Wednesday, February 28

Q&A: Marissa Pérez discusses artistic background, evolution of styling

Dressed in white, Marissa Pérez looks into the camera. The alumnus currently works as a celebrity wardrobe stylist. (Courtesy of Marissa Pérez)

This post was updated Oct. 12 at 8:52 p.m.

Through her eclectic background in the arts, Marissa Pérez is tailoring her own trends.

Previously an event producer and managing director of the Student Committee for the Arts at UCLA, the alumnus currently works as a wardrobe stylist in the fashion industry. Pérez has assisted in dressing a number of different celebrities, including actresses Laverne Cox, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Zendaya.

Pérez spoke with the Daily Bruin’s Sanjana Chadive about the evolution of her interest in styling and how her background in other artistic mediums has informed her career.

[Related: Q&A: Alumnus Carol Spencer discusses career designing timeless Barbie fashion]

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Daily Bruin: When did you realize you wanted to pursue wardrobe styling?

Marissa Pérez: I’ve definitely always been interested in clothes. Also, I grew up dancing when I was younger, and I’d be involved in my costumes, and my mom and I would drive to downtown LA to source fabrics in the Fashion District. So I’ve always been involved with clothes, but for a long time, my whole world was dance. Eventually, I gave myself the space to explore other things. I was working for a designer – she’s an accessories designer who does handbags. Through that, I discovered the world of styling. It is a fairly new industry, and I thought it was so interesting and wanted to dip my toe in it.

DB: How has your experience in other sectors of fashion, such as modeling and photography, aided your career?

MP: I’m just a curious person. I love photography, and it is very helpful. A lot of it is simply the lingo or also knowing what the other person is trying to achieve. For example, I was on this shoot last weekend, and the stylist was a creative director. Knowing how models work and how they think, you can help them with poses and directing them in there with a photographer. A lot of it is figuring out how your vision comes across. I think being familiar with all those different industries with different jobs that we’re all operating (is valuable). We’re all in this space together. We all want the same great project at the end, which is beautiful pictures in this case.

DB: In a similar vein, how have your previous roles at SCA influenced your work as a wardrobe stylist?

MP: I love SCA, and it was a blast – it was just (great) being in a space with a lot of creative people and making things happen. With SCA, we would come up with our own ideas and make these self-producing events. Being in the creative industry, you’re doing that a lot. You have an idea for a photoshoot, you have to produce it and make it happen or find a producer. I was just in that space already – I was already working with people. During my time, we had the Marías come in, and I was also there when Doja Cat performed. You’re already familiar with these people, so when you hop on a job, you’re in the know. You know what’s happening, and you’re on top of the cultural space at the moment.

[Related: From florals to futurism, student-designed collections flourish at FAST 2023 runway]

DB: How do you challenge yourself with each shoot?

MP: I am someone who likes to challenge myself – I do get bored of being in a rut. One thing that is nice about this job is that you can formalize it and have a go-to list, but every day is so different. Every job is so different. You’re on your toes a lot, and that really helps to challenge you. I’ve also been fortunate enough to work with a lot of great people. When you’re in these shoots, you’re working with a lot of new people and fostering those relationships and making sure everything goes smoothly and they understand you. I think these parts are quite challenging. For example, it’s like going to the first day of school, and you’re in a room with all these new people. That’s been really interesting and challenging.

Lifestyle editor

Chadive is the 2023-2024 lifestyle editor. She was previously an Arts staff writer from 2022-2023. She is a third-year comparative literature student from Garnet Valley, Pennsylvania.

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