We had the good fortune of connecting with Jamal East and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jamal, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
Working as an artist and creative provides me freedom and happiness, two very important things I value. I didn’t want to end up in a career field that didn’t allow me to flow freely. When I wake up for work I want to be excited for my day, not impatiently waiting for the day to end so I can go home. Nothing else moved me the way fashion did. Shopping with my mom was and still is one of my favorite things to do, especially for back to school during that time. It was so exciting building new wardrobe capsules for me to strut out the house with. While my mom checked out at the stores, I searched for any magazine I could find to look at the latest cover stories and editorials. I was obsessed with womenswear seeing how beautifully the models were captured. When I found out there was an actual career in the industry for that (fashion stylist), I was sold.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
When I look at someone I want to work with, it takes me no more than 60 seconds to visualize how beautifully I can elevate them and amplify their image. When I first started styling I reached out to potential clients such as actor’s, influencer’s, and music artists to produce, creative direct, and style them for magazine features. I would pitch the story to a publication I think would be a great fit for my client to be featured in. I submit my creative direction boards along with a brief synopsis of what the shoot is about, the art direction, and how my client relates to their audience to the magazine. What motivates me is seeing people who look like me behind the scenes and in front of the camera. Representing the underrepresented is important to me and is why I strive for a diverse and inclusive roster.
Advice I can give to anyone is to never let time become your enemy. When you finally get that “yes”, “confirmed”, or “approved” you take that one and multiply it by 10 and maintain that momentum! It is challenging to get started as a full-time creative because for obvious reasons money is the main factor for many people. The combat for that is never accepting free work. Don’t allow anyone to devalue your purpose. Sometimes a “no” simply means they are not ready for you. Charge it to the game and be ready for that upcoming “yes!” Biggest lesson I learned is to not sell myself short.
What I wanted to know about Jamal East – I am a force multiplier. I am multifaceted. Fashion Styling, Creative Direction, Producing, Costume Designing, Content Creating, Fashion Marketing, Fashion Photography and Art direction; All under my belt as I am proficient in each of those different roles.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would say for a day trip we can take the ferry and enjoy Catalina Island! There’s so much to do there. Beach club, spa treatments, zip lining, eating at different restaurants, it’s guaranteed a good time! West Hollywood for some nightlife fun is always a vibe! The entire strip is pretty much a good time with good company. Then of course we’ll have a shopping day so we can go to Melrose, the groove, and end our time at Century city and grab a drink by the Marina ! California is known for sun and beaches, for sure take a drive to Malibu, relax at the beach, and explore the town! Depending on the week we would go to the black flea market to support local black own businesses and network or go to one of the most diverse parties of all time – everyday people LA where we celebrate self expression, diversity and joy! Brunch places that are great are Kale My Name, Delicious at Dunbar, The Court Cafe, and Catch LA!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Definitely my parents. Without a doubt, they have for sure been very supportive of me pursuing my career. I was always encouraged to go after everything I desired, to obtain a higher education, and steadily supported me on my journey. I would also like to shout out my best friend, sister, partner in fashion, my heart, my good jody, Mia Jackson! She has been someone I started this styling journey with. We met at one of our first fashion jobs and we have been inseparable ever since. She is also someone I know that has unconditional love and support for me and to come by someone so genuine and that keeps it real with you is super hard to find! So I am thankful, grateful, and joyous to have them in my corner.
photographers: Nailah Howze, dalure Dillon, Nicole Anthony, nick gutierrez, whitley isa, Anisha Patil