My name’s Qiana, I’m 25 years old and I was born in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Five years ago I was living in Harlem, I just moved to New York and I was going to F.I.T. for fashion merchandising, which is what I got my degree in. But I have a lot of experience in sales and retail, just from working at different boutiques. Now I do freelance styling and I work at Opening Ceremony, in the Ace Hotel location. I think that helps me understand different body types, because every day I’m dealing with a different customer, not always the typical models that I deal with while styling. So I can get more of a feel for an every day person’s style, instead of just editorial. The first thing I do when styling is look to see if they’re comfortable in the clothes, because if they aren’t comfortable in what they’re wearing the photos are going to turn out awkward. I look for people who are confident in what I’m styling them in as well. Everyone I’ve met here in New York has influenced me, all my close friends play a big part in my personal style… I see our styles as not just clothes but an actual lifestyle.

We represent what we wear,

it’s not just something we put on as a costume.

So yeah I’m recommending MC Midori; I love her style, I feel she really just embodies it, it’s not an act, it’s just who she is and it’s really cool. And Jorge A.K.A Gito. And definitely JUNGLEPUSSY as well, even though she suggested me (laughs)! One of my dream creative projects is honestly to style one of her music videos, because I know she would let me do what I want creatively. And it would be a collaboration with lots of bright colors, very tropical, oranges, pinks, whites… When I listen to Shayna’s music, I come up with videos in my head. There’s one vision I had for ‘Fuck Texting’, where she was a teacher, actually teaching these little girls how to be women. Or even in a laboratory and she’s the scientist and she’s just creating these amazing women and teaching them how to be great. Nothing is really stopping me from executing it… it’s going to happen soon! I’m just letting the thoughts fester and looking for a budget and people that could put it together properly.

FF- Would you consider yourself a freshman, sophomore or senior in your field?

QR- I guess sophomore, because I’m not just starting out but I’m still feeling way my through and I need more experience, more opportunities and just learning by doing. I’m kind of just feeling it out, seeing which direction I want to go in, because I’m always constantly changing my mind. I know my look and my style, I just don’t know what route I want to take it yet. All I’m trying to add to the world is authentic styling into the industry… the industry that tells you this is how you’re supposed to dress and who you’re supposed to be. And I’m just trying to focus on style more than the fashion industry. So that’s why it’s a little hard for me to just pick a lane, because everyone in the industry, everywhere I go it’s like you have to follow trends and these designers, whereas I just want to get back to

the root of style,

of authentically expressing who you are.

Inspiration and motivation will push everything forward. When I face a creative block I try to watch movies and, might be generic, but Tumblr… if you follow the right blogs there’s a lot of inspiration there. I’m really into metallic blues and purples, and witchy colors and visuals. And old magazine editorials, I try to look back in the past, lots of music too… I’ve been listening to a lot of funk and 70’s disco lately but that’s really new for me, I go through phases. I’m really 90’s, like my favorite songs would include Gwen Stefani, Destiny’s Child ‘No, No, No’, Aaliyah… I remember my Girls Scout troop made a dance to ‘Rock the Boat’ (laughs).

you can check out Qiana's styling website here, and follow her on instagram.
as told to: Olivia Seally // photos: Olivia Seally

model: MC Midori // stylist: Qiana Roberts // photos: Olivia Seally