Today's 20 Questions interview with Leesa Evans would seem a little out of the box (although super exciting) — a costume designer? Like, from Hollywood?! — but Leesa's philosophy around wardrobe and styling is based on her goal of making people feel confident, amazing and self-assured (plus, she's originally from Chicago! Woot woot!). Leesa's on-screen credits include costume design for the hilarious Bridesmaids, in addition to Neighbors, 22 Jump Street (both out this summer), Get Him to the Greek and more. She works as a celebrity stylist and personal stylist; she does weddings — frankly, I don't know how she has time for it all! Here are the incredible Leesa's answers to my 20 Questions.
20 Questions — Soul-Style
1. Who are you?
Leesa Evans, costume designer, stylist and philanthropist.
2. What do you do?
I design costumes for film, I style celebrities and I promote well-being and confidence through dressing people in real life for every day.
3. Why do you do it?
Creative drive, and it gives me great joy to know that I've helped someone feel self-assured in their appearance on a daily basis.
4. How did you find your way to it?
I grew up in the fashion business — my mother was a designer, so my interest was sparked at a very early age.
5. How do you feel when you do it?
Elated and grateful for the connection I feel to the people I style and the characters I help create.
6. What is the joy that keeps you up at night?
Love! It's the single most important word that keeps me in a constant state of hope.
7. What is one thing you still have to practice every day?
To approach my work, my clients and myself whole-heartedly.
8. What are you always searching for?
Inspiration and individuality — it's the individuality that inspires me to no end!
9. What have you found after searching?
I have found that each person truly has a special and beautiful quality that is unique unto them.
10. How do you stay connected to your inner core of peace?
I close my eyes and concentrate on remembering the feeling of a single moment of perfect calm.
11. What makes you feel led or guided?
When things fall into place easily or I become aware of a synchronicity during any given moment, I know that I'm on the right path.
12. What do you do when you can’t hear God (or the Universe, or Source, or your intuition) speaking to you?
I stop everything and just breathe...it is truly amazing how fast you can feel reconnected.
13. What is the difference between resistance and fear?
Resistance is an inability or lack of desire to grow; fear is just a feeling that can be overcome, as to not inhibit growth.
14. Where does the idea come from that we are broken, unworthy or undeserving?
I think this idea stems from fear and potentially our parents and their parents' fears. My hope is that love — across humanity as a whole — can cure this misconception and alleviate the pain that feeling unworthy can cause.
15. How do you move past that to connect with others on a soul level?
If we can step out of ourselves for just a moment and look at ourselves objectively, I think we can all agree that every human being is worthy and is utterly deserving. It is from this outside perspective only that we can see that — and that includes us!
16. When you’re feeling tired, weary or worn out on the inside, what is one beauty or wardrobe trick that you use to lift your spirits?
When I'm working long hours — and regardless of how worn out I am — I take 30 minutes in the morning to really pull myself together style-wise — outfit, hair and make-up. The day flows much better then. It helps when you have a "uniform," or a look that always makes you feel calm, cool and collected no matter what the conditions of your day are.
17. Where do you draw the line, in an industry that puts a lot of attention and focus on outer appearance, between worrying too much about how you look on the outside versus developing a confidence that glows from within?
I focus solely on what makes a person feel great and place less importance on the brand or affiliation society gives to what someone should look like. I greatly admire individuality, and I always try my best to promote it both personally and in all of my work projects.
18. How do you, as a costume designer and stylist, decide what the “spark” is in someone who you’re styling and mirror that internal beauty with something on the outside?
I find that if you listen closely to what people say about what makes them feel beautiful or sexy, that tells you a lot, and it's different for all people. Then, when you start to try clothes on that really work, you can see an immediate change in their posture! After that you have to just continue to try to capture that moment in each and every outfit, time after time.
19. How can I do that for myself?
First, take 15 minutes of alone time. JUST BREATHE — and then look at your self in a full-length mirror. Second, see yourself in the mirror as though you're a shadow on the wall. Look at the outside shape or silhouette: That's who we're dressing. Third, try on pieces that you previously felt beautiful in. It could be a pair of jeans, a dress, a sweatshirt even. What is it about that fit that made you feel strength or beauty? Recreate that silhouette and establish exactly that as your own daily "uniform."
20. What would you say to a busy mom on a budget who thinks she has little to no time and/or money to spend on clothes and beauty products, or as guilt arises for doing so?
I think it's important to show our children what it means to love ourselves and take good care of ourselves. It is imperative to have our cup filled so that we can truly share with those around us. When it comes to shopping and spending, honestly, once you find the silhouette that works for you, you'll be surprised how affordable and effortless great style can be.
Thanks, Leesa! I have to say, I know nothing about silhouettes (that always sounded very Expensive Designer Clothing to me), but I'm starting to get it — I have only very recently started going through my closet and giving stuff away just because I don't like it. Even if it fits. If it doesn't make me feel comfortable and authentic and easy and free, it's getting tossed. I think Leesa would approve!
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