Monday, January 21, 2013

Up close with June Ambrose by: Yasmine Yasmine [Article]

Up close with June Ambrose: The celebrity stylist shares her secrets! By: Yasmine Yasmine

June Ambrose on why she posts so many pictures and comments on her social media sites: ‘I am the Anna Wintour of my page.’
 June Ambrose on why she posts so many pictures and comments on her social media sites: ‘I am the Anna Wintour of my page.’ Credit: www.TheQaffect.com


Wednesday night [1/16/13], in a style that made it difficult to believe that you were not her bestfriend dishing over a quart of ice cream, June Ambrose, arguably one of the
most influential women in fashion, sat down to share her most intimate thoughts on
fashion, business, media and more.

With rolled up sleeves, the celebrity stylist unpacked real stories behind what appears to be a glamorously charmed life, revealing that her first name is really June Marie. And that was just the beginning…

June Ambrose on styling being a shortcut to becoming a celebrity: ‘Without good work there is no celebrity.’
June Ambrose on styling being a shortcut to becoming a celebrity: ‘Without good work there is no celebrity.’ Credit: www.TheQaffect.com

What people may be surprised to know is that June did not haphazardly stumble
into the world of fashion; rather it was a calculated, hard fought decision
borne of a childhood spent dodging bottles lobbed at her by local philistines
frightened by her foreign culture and even more foreign fashion sense. Later in
life, June encountered similar resistance to her sartorial choices when her
boss deemed her efforts towards "reinventing the corporate America look" via
the mixing of plaid skirts and boots with office ecrus and grays as "unacceptable."


June Ambrose on handling her business as a stylist: ‘The first thing I did was get a tax ID. I got incorporated!’
 June Ambrose on handling her business as a stylist: ‘The first thing I did was get a tax ID. I got incorporated!’ Credit: www.TheQaffect.com

Armed with the brains that earned her the title of salutatorian, an entrepreneurial
spirit she credits to her West Indian heritage and a passion for fashion, June
Ambrose went into business for herself. Legitimately. So that her hardworking,
single mother could respect her decision as a real career move. "The first
thing I did was get a tax ID. I got incorporated!"


And incorporate she did, incorporating costume design into the urban aesthetic via Hype Williams productions and celebrities into fashion marketing campaigns for
Karl Kani & Cross Colours. When speaking about Hype, a legendary video and
film director, June casually mentioned that she "...knew Hype as the guy who
painted walls. He was a graffiti artist." She continued on to share that she "...worked
with Jay-Z from inception" with a wistfulness that seemed to hint at a
nostalgia for the early years of hip hop when creativity was currency and
celebrity was a serendipitous side effect, not a goal.


Indeed, June’s voice took on a more serious tone when she spoke on her dual role as a
stylist and a celebrity starring in her own show. "I have to do the
celebrity things and then go back and tie my clients’ shoes." For those who may
consider styling as a shortcut to fame June cautioned that "without good work
there is no celebrity," which is true even of herself and is why she still gets
nervous with new projects, and continues to work 18 hour days.


June Ambrose on what happened when she brought only one look to style an entire music video: ‘We made it work!’
June Ambrose on what happened when she brought only one look to style an entire music video: ‘We made it work!’ Credit: www.TheQaffect.com

Hard work and heavyweight connections alone, however, does not a June Ambrose make. Listening, learning and restraint are all trademarks of the fashion maverick
who said of herself, "I spent a lot of years being wallpaper. I listen. I’m
always the sober girl in the room." Aspiring interns and employees of
June should take careful note of these traits as they are the same ones that
she values in her staff. Indeed, in a particularly humorous moment June warned
against the dangers of cyber "ratchetness" and the negative impact it can have
on your career, as "your social media is an extension of your resume."


Which leaves one wondering if her aversion to "ratchetness" had anything to do with the decision not to renew Styled By June for a second season on VH1. A move she confirmed for the first time during last night’s conversation.

For those trying to figure out how they will get their style fix in the absence of
her show, June stated that she will be launching her shoe line, June Ambrose,
later this year on the Home Shopping Network. June will also continue to avidly
post on her social media sites for which she proudly stated "I am the Anna
Wintour
of my page."


June Ambrose on why she screens for 'ratchet' activity of aspiring employees on twitter & Facebook: ‘your social media is an extension of your resume.’
 June Ambrose on why she screens for 'ratchet' activity of aspiring employees on twitter & Facebook: ‘your social media is an extension of your resume.’ Credit: www.TheQaffect.com

 If you’re surprised by June’s reverential Anna Wintour comment, don’t be. Humility
seems second nature to the woman who revealed that her first job was at Kentucky
Fried Chicken, her first audition for LaGuardia as a drama student was met with
a denial and that her first styling gig nearly ended in disaster when she only
brought one look for DJ Quayshon to wear in his video (A HUGE styling no no). "We
made it work!" June laughed, but only after accepting the invaluable
critique doled out to her by Quayshon’s publicist who counseled, "You need
options. Always show up with options."


Over the decades June has not only shown the world that opting to walk (or style) to
your own beat is a viable path to personal and financial prosperity, but
that it can be achieved without sacrificing your relationships with loved ones.
When asked about juggling work, a husband and kids June unhesitatingly responded, "My team knows my family comes first."


June Ambrose on the subject of people being flirtatious while they work: "Don't flirt if you don't how."
June Ambrose on the subject of people being flirtatious while they work: "Don't flirt if you don't know how." Credit: www.TheQaffect.com


What comes second you ask? A good guess would be integrity or a sense of humor given her response to the question of how as an attractive woman she managed business with clients who wanted to mix in some pleasure. June spoke to the importance of setting clear boundaries, engaging in responsible interpersonal interactions and not doing anything you don’t want to do. She coyly ended with a warning for all parties that may be involved in such situations, "Don’t flirt if you don’t know how."

With such an abundance of wisdom the question inevitably arises as to what makes
this woman of many achievements (and wardrobe changes to match) worry in the still
hours of the night when the lights and Louboutins are off. "I have anxiety
about not being relevant...I have anxieties about not being remembered."


This from a style icon who at that very moment was sitting on the stage of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture facing a standing room only crowd of fans, fashionphiles and newly minted friends attired in various signature Ambrose accoutrements. Perhaps she didn't notice that she was the sole reason that they left work early, trekked across state lines and sat/stood transfixed for two hours at the Harlem's Fashion Row sponsored event. Or maybe she missed the multitude of devices being held up to capture her every word, gesture and outfit thread.

Well June Marie, now is a good time to listen. If not to this writer who will never forget your commitment to candor paired with a sparkling cardigan, floral blouse and skirt combo, then to the inhabitants of the hallowed Schomburg; Richard Wright, Romare Bearden, Gordon Parks and many others.

An honest servant of art will always be relevant and well remembered…


-s[Smile]-





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