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You might not know her by name, but chances are you’ve seen her work (especially if your guilty pleasure is a reality show fix). DaMara Altman is a fashion editor and celebrity wardrobe stylist who has worked with some of your favorite reality starlets such as Naima Mora, Keenyah Hill & Ashley Rossi (Americas Next Top Models), The Wanderlust Girls (NYC Fashion Personalities), and Gretchen Rossi (Real Housewives of Orange County). We caught up with this former visual merchandiser to get the scoop on how she was able to parlay her passion for fashion into a very promising and successful styling career. Take Notes!
DaMara, what actually sparked your love affair with fashion?
Losing my best friend. She died when I was 7. My mother chose to find an outlet for me to deal with her death and for some reason she chose sewing. I’ve been sewing ever since.
When did you realize that styling was something that you could do for a living?
I think I’ve known ever since I picked up a swatch of fabric. When I realized that fashion was my heart, I began to study and research everything I could about it. Even at the tender age of 7. I would annoy my younger sister when she wanted to play because I created a game called “Career”. We would play pretend and be whatever it was that we wanted to be when we grew up. Of course I was a fashion designer. (Laughs) She hated that game!
As a fashion stylist your longevity in this field is based not only on your skill, but on you’re ability to network. What are your (3) top networking tips?
Networking is key in this industry! Many, if not, most of my jobs have come from networking.
* Build long lasting and honest relationships with those you work with.
* Speak up. I’m have always been shy and very laid back. I still am but now I have drive and purpose pushing me to step outside my comfort zone and make things happen.
* Accept the fact that you will be brushed aside and told no. Don’t let that stop you. Turn it into motivation.
How have you managed to thrive as a celebrity stylist in such an extremely competitive field?
It’s a constant uphill battle. But I’m a fighter. I refuse to be defeated. In order to keep up, you have to be passionate about fashion. It can’t be just a job for you. It must be a way of life. You have to live and breathe it. Study to show yourself approved.
Unfortunately, every success has its fair share of challenges. What was one of your biggest challenges you had to overcome as a stylist?
I learned the hard way how difficult it is to pull during Fashion Week. I had a shoot with a celebrity client and was unable to pull from ANY designer I inquired. So, I had to make things happen. I purchased the full wardrobe and shoes. The shoot turned out awesome but lesson learned.
What do you love most about your job?
The fact that I fall more in love with it everyday. It’s always new and it always challenges me.
So many women become discontent with their current career yet are too afraid or reluctant to make a change. What’s your best advice for women in this situation?
My mother wanted me to go to school to be a doctor. I went to college with the intention to study psychology. I knew it was what my family wanted but not what I wanted. So what does a young, determined and strong minded 18 year old do? I changed my major. I knew that I would never find true happiness in doing what made others happy. I needed to be happy. You will only find happiness in your passion.
What trends do you see taking off in fashion this year? What trends would you like to see end?
I’m most excited about the color this year. From vibrant brights to neutral pastels. I wouldn’t mind a short break from the futuristic design and detailing. Although it is beautiful and amazingly creative, I want to see the beauty of a woman again.
We see the glitz and the glam, but the demands of a celebrity stylist can be uber stressful. What do you do to unwind?
A nice glass of wine and a good book always does the trick.
Finish this sentence: ” Everything changed for me when…”
I decided to live that life I always wanted.
For more on this talented Nautie girl, be sure to pay a visit to her world at