Never be Afraid to Chase Your Dreams: An Interview with Dawn Richard

June 2017 will forever be known as the month that my dream career started becoming a reality.  I was doing my usual research and blogging when I received a phone call from the beautiful V Monet to be the stylist for Dawn Richard.  For those of you who don’t know, Dawn Richard is a solo multi-platinum recording artist and fashion model who was a member of Danity Kane and Dirty Money.  I had been waiting for an opportunity like this since the beginning of my fashion styling career and here it was.  Nevertheless, I was determined to hold this secret in because I didn’t want anyone to know what God had blessed me with.  Trust me, it was hard.

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Model: Born Freely, Stylist: Born Freely

As months passed, I was beginning to get discouraged because I needed information on Dawn’s measurements. (I was like, “Dang. I was really looking forward to this so bad!”) But while at my military training I received an email with her measurements (as you may have guessed, I cried like a big baby).  Like this small town, Mississippi woman was about to style the beautiful, talented and fashionable songstress Dawn. (Read more on the styling process in a future blog entry.)  This was really happening, my career was about to change. I was about to be styling a celebrity and my title would be a multi-platinum celebrity stylist… like how dope is that!

The day before the actual fashion show, V Monet scheduled a private dinner with a few other bloggers including myself. Y’all that was like my first dinner meeting (I will tell you about that in a future blog). I was able to find out a little about her and when I say this is the most down to earth, humble, sweetest woman I have ever met, I truly mean that. Y’all, she shared her shrimp fried rice with me like she’s known me her whole life.

So let’s step inside Dawn’s world for a little bit.

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Singer Dawn Richard Styled by Born Freely

Question: How old were you when you first realized that you wanted to pursue a career in music?

Dawn Richard: I always saw it as a hobby. I was going to be a marine biologist. I even have a degree in Marine Biology.

My parents were educators. My dad was a musician and they told me there was no money in music. So it was just for fun.

I never thought I would have a career in music.

Question: Who are some of your fashion inspiration?

Dawn Richard: Tilda Swinton, Grace Jones, and David Bowie.  They are my inspiration.  I never look to modern-day people because I feel like the older ones got it right. Oh yeah, Bianca Jagger, Cher… again people who really play with style and go over the top. Like Cher was glitter, sequins and extra… and I loved every second of it. But I also loved what Grace was. Her hard lines and sharp edges and risks that she took. Same thing as Bowie. I love the androgyny that he played because he played both lines… makeup and hair.  He pushed the lines all the time and I always appreciated people that did that because that was similar to what I did because I never wore things that most people would wear.  Like even in the trendsetting time, most people right now are wearing the same things.

I don’t want to be a trendsetter. I don’t mind being uncomfortable and dirty. I don’t mind.

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Singer Dawn Richard Styled by Born Freely

Question: Which decade has the best fashion?

Dawn Richard: Ooh shit! That’s a hard one. 70’s and 90’s. They just got it.

70’s… you got the bell bottoms, the wide leg jeans, the tailored suits, the incredibly dope clogs. Then, you got the 90’s with the baggy pants, Aaliyah, TLC.  Girls were starting to be comfortable wearing menswear, so you saw all these fucking dope leather textures and like really cool lenses and shades that played on color. That was really dope. Good times.

Question: Describe your style.

Dawn Richard: I get bored very easily, so I like to push limits on what I can do. I love to see different looks on myself. Hair is kind of the leader of it all. My hair changes, so does the style. But I love and play on androgyny a lot.

I love menswear. Suits, tailored suits, pants suits… like anything that has a hardness to it or an edge, which is where I prefer to live. That’s why I love designers like Margiela, Rick Owens or Wang. I love Haider Ackerman and he is not your typical designer. He really uses Tilda Swindon as his muse and Janet Jackson usually wears some of his designs. Very androgynous, which can be both female and male. I love clothes that can play on both lines.

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Singer Dawn Richard Styled by Born Freely

Question: What’s your favorite city you visited?

Dawn Richard: Thailand… and Thailand is quite incredible. The people were really amazing and so was the food. I just feel every city in Thailand proved why you should go. But Phi Phi Island is really dope. It’s not necessary a city, but loved, loved…

In the U.S., I can’t say New Orleans because it’s cliché and I love my city. But I’ll say Chicago… but I like Boston too… but New York is the one. I’ll choose New York over LA. I love New York.

Question: Is there any artist dead or alive you will love to work with?

Dawn Richard: I would love to work with Buick, Otis Redding, and Hasmik.  I get bored very easily, so I like to push the limits on what I can do.

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Pictured: Dawn Richard, Stylist: Born Freely, Photo Credit: Phil Gray of Gray Photo

Question: Do you have any upcoming projects?

Dawn Richard: Yes. I just finished my album. Now, I’m recording a new album. I have a secret project I’m working on with Adult Swim. I’m really excited to talk about it once I start doing it, but if I do it right, in which I will, it will be quite groundbreaking for Adult Swim and myself.

I have a few feature songs coming out in the next month with some really cool artists because I kind of want to do more features and spread myself out a bit. But this new album is so unexpected. They are not ready! I don’t think no one will know where I’m going.

I think it’s time. I want to reveal who I am now, the growth I’ve had and really push the limits on me now. Like the world don’t know where I’m at now because they’ve only seen the trilogy. They will be quite surprised to see where I’m at now in my life as a woman not as an artist but just a woman. I have never really shown my personal life… never really talked about me personally ever since that shit with Que (Day 26). After that, I was like nonexistent.  I didn’t show anyone my personal life. So no one really knows me. They just know me as an artist and workaholic. But they don’t know who I am.

I’d like to show them a little bit of me on this next album. I think it’s time. I was just always leery because people are very mean and they don’t understand growth. They don’t understand forgiving people.

People are bullies now. I didn’t want to share something so sacred with people who don’t deserve that. But I feel like there are enough good people out there… why not?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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A southern belle?!  Although I am from the South, Mississippi to be exact, I’m far from that. For those who may be wondering, yes style exists in the South. I am a free-spirited, red-headed chick that aspires to inspire style and empowerment through fashion. 

I am a celebrity fashion stylist and owner of the Born Freely fashion blog. Art, colors, shapes, basically anything that can bring abstract objects to life is fashion to me. I love it. My life revolves around it.

I wouldn’t say I have a certain style because my style changes about as much as my hair. (lol) I feel women and men should dress like their personalities and use it to be creative. Why limit yourself to being trendy and just like the next person because we all have a look that we want to let loose in. So be free, be stylish, be powerful, be Born Freely.

Instagram:  @bornfreely
Facebook:  Born Freely
Twitter:  @_bornfreely

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