ESSENCE Network: Celebrity Stylist Olori Swank Shares Her Fashion and Life Lessons
Allen Cooley

Olori Swank has styled some of our favorite celebrities, from T.I. and Teyana Taylor to Lance Gross. She’s a celebrity stylist-turned entrepreneur who also retails high-end fashion looks at affordable prices on her online boutique, SWANK Blue. But this blue-haired maven has just added another accolade to her list of accomplishments by becoming an author. In her new book, 101: The Blueprint for a Swank Life, Swank doles out tips on fashion, dating, finance, entrepreneurship and more. Find out how she went from wanting to be a doctor to becoming one of the most sought after stylists and published author. 


Name: Olori Swank 

Title: Celebrity Fashion Stylist, Entrepreneur and Author

Location: Los Angeles

Hometown: Atlanta, GA 

Twitter: @OloriSWANK

Instagram: @oloriswank

The gig:
As a stylist, I dress celebrities for anything like a red carpet event to them going to the grocery store. It just kind of depends on the extent to which they want and need to be styled. 

The journey:
Since the age of 2, I was set on being a doctor. But my mom used to dress us up even when we weren’t going anywhere. I remember being 6, always having to get dressed just to sit at home and go nowhere. So getting dressed up for me was just a way of life. I didn’t own my first pair of sweatpants until years after I graduated college. While everyone was going to class in sweatpants, I was fully dressed. I was the girl that was walking around that huge campus in my 5-inch stilettos and didn’t care that I probably walked a mile that day. 

Her biggest lesson learned:
One of the biggest challenges that I faced as an entrepreneur and as a stylist was that I had never interned or assisted under anyone. So often times I doubted myself and didn’t want people to know that I was untrained even though I had the talent.  I beat myself up a lot until I realized we’re not born knowing everything and we have to go through life and learn as we go. 

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Her proudest moment:
Every single day I find one thing that I am proud of that day. I have what I call a blessings jar. Whether it’s getting the best parking spot that day or closing a big deal, I write it down and stick it in a jar. And every year, I go back at the end of the year and read my posted notes as motivation for the next year. Or if I’m having a bad day, I just pull one out and go oh, I did this the other day. I can do it again. 

Her tip for balling on a budget:

Being fashionable is really being able to express yourself with what you have. I know people who will spend $10,000 on a jacket and the jacket looks terrible because they didn’t know how to put it together. And they you’ll have a girl who went to Goodwill and spent $15 on her whole outfit and everyone is asking her where she got it from. There’s no direct correlation between how much you spend and how fashionable you. 

Book publishing 101:
The book was my way of sharing with my following all the information that they ask me on a daily basis and where girls can reference my tips on how to live the Swank life. As a self-publisher, I didn’t realize how much time and money goes into it. I’m very presentation oriented and I just didn’t want to just throw out anything. I wanted to make sure that by the time my book was complete, it could sit on the shelf next to any other established author in Barnes & Noble. 

Dressing for the job 101:  
I always say that you’re addressed the way you dress. Even if you’re not in the position that you want to be in yet, you need to be dressed for it. If you work at a Jaguar dealership and you’re selling Jags, I’m not going to buy a Jag from you if you don’t like you drive one. I just think overall image is really, really important for people that want to be taken seriously in any field. 

Her beauty secrets:

My top three beauty tips are my yogurt hair mask, washing my face and getting my nails done. Getting my nails done is a beauty obsession because I like having different designs and coming up with all these elaborate concepts. 

Her power accessory:
Definitely my hair because as long as it’s done I can pretty much wear anything. I can wear a white tee shirt and feel stylish; or I can wear a white suit and feel the same way. But when my hair is not done, I literally feel like it’s the end of the world.

Her Tech Fix:
I like that fact that Snapchat is very free in a sense but being an influencer when it comes to social media, a lot of times we have to think about the content that we’re creating. There’s a lot that goes into the content that we’re creating.

In her downtime:
I love to cook. Food makes me happy. Cooking is one of my favorite things to do. Also, I really love to spend time with my family, uninterrupted, no cell phones, just playing board games, puzzles. 

Her theme song: 
‘March Madness’ is like my hype song but as far as lyrics I would say that it’s ‘Last Breath’ from the Creed Soundtrack.