Meet Missie Crawford, the super talented stylist who has over 20 years of experience in the world of styling interiors, fashion, beauty, food and entertaining. She has worked for J. Crew, Cindy Crawford, Southern Progress, Cooking Light, Birmingham Home and Garden, Hoffman Media and Meredith, just to name a few, and we’re thrilled to introduce her as today’s FACE of Birmingham!
What does a day in the life of a stylist look like?
Every day is very different. I could be propping for a big outdoor camping shoot, which would involve finding a location, meeting with editors to determine the mood and setting the tone for the images. At that point we would talk about props, inspiration, time of year the story might run, all of the details which are incredibly important as I begin putting a story together. Other days, I might be on a food shoot propping with the perfect plate, drink glass and/or napkin to get the exact look the client wants. Those days are focused and very detailed-oriented.
Where do you get inspiration?
I am a big fan of Pinterest and continue to subscribe to my favorite magazines. I still can’t just look online. I especially like Elle Decor and House Beautiful. I also am inspired by Olivia Palermo’s blog and Pop Sugar is a quick go-to app on my phone. Again, it depends on the project. I am a huge fan of the Fog Linen website and Steven Alan website. They both have those rustic elegant products. I like a good treasure from an estate sale that I might mix with a prop from the new West Elm or Anthropologie. I can never have enough white plates or bowls! Locally, I love to shop Table Matters, Tricia’s Treasures and a good estate sale.
How did you get from Mississippi to New York? And then to Birmingham?
I had been really blessed as a young girl to make trips with my Dad to New York twice a year, so I was exposed to the city at a young age. After college I went to visit my older sister who was living there at the time, and I never looked back. I gave myself a few weeks to get a job and was very fortunate to land at J. Crew. After almost ten years in NYC I was getting the itch to move and have a lifestyle change. (I really thought I would end up in Nashville.) I was attending a wedding of a good college friend in Memphis and was set up for the weekend with a blind date who was from Birmingham. By the end of that weekend we both knew we wanted to be together. It took us 6 to 8 months of dating long distance while I trained Cindy Crawford’s new assistant before I made the move to Birmingham. And here we are two kids, two dogs and fourteen years later!
What was it like working at J. Crew?
Many days were difficult in the beginning. I was in charge of the Wardrobe sample closet with another young gal. I also was in charge of washing and steaming all of the clothes before each shoot, making sure we had all of the samples ready to go. I was also packing and labeling for the carne (a list we had to present to customs officials) if we were leaving the country. It was lots of work and also a great time in my life. I was doing things most 21 year olds couldn’t imagine, including me. I am blessed to have traveled many unique places like St. Barth’s and Ireland, and I spent many months of December in California. I would not trade the photo assisting days for the world.
Did you have any mentors along the way?
I’ve had several incredible mentors who helped me build my career: Lisa Safir, my first real boss (her mom was Barbara Walters’ stylist and dear friend), Ann Mashburn (stylist and a shop owner in Atlanta) and Cindy Crawford (I was her assistant after my time at J. Crew, and BTW we are not related!). When I worked at J. Crew, the president was Emily Woods, whose father started J. Crew. It was a time in my life when I had to learn to be assertive and driven without being intimidated. I feel like many of those years helped me build a strong work ethic that allowed me to be where I am today!
How did you come to be Cindy Crawford’s assistant?
I have a dear friend who was Cindy’s assistant before I was. My friend was ready to make a change and asked me if I was interested in the job. She also knew I had the background of working with models and traveling, which would be a part of the skill set needed to be Cindy’s assistant. I remember changing my shirt, shoes and putting on lipstick in the taxi on the way to interview to meet Cindy (we never wore makeup at J. Crew, but always a white button down). I never looked back.
The job of a stylist requires diverse skills, knowledge and broad experience. What should someone in their 20’s be focusing on work-wise if their goal is to some day do what you do? What personality traits are necessary to do your position?
Flexibility … this has been the main underlying trait that I think I have really had to learn. I also think being willing to do anything is important. I had a sleeping bag under my desk and a bag packed ready to go anywhere in my first two jobs out of school. The market today in general is so tough, and being willing to do just about anything is the key to success. I have been fortunate to be surrounded by those types of people in my life that it made me eager to be there and do more.
What books are on your bedside table?
Lots! I never seem to catch up on what I want to read unless I am traveling or at the lake. I like a bestseller and usually have a few self-help books. I recently finished The Secret Life Of Henrietta Lacks and it is amazing read. I recommend it to anyone. I also loved My Husband’s Secret and Grace: A Memoir by Grace Cottington (a well-seasoned, beautiful fashion woman at Vogue), which was released in the spring and is great read.
I have to keep a book about boundaries close by, too, for when I am feeling a bit overwhelmed. A Confident Heart is necessary book in my life, and it seems to get me back to the place that matters–to God and family.
Favorite thing to do on a Saturday night?
When it’s not football or baseball season (I have two young boys who play sports) we love to grill out and sit on the deck. My husband says I make a mean marinade and he loves to grill!
What is your favorite Birmingham restaurant?
What do you do to recharge your batteries?
I wish I could say it was early morning yoga each day at sunrise, but I have not made the time for it.
If its’ summer, a day at the lake with my family and boys. Otherwise, I try and run three to four days a week. I go early before my family gets up. That is usually my thinking time.
What’s the best advice ever given to you?
Funny you ask this question. I recently made a new friend and mentor whose business and personal style I really admire. She told me, “Stop, look and listen. You will be amazed what you can learn from others.”
I am also a huge fan of Robin Roberts, ABC news anchor who is also a Mississippi native. After battling breast cancer and now bone marrow cancer, she was recently honored at an award ceremony. “Make Your Mess Your Message” was her platform. And I felt empowered and moved by this courageous woman.
What advice would you give to others?
Love what you do for living. I also know I couldn’t do it without the support of my family and God. They both play a bigger role than we know in this world.
Do you have any personality quirks or irrational fears?
I would say I have to sleep to function. I’m a terrible sleeper, so my noisemaker by my bed helps and three very squishy pillows.
If your house was on fire what non-living thing would you grab?
My boy’s portraits that are still sitting in an envelope on my desks from a photo shoot of them this past spring. I would grab an old Polaroid picture of my grandmother from her 50’s and her Bible that I was just given.
Name three things you could not live without, excluding friends, family and God.
iPhone, (I have a problem with being a little too attached – ha!), coffee and water.
Thanks for sharing, Missie! To learn more about Missie visit her website www.missienevillecrawford.com.
And a big thanks to Beth for today’s fabulous photos! Learn more about Beth and follow her blog at www.bethhontzas.com.