Business & Career

A Stylist Tells How To Make It In New York

by Rosie McKay

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Celebrity Stylist And Co-Founder Of The Bridesmaid Studio, Cat Pope, Opens Up About Life In New York

From her first internship at Shop Til You Drop to styling celebrity clients in New York, Cat Pope has cracked fashion. Here she opens up to See.Need.Want about her humble beginnings, big breaks and new life in New York.

When did you know you wanted to be a stylist?

I’m certain that I was hooked on my first day of my first internship which was at Shop Til You Drop magazine. There was so much happening and everyone really guided me and taught me from day one. I was still at University at the time and it was such a refreshing place to spend time during the week rather than musty old lecture halls. 

How did you get your break?

The person who taught me and mentored me at Shop Til You Drop really pushed me to put myself out there with other internships to grow my experience whilst I was still at University. The minute I graduated she gave me a job at Cleo Magazine. It was the most amazing first job as it was a small team so I really got to learn so much and be really hands on. 

Did you always dream of working in New York – how did the opportunity arise?

Yes! I had known for some time it was my goal. I kept pushing it back though due to great opportunities coming up in Sydney. In 2014 my boyfriend at the time (now my husband) and I visited New York on holiday and we both decided then that we wanted to go for it. 

How does the fashion/styling industry differ in the US than back home in Australia?

It’s totally different in the sense that the pace here is extreme. You can get booked on a job that is tomorrow so you really need to know exactly where to get everything you need. Also there's a bigger variety in the work here. There’s red carpet, advertising, look books, e-commerce, editorial and television. I work on a huge variety of projects each week.

Who are some of the celebrities you have styled to date?

My speciality at the moment is geared towards young actresses as well as models. I work really hard with them to help establish themselves in the overcrowded industry and help them get noticed on the red carpet. Some of those clients include Jess Hart, Andreja Pejic, Sofia Resing and Nadia Alexander. I have worked with really big celebrities in the past whilst assisting too. 

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Sofia Resing At The Winky Lux Spring Campaign Launch At Winky Lux Clubhouse In New York City 04 05 2018 1
What is one of the most memorable styling jobs you have worked on?

I have worked on the Oscars and Met Galas in the past and they are the ultimate.

What’s the most crazy deadline you have ever had to work to?

I get asked all the time to make crazy deadlines work. They don’t intimidate me any more as I have amazing relationships with designers and know exactly where to go for specific body shapes or briefs. 

What are some of the challenges you have come up against? How have you overcome them?

I find it constantly disappointing and challenging that people need a stylist for a job but don’t always pay whats necessary for the job to get done. I find myself dipping into my own fee for the actual costs of the job such a tailoring for example. 

Which brand or celebrity would be the ultimate client for you?

Jennifer Lawrence and her Dior campaigns are THE ULTIMATE. #GOALS

How does it feel to see pics of your styling work in print or on splashed around mags / tele? Do you still get a kick out of it?

Definitely! It’s an amazing feeling to have people put their trust in you to create their public image. It never gets old.

What’s the best thing about your job?

The people you meet, the creativity involved and not sitting at a desk every day.

What does a typical day look like for you?

There really is no such thing. It could be shopping with a VIP client on Madison ave, on set for a shoot or just meetings all day with designers. 

Does NYC feel like home now? Do you think you will return home?

We definitely plan to come home but not yet. It definitely feels like home and my company here is always growing so, for now, we are focussing on that.

What’s your advice to anyone trying to crack into the industry?

Meet with people constantly and take as many “informational interviews” as you can. You need a really strong network of people and contacts to make it in this industry. All of my work comes through word of mouth as well as people referring  me. 

What’s the best piece of advice you were ever given?

I learnt this at an early as whilst being a girl guide and it still reigns true every day.  “Always be prepared.” 

NYC is one of my fave cities – please share your:
Fave shopping hotspots?

Barneys or the boutiques along Bleecker Street in the West Village 

Best place for a cocktail.

Employees Only 

Favourite beauty haunts – facial / nails / spa?

I’m obsessed with my skin so Facelove for an amazing facial drainage massage or HeyDay for an express facial. 

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