Interview with Sasha Charnin Morrison, Fashion Director for Us Weekly

Us Weekly’s Fashion Director Sasha Charnin Morrison will be doing a book signing in our Times Square store on Tuesday, July 26th from 6pm-8pm. Her book, Secrets of Stylists: An Insider’s Guide to Styling the Stars, offers a behind-the-scenes look into the glamorous (and sometimes gritty) world of styling. You’ll learn tricks of the trade from Sasha and the people she interviews. The transformations of stars like Nicole Richie and Katie Holmes are used as discussion points in this very informative guide. On July 26th, you’re invited to get a copy of the book signed by Sasha herself! Robert Verdi, celebrity stylist, will also be in attendance. To get the event started, we sat down with Sasha to ask a few questions.

AE: What was your first job to break into the fashion/ writing industry?
I was Madonna’s dresser and assisted this stylist, named Kevin Dornan who was costume designer by night (Goose and Tom Tom at Lincoln Center around “True Blue” Madonna phase) and creative director of a now defunct magazine called Beauty Digest. After the show was over, he hired me as his assistant and I was able to do everything-call in clothing, style shoots, organize his life, and do all my all own returns. That’s how I learned how to be an independent. We shot some wild, iconic stuff like Geoffrey Beene, Bill Blass and Giorgio Di Sant Angelo. It was all luxury, 24-7. A little crazy but that’s what it was all about when I was 21.

AE: What advice do you have for people who want to break into the fashion industry?
1. Listening. Very important. Hold your tongue because you simply know nothing and that’s ok. Do not think being a know-it-all is the key.

2. Learn. Absorb. Do not shut anything out or down. You can’t. Good or bad-bad being the best-work experiences propels you to grow. Jobs in fashion need time and patience and building to get somewhere. It’s not the place to think your rise to the top spot will be overnight and meteoric. I have always said the super top spot sucks, let someone else handle the numbers and the meetings…I want to create and I want to produce pictures and moments I’m proud of. I want to be the authority and grasp as much as I can possibly know-being the BEST at referencing old pictures, knowing where to find or have made the perfect red patent leather high-waisted panty (Funny but I have made several of these exact requests thru the years working at magazines) for a shoot, and always figuring out a way to make it work, because you can if you try hard enough.

3. Never throw anyone under a bus because it ends up stinging you.

4. Try to be focused on what you want. You’re very clear on what you don’t want! Don’t go into an interview professing your love to design a line of handbags with your name on it when you’re interviewing at a fashion magazine or blog. You’re there because you want this more than anything in the world. That’s how fashion people think and feel. It enters your blood. The power, the glamour and the constant change in styles and trends draw you in.

AE: What are your three essential style items that you can’t live without?
1) My kids who keep my brain young and fresh.

2) Shoes: I just love my footwear. All of it. We can all wear a black dress but we can’t all buy the SAME Azzedine Alaia shoe or the same YSL Tribtoo, now…

3) My library of images, pictures, old magazine clippings. I use these to reference and think of ways to reproduce those great images in new and modern ways.

AE: What’s your favorite thing about working at US Weekly?
The product. I have always loved reading it, absorbing it and owning it. I love knowing about breaking news before everyone and how it’s always handled glamorously. Seriously, what’s not to love?

AE: If you weren’t an editor, what would you be doing?
Had I been a great, trained dancer, I would be in every company of West Side Story at this point. My mom was a Shark girl and my dad was a Jet in the original Broadway production in 1957. I could sing the score, I can act. I can move well. That didn’t cut it. Just like fashion, I needed to either stick with the show biz or get out. So at 21 I had a choice: a roller-skating musical audition or Vanity Fair assistant. Whoever took me, I would stay in the “profession”. I nearly broke my ass at my inline skate dancing audition but aced Vanity Fair.

AE: Who is your business inspiration?
My stepmother, Jade Hobson. She was the Creative Director at Vogue when I met her at 13. I knew when she walked me into the Vogue fashion closet at that moment, whatever was going on in there…was what I REALLY wanted to do. She exposed me to the business and she was nice and liked and of course, ICONIC. EVERYONE loved her and that’s a great feeling. My mother and father nurtured this behavior but Jade made me see it could turn into something bigger.

AE: You’ve described yourself as a reality TV junkie. Which show is your guilty pleasure?
Which show isn’t? I love breaking news item, and just knowing it all at every second. My father produced and directed TV in the early 1970’s, the set was always big and always on. I loved watching variety, news, episodic all of it. Now it’s reality. All of it. Real Housewives of Beverly Hills pretty much makes me insane-in a good way and do not laugh but kind of obsessed with The Suite Life with Zack and Cody.

Sasha on her first styling job

So if you’re in the New York City area, RSVP to the event on 7/26 at 6pm on Facebook.

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