We had the pleasure of spending the afternoon with Bronx, New York native Krystle Rodriguez, November's #weOHK lady. Krystle is a wardrobe dresser who tours with today's biggest pop icons including Madonna, Taylor Swift, Pink, Josh Groban and is currently on tour with Pharrell Williams. We thankfully caught her between tour dates and she brought along her mother and younger sister to our shoot in South Bronx, where Krystle grew up. Her story and being back in her old hood felt like a "Jenny from the block" moment with Krystle's family also being Puerto Rican and how her life has unfolded beyond her wildest dreams. It was heartwarming to hear Krystle's mom rave on about how proud she was of her daughter throughout the shoot as Krystle shyly yet confidently went on to pose for Lucka, the photographer. Read on and get to know this humble, driven, talented, sneaker-loving lady with "impeccable style", as said by Pharrell himself.
Photography: Lucka Ngo / www.luckango.com
1. Tell us a bit about your childhood growing up in South Bronx and when you first realized your interest in fashion.
Growing up in the South Bronx definitely wasn't the easiest. There were a lot of trials and tribulations growing up in my neighborhood. But I didn't let those things deter me from who and what I wanted to become when I grew up. I don't think I realized my interest in fashion until my early 20's.
2. You mentioned at the shoot that you used to work for the NYC government before making the jump into the fashion business. How was that transition?
At the time of my transition, the library was offering a severance package to leave because of the recession back in '09. That definitely helped give me the push I needed to create my own outlet. After that it was history, I threw myself into my work and went on to intern and assist many New York-based stylists.
3. Can you tell us about what your role is as a wardrobe dresser, what it entails, and what a week in the life of Krystle Rodriguez currently looks like.
My role as a wardrobe dresser is to help build a functional touring wardrobe department for musical artists. Making sure we have the proper tools and skills to maintain costumes for the duration of a tour. We also work hand in hand with stylists and costume designers to ensure costumes are durable with the right fabrics and are properly constructed to endure life on the road. When I'm on the road, a week in the life of Krystle is catching a flight or being on a tour bus. Moving city to city helping to put on shows for the world to experience. If I'm home you can catch me on my couch because being home is a vacation for me.
4. With all the traveling you've done with being on various tours, which city do you most identify with - with regards to culture and/or style - and why?
The city I can most identify with is Tokyo. Everyone is so polite and well-mannered, The city is the cleanest I've EVER been to. You literally will not find one speck of dirt on the street. That makes me so happy because they actually care about their surroundings. They also a take great pride in their culture. The food and fashion is on a whole other level! In my opinion, they are the most stylish culture. If I could come back as anything it would definitely be as a stylish Japanese women! LOL.
5. When you style someone, what are the things you take into consideration?
You definitely have to take into consideration someone's personality. That's number one. You want someone to feel the most comfortable in their clothes. You definitely don't want them to be perceived as something they aren't. You also have to take into consideration what they are currently into, what their insecurities are, who their favorite designers are, and what level of comfort they are looking to achieve. When you look good, you feel you and that's the ultimate objective.
6. Have there been any women that you look to as mentors that helped you along the way to get to where you are? If so, how has it helped you along in your journey?
I definitely have to say my mom and my sisters Jennifer and Stacey as well as two of my best friends, Morgan and Lisa. I always draw inspiration and advice from them, they are the first people I call with a problem. Lisa Nishimura is my mentor and she has helped mold and shape my career in touring. She saw potential in me. I respect and look up to her a lot. Without her I wouldn't have gotten as far as I have. Having a strong bond with these women has helped me in so many ways, they taught me what it means to be proud, successful and happy in every aspect of my life.
7. What has been your experience with working with other women in the industry?
I've had some good and some bad experiences. Sad to say sometimes it's hard for women to come together and work well with each other. I never let that change my outlook on things or my work ethic. I kill everyone with kindness and if you didn't like me in the beginning, you will love me in the end.
8. What has been the most rewarding aspect of your career so far?
Just being able to travel and see the world, never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would have visited 6 of the 7 continents, yet alone have two passports. It's the craziest thing, I'm truly blessed.
9. What are some of the most valuable lessons you've learned in life?
Just to love yourself, what other people think should never concern or determine what you do in life. Never be afraid to take a chance on yourself. You have to live for today and not for tomorrow.
10. What do you hope to achieve in the next couple years personally and professionally?
In the next couple of years I hope to be married with a baby. Professionally, I hope to be more stationary in New York, costuming for television and movies.
11. If there is one piece of advice you could tell to a large group of women, what would it be?
Self love is the best love! You have to love yourself before you can accept anything good or bad in your life.
Thank you Krystle for being so amazing and we wish you nothing but the best for all that's ahead for you! You can continue following along Krystle's journey and to-die-for outfit posts on her Instagram.
First Look: Supreme x Comme Des Garcons top / Celine pants / Vans sneakers
Second Look: Cos coat / Vintage tee / Acne jeans / Celine sneakers