SHE LEFT THE CORPORATE LIFE FOR HER LIFE'S CALLING: MY INTERVIEW WITH EDITORIAL STYLIST + BLOGGER KRYSTAL J. BENSON OF #INSPIREDBYKRYS

SHARED BY SHARRA GREENE

Back in May, I met stylist Krystal Benson while attending a fashion networking event. Pretty, poised, and dressed to kill, Krystal delivered major keys concerning business, networking, and the power of spirituality, while serving on the panel. I had to catch up with her during the intermission. I instantly vibed with her... It could be a stylist thing, or maybe a Leo thing, or both. Needless to say, I had to bring her wisdom and knowledge to The Walking Art Blog! Check out my Q&A session with her as Krystal weighs in on how she stays motivated, how she deals with different demands and personas in the industry, what trend she's had enough of, and more!

So, what has inspired your career as an editorial stylist + content creator and what motivates you during the not so sexy parts of styling? 

     I've always loved to create and be creative. From doing DIY projects at home to making my own clothes, being creative is one of my favorite pastimes. Since I was a child, I would play store and draw sketches of clothes and sell them to my family members. As I've grown, my love for fashion has also evolved. At first, I wanted to be a personal stylist or a stylist to the stars, but I soon realized that my joy came from digging deeper. 

When it comes to fashion, I love telling a story with clothes, which is why I chose to go the editorial route. After 3+ years in Corporate America, I decided to quit my 9-5 and follow my dreams of being a freelance wardrobe stylist in New York City.  This avenue allows me to have fun and create a story that can spark a conversation. 

     When it comes to styling or content creating, what motivates me to keep going is the finished product. I know that nothing worth having is going to be easy. But the end result is always great when you push through! 

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  "The Girl Next Door" styled by  Krystal J. Benson . Photo by  Dominique Guillaume .

"The Girl Next Door" styled by Krystal J. Benson. Photo by Dominique Guillaume.

So you’ve just recently wrapped a major campaign with Nike + Amazon.. what was your experience like with this campaign? Were there any challenges along the way and if so, how did you push through to deliver? 

Yes!!! The Nike + Amazon campaign was my biggest job to date. I was the main assistant for the head stylist on the job which meant I was with him for the duration of the entire project. I knew all of the ends and outs and did a lot of the leg work. One of my biggest challenges was dealing with his type A personality. He was very demanding and overthinking throughout the entire campaign. The way that I pushed through was by praying each morning before I walked on set and staying organized! Organization is key!!  

You’re currently working with Brooks Brothers on some online content.. is working with this brand teaching you anything new about the styling / fashion industry? 

     Yes, I'm definitely learning a lot about the e - commerce side and what all it takes to get content put up on the site. Some may think that you just take a picture and post it, but there is a science to all of the webpages that you do your online shopping on. You'd be surprised, all the work that goes into it. Aside from that, when we shoot mens clothing, I'm learning a lot about mens tailoring and the different terminology for the essential garments that make up a man's wardrobe. 

  "Like a Boy", styled by  Krystal J. Benson . Photo by  Pierre Walker .

"Like a Boy", styled by Krystal J. Benson. Photo by Pierre Walker.

I personally think that styling as a skill / profession that is really slept on or underrated.. have you experienced people sleeping on your skills personally and if so, what do you do when in this situation?

     To be honest, no. Thankfully, my friends and family have all been supportive of my career choices thus far.. and on the days when I find myself questioning my abilities, I'm reminding by my circle that I am the shit, and that I shouldn't doubt myself for one second! I can't lie, when your peers are becoming doctors, lawyers and dentists making 100k out of college, you can find yourself thinking you picked the wrong major. Trust me, I've done it. But when I sit and think that each day, I get to wake up and do what I love and that means so much more! 

      Now, let’s talk style for a moment! What is one trend that you think is slept on and one trend that you think is highly overrated and/or won’t be around much longer?

The trend that I think is slept on, in my opinion, is minimalism, which is an overall vibe. I think in today's society, people love to be extra. Extra with the colors, extra with the prints, extra with everything and sometimes that's cool! But nothing can beat a classical, minimal ensemble. They always say that "less is more" and I agree!

I am OVER the fanny pack trend, especially for men. I think it has ran its course and it's time to get into some new statement accessories! 

  "Fearless Brown Girl" styled by  Krystal J. Benson . Photo by  @torrij_

"Fearless Brown Girl" styled by Krystal J. Benson. Photo by @torrij_

There are a lot of aspiring stylists / fashion creatives who struggle with what their daily /weekly grind should look like. As a wardrobe stylist myself, I’m constantly revisiting my to do list and adding and taking away certain tasks to make sure my focus is where it needs to be. I know this process is different for everyone but could you give just a little insight on how to stay productive and not just “busy” as a wardrobe stylist? 

I think we all struggle from time to time with staying focused. As creatives, our minds are forever thinking of ways to create and evolve. That's the fun part of doing what we do but it can also be one of the hardest things to manage. First, I would say to write out your goals, short and long term. Then, devise a plan that will help you attack it in pieces until you accomplish your goal. And finally put that work into action. Like I said earlier, organization is key so be sure to write everything down and give yourself deadlines to hold yourself accountable. 

Also, whatever you do, remember that you are your own person. Don't compare yourself to the next person. Your journey is different. Your ideas are different. Nobody else can be you and that is your super power. 

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     Krystal, thank you so much for sharing your insight! I'm glad that we crossed paths back in May! Keep up with Krystal's journey on her site and social media!

The goal was to give aspiring creatives some advice from a style pro so I hope you got something from this highlight! Comment your thoughts below! 

Sharra,

"The definition of walking art."