Courtney Fuglein is not just in the business of making celebrities look their best. When asked she always says, "I enjoy helping people find their personal style to be the best versions of themselves."
Born on a farm in upstate New York, she recalls far-reaching dreams of making it to New York City and working in the fashion world in any capacity. After college, she landed an early career job at MTV, which has proven to be an amazingly fruitful launch pad, as many of her early peers became the directors and producers still booking her today.
When given the opportunity to assist a celebrity stylist on the 2002 Video Music Awards, this fortuity led her to fielding jobs of her own, as she honed the skills of bringing the director's vision to life. Several steadfast years later doing wardrobe styling for national commercials, brought her upon another chance connection with Chef Bobby Flay (through a former colleague at MTV).
As a Wardrobe Supervisor, she's dressed Bobby in 29 consecutive seasons of Beat Bobbly Flay; and, a variety of hosts and guests on Seasons 3 – 20 of Worst Cooks in America. Over the 12 years as Bobby's personal stylist, she's mastered the skill set of making all of her clients look great, their wardrobe complementary to them, and most importantly, their aesthetic interests represented at "video village." This is a staple at all of her clients' print campaigns; cookbooks; commercials; and, appearances. She also curates their personal wardrobe; designs and optimizes their closets; and, handles item replacement and organization, which gives them the power and confidence to get themselves ready on their own.
When freed up from personal clients and being a mother to her eight-year-old daughter Ruby, she works on national commercial campaigns for previous corporate clients: Maybelline, Cadillac, Target, Advil, Hellmann's, Kohls, and Lego. As well as, a growing client list with talents like Bobby Flay, Anne Burrell, Tyler Florence, Hank Azaria, Carla Hall, Pat Kiernan, Michael Symon, Alex Guarnaschelli, Scott Conant, and Saul Williams.
DT: Courtney, I met you over a decade ago on an MTV Promo project; and, we have worked on many projects since. I always loved how you would never get rattled, whether you were dressing one talent or twenty.
I wanted to share your process with our readers. And, give them more insight into what it takes to complete a look for a celebrity or character. As we both know, it takes a village.
DT: How long have you been a fashion stylist? What was one of your most memorable jobs to date?
CF: I've been a wardrobe stylist for 18 years; I met you shortly after [I started] in 2003. My colleagues pushed me to explore fashion stylist, while I was working in production.
One of my most memorable jobs was in the early days at MTV working on promos for the VMAs when Chris Rock was hosting. I got to dress Chris Rock, as well as, many different musicians from the White Stripes, Missy Elliot, and a few others. My most recent was working with Bobby Flay; he was the guest editor of the Hamptons Magazine. We shot him in Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner's studio and home, which was truly inspiring.
DT: In a business where image is key, share some of your fashion tips for yourself and or clients? You can name drop here (smile).
CF: My fashion motto is to be yourself, just a more polished version of yourself. YOU want to stand out and not your clothes. This is what I do for clients like Bobby Flay and many others. It doesn't have to be a designer; it's just about your eye and how you put things together.
DT: How important are fashion trends for you?
CF: I definitely pay attention to fashion trends. I think you should buy one or two items that are on-trend; but, [they] should be age-appropriate, what best fits, [and] looks great on YOU.
DT: How do you see your job changing post-COVID-19?
CF: I think for Wardrobe services, we will be doing more online consultations. We will see crews downsized and more remote styling/in-person fittings – a 75% remotely and 25% in person, or the day of the job. This is a pattern that has been happening for a few years [and] now as budgets shift.
DT: What great lesson would you share with younger people?
CF: I would tell younger people who want to do what I do or any business, "be persistent and ask more questions." Also, understand the creative and business sides of your chosen profession.
DT: As we all have ebbs and flows in life, what is your purpose in life?
CF: I love to make people feel good, happy, and, comfortable; and, be the best version of themselves.
DT: Being a mom of a vibrant young girl, who loves fashion, from what I can tell. (smile) What little tips do you give her?
CF: My daughter has a strong sense of what she likes, so we battle (a little). I let her do intuitively what she likes, whether it matches or not. I just let it go, self-expression is so important especially to children.
DT: Finish this sentence, "the shift I would like to see in the world is…"
CF: I would like to see more and more real people being represented across the board. [So, I would say] "…accepting everyone as they are and celebrating it."
Name: Courtney Fuglein
Job Title: Wardrobe Stylist