It's awards season — and while it looks much different than in previous years, we're still here for the main event: red carpet fashion. That’s why the hosts of Go Off, Sis, the podcast from Refinery29’s Unbothered, are eager to give Ade Samuel — celebrity stylist, shoe designer, and “cultural originator” — her flowers. The proof: She made headlines when she put Michael B. Jordan in a floral Louis Vuitton harness for the 2019 SAG Awards and she was responsible for the iconic looks in Beyoncé’s award-winning "Formation" music video.
But before Samuel gave Willow Smith, Kelly Rowland, Jhené Aiko, and Big Sean head-turning lewks, she, like the rest of us, questioned her college fashion decisions. “I thought I was a Spice Girl-slash-Rihanna,” Samuel laughs. “I was really eclectic. I had this shaved head, then bald head. I can’t even look at those pictures on Facebook.”
These days, she’s all about amplifying the voices of Black creatives — stylists, makeup artists, and hairstylists — with the hope that they'll not only be exposed to the same opportunities as their white counterparts, but they get paid equally as well. But her biggest goal is to bring more melanated folks into the industry. “I commend my clients who have chosen to work with me because I know there are very few stylists like myself in Hollywood," she says. "But at the same time, there are so many looking for a way in. And that’s my mission — to bring people in."
For more on why Samuel keeps her eye on Black designers the global stage, listen to the full episode, below.