty-four wide, I’ve worked with every cross section of humanity you can imagine. Building my client list is no different than being a stockbroker or a real estate agent. You build your pipeline one person at a time and network like crazy.
Keep plugging away every single day, and then all of a sudden you will have a strong referral base of people who recommend your services. It takes time and a lot of hard work, but this is the case with anything worth achieving. Always keep plugging away at what you love and where your gifts can be shared.
MB: Now, I know you already have a ton of stuff on your plate, but when you look into the future, what do you see?
LG: I would love to host my own makeover show on national TV! I’m working on a concept now. I can’t wait to share all of my tips and tricks for updating wardrobes and images with the masses instead of with one person at a time. We need more positive programming on the airwaves so I’m working on creating a show that helps to EMPOWER others, not tear them down.
MB: There’s no doubt that you will make that happen! We’re totally pulling for you over here. So…Halloween is coming up. Are you going to dress up, and do you ever find Halloween costumes for clients?
LG: I LOVE Halloween and dressing up! This year, I’m going to a client’s really fun party where the theme is either a “dream or a nightmare.” That leaves a lot to the imagination, so as a stylist I won’t rest until I know I will win BEST COSTUME! The prize is a six-night stay in Aspen, Colorado, so I’ll have to bring my A-game to pull off that victory. I haven’t nailed down exactly what I’m doing yet, but my boyfriend and I will team up as a unified costume. I’ve actually never dressed a client for Halloween. I’ll leave that to the professional costumers!
MB: This is a question I like to ask pretty much everyone, especially anyone involved with creative work like you. What do you do when self-doubt comes knocking? I feel like I’m constantly at battle with it. Do you have any secret methods for working through it that you can pass on to the rest of us?
LG: In terms of styling individual clients with their wardrobe needs, I can honestly say that I never have self-doubt about delivering what I promise. That confidence has only come with time and LOTS of practice.
But when I’m working on other projects that stretch my skill sets and I feel self-doubt creeping in, I’ll always do two things: 1) Ask for help from someone really skilled in whatever area it is I need more guidance with and 2) Stop…Take a deep breath…And pose the question to myself, “How Can I receive the help I need to get this job done to the satisfaction of everyone involved?” It’s a question that only I can answer for myself.
I truly believe there is always a solution for everything, so sometimes it’s a matter of trying to look at something from an objective angle. Constantly growing and trying new things is just a part of life and business. So facing those challenges and fears head-on takes away the power of doubt. Every successful person tackles new tasks they’ve never tried before on a weekly basis. Moving forward DESPITE fear separates the victims from the winners.