Branding & Personal Image: A Necessity in the Entertainment Industry

Welcome to Sui Generis!

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NS:  I’m Nikke Stiletto and we’re here with Kaity Moreira on Sui Generis Music.  And, although Ms. Moreira isn’t involved with music directly per se, well I’ll just let you tell everybody about yourself!

KM:  Well that’s fantastic!  Thank you for having me!  I’m basically a wardrobe stylist and personal shopper based in Atlanta , and not only do I work with corporations but I work with artists of different genres and pretty much anyone that needs to look good whether it’s for a photo shoot, a special event, or other event where they need to care about what they wear. [Laughter]

NS: [Laughter] Right!  Well cool. So let’s get started.  I saw on your blog or website that you were previously a yoga instructor?

KM: Yes that is correct.

NS:  I like how you mentioned on there that Yoga allows people to live their best lives possible or something to that effect.

KM:  Basically, my company is called Style Up and that’s two words, right, so “style”, which is not only fashion but also your personality, what you bring to it.  That’s style.   And then “Up” is the idea that you’re going somewhere , that there’s change and you want to be better whether it’s a better artist or have a better brand or just feel more confident when you’re out and about, and there’s a real value to that.

NS:  Alright!  So when it comes to the music industry, and we’re just speaking, mostly about women, but people in general, when up and coming artists or entertainers step on the scene, and they have a particular style and then style changes, can you talk a little bit about that change?

KM:  Sure.  And I’ll just say that most recording artists as they grow, as they reach different levels, as they achieve new levels, they’re style evolves.  It’s like it HAS to evolve in order to keep up with what’s going on.  You’ll notice a lot of recording artists, Rihanna, Mary J Blige, Queen Latifah, women in music, started out with a certain style and then as they became more successful, I mean, granted, they had more money to spend on clothes, but I think they also realized that they wanted to reach a wider audience and they need to really have a wardrobe that expresses who they are in the best possible way.

NS: And, to go along with that, as far as artists aging, do you feel artists should try and stay young and hip along with the music industry or do you think they should start to dress “age appropriate” or is there an “age appropriate” for people in the music industry?

KM:  Well, I’m sure if you ask Madonna she’ll say no! [Laughter]

 

NS: [Laughter]

KM: Yeah that’s one example of breaking boundaries left and right!  And I really think it depends on the person because as an artist you’re really there to create something.  Yet what you’re creating needs to be different; it needs to evolve because otherwise it’s just the same old same old.  People are going to get tired of listening to it; people are going to get tired of seeing the same thing.  “Age appropriate” is our normal day-to-day lives.  It’s very different than “age appropriate” for an artist.  Look at how Beyonce kind of evolved her image now that she’s a mother.  I think that’s a really nice way and a very smart way of evolving …and she keeps to the essence of who she is.  You still see her as a very powerful, fierce woman.

NS:  Definitely.  I think Beyonce has a very unique style.  Even though she might wear things that are similar to what other women are wearing in the music industry, she definitely has her own style and I definitely like how she has evolved as an artist.

I was looking at an article online** and they were talking about ageism, sexism, and women in the music industry, and they made a statement in regards to Mariah Carey saying that,”…with the Emancipation of Mimi of 2005, Mariah Carey was still under pressure to grow up and abandon the miniskirts that had made her a sex symbol a few years prior.”  And since entering her forties, they feel like she has received a lot of backlash from her fans over that issue.  What are your thoughts on that?

KM:  Well… [Laughter]…I would say for Mariah’s style, I would argue that it’s not necessarily “what” she’s doing, but “how” she’s doing it.  As a stylist I would suggest something like Angelina Jolie’s dress with a thigh high split or having other ways to showcase her curvaceous body without her reverting to something a teenager would wear.

NS:  Yes, I certainly agree with what you’re saying and feel that people in the music industry are held to a different set of standards sometimes with their wardrobe and how they dress regardless of their age.  Like Miley Cyrus is a good example.  She went from Hannah Montana to the Miley Cyrus we all know today.  And she is literally what everyone is talking about right now.  And possibly, if she were a man, there would be a different response to her “evolution”.

So how do you feel fashion goes for women vs. men in the music industry?

KM:  I think image is just as important for men and women.  In general, there are just fewer options for menswear, period.  [Men don’t have] the variety of clothes, there are fewer things to choose from.  I mean, you can dress sort of crazy as a man, but you’re outfits are not going to be what Lady GaGa would wear.  [Laughter]

NS: [Laughter]

KM:  It’s easier for men to break the mold and also be a little bit creative.  And then for women there’s such a huge range of things you can wear.  It’s hard for women because you can pretty much wear nothing but then people will complain about it versus you having lots of clothes on.  Often it’s easy for people to view females as a sort of sex object. So it’s up to women to figure out what’s going to work for them, what’s going to grab the attention but in a good way.   You have to do the things that make you stand out but when you stand out too much you can get a lot of criticism, then that’s going to hurt your image.  I think that happens to a lot for women.

NS:  Good point, very good point!

I was watching a YouTube video on you the other day with the GCBN, I thought that was awesome, because you made so many good points and references as far as image and what it can and cannot do for you and how it can work for you and I just wanted you to talk a little bit about that.

KM:  So, in the music industry some people talk about their brand some people don’t, but in the business world branding is a hot topic.  Branding is how you set your business apart.  And branding is how people perceive you when you’re not present.  Like, if I mentioned a cup of coffee, most likely you’re going to think of Starbucks, or if I mention a light bulb, most likely you’re going to think of GE.  If I mention pink hair, you’re going to think of Pink.  And that’s how she is able to brand herself as an artist so then the trademark is something that people can see and feel and you can translate that into dollars because that’s what makes you unique.  I think for a lot of recording artists a really good stylist is also someone that’s helping you with your brand, and thinking about your vision, where you want to go, what levels you want to achieve and what’s going to get you there and obviously is about the talent but there’s so many talented people who don’t stand out that you have to do all you can to make it work.

NS:  What would you suggest for up and coming artists who are on a budget or don’t have a budget, they just have what’s currently in their closet and don’t have the time or money to go buy anything because they’re still struggling artists so-to-speak?  What tips would you give them as far as their image or building their image?

KM:  My answer comes from my background as a yoga teacher as someone who is always striving to be better myself.  I would say take some time, sit down and figure out what makes you uniquely you.  And do a little bit of reflection.  I mean you might know what you do but ask your friends, ask your team what they think you represent, what makes you uniquely you so you see how other people are looking at you what they see, and what they hear.  Then you can use that feedback to make a really nice image and brand for yourself.  So when you’re speaking to a producer or meeting someone [and you’re] saying ‘I’m a recording artist’, the number one question they’re going to ask is ‘what makes you different’ and you’ll have an answer.

NS:  Great!!  And, I swear I’ve heard that question a million times, and I think the first time I heard that question I started my response off with ‘Ummmm…’ which is the wrong answer! [Laughter]

KM: [Laughter]

NS:  Ok so I’m going to give you some names and I want you to tell me the first thing that comes to mind when I give you a name, ok?

KM: Ok.

NS:  Sarah Jessica Parker

KM:  I think as her role as Carrie [in Sex in the City] she was very highly individualistic and quirky and I think she [portrayed] that through her fashion choices trying to push the envelope a little bit and unconventional and I really admire that.

NS: Cool and I definitely liked the Carrie character, too!  So next name….Kanye West.

KM: [Laughter]

NS: [Laughter]

KM: Umm…I mean what can I say? [Laughter]I think he has a very strong presence and his image has been very steady and I would say consistency has been his strongest suit.

NS:  Yeah I don’t think I ever expect…I expect the outside of the box from at this point.  I don’t expect anything average from him.

What about Kelly Rowland?

KM:  I think she has done a good job about finding her … I’d say she has a nice flare and she is smart about what she wears.

NS: Ok. So I know everyone is going to want to know this…what do you think about Michelle Obama? [Laughter]

KM: [Laughter] The question of the day!  I think it’s great that she has embraced her taste in clothes because I mean other women did previously  but it just wasn’t as, I guess, in the public [eye] I mean now there’s this whole women’s empowerment movement and then there’s also on the other side people are saying, “Well she’s into fashion, she loves the designers”.  I think as the First Lady, she’s done a great job about being classic being true to the White House aesthetic.  I mean she can’t wear a really short skirt or even like a low neckline.  But she can focus on designers and I give her props.

NS:  Yes Michelle Obama’s style is great.  I always hear people compare her style to that of Jackie Onassis, but I think her style is just that ‘Michelle Obama’s Style’ and I don’t think it was taken from anyone else.

So who are some people in limelight that you feel have great style or a great image?

KM:  There are so many!  Ok so even though I don’t really…well, regardless of the music, I really like the way Taylor Swift dresses.  She always looks stunning.  On the red carpet, she has the cat eye; she looks really good, very well dressed.

Let’s see, who else has great style….I love Kerry Washington and Zoe Saldana.  Both of them have a really nice…they keep it fun, they keep it edgy and sexy, but they look good!  And it’s flattering, it’s a really nice mix that both of them have in their style.  When they wear things it’s like ‘I want that’.

NS:  Exactly!  Like Kerry Washington’s character on scandal, If I could have all her trench coats I’d be happy! [Laughter]

KM: [Laughter] Right!

NS:  So what about the men?

KM:  Hmmm…I mean I’m partial to Usher, but who isn’t? [Laughter]

NS: [Laughter] Yeah!

KM:  But you can really see a nice evolution if you look at his older videos when he was first starting out and how he’s really been able to stay connected and genuine but have really high level style.  Um…Pharrell, obviously.  Really unique trend-setter was doing the whole ‘style” thing before a lot of other artists were thinking about it.

NS:  And what about …so in Jay-Z’s latest album he talks a lot about Tom Ford and a lot of people might not have known who Tom Ford was before Jay-Z’s album came out but he’s transitioned from wearing the jerseys and the button downs to really coming into his…it’s almost like Jay-Z doesn’t have an age to his fans, you know what I mean?  It doesn’t matter if Jay-Z was 25 or 60 they’d still follow him.  What do you feel about his style?

KM:  I feel like if I had to summarize him in one word I’d say Mogul.  And that’s his style.  He has this vibe and like you said he’s not going anywhere, he’ll still be great as time goes on.

NS:  Definitely!  Well, Kaity, I definitely appreciate you interviewing with me!  Is there anything else you want to leave for the viewers?

KM:  Visit my website! http://styleupco.wordpress.com.  We’re also on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Citrix; all are @StyleUpCo.  Let us know what you think and who your thoughts are on your favorite celebrities and their style because I always love to hear people’s thoughts!

NS:  Great!  And thanks again for coming on the show!

*This interview is brought to you by Nikke Stiletto, LLC and is for entertainment purposes only.*

**Read more at http://lavalizard.com/2013/08/expired-music-industry-sexism-ageism/#BdjUOyH0bsLt0hiR.99

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