Making it in the fashion industry is no easy feat. It’s a world that often feels like its an invite-only party, and if there’s no one there to help you break in, it can seem almost impossible to make a name for yourself. However, these nine Latinas not only made their way into this competitive industry, but they’re styling some of the biggest names in show business and blazing a trail for future Latinas who’ve yet to come. So the next time someone tries to quiz you on Latina stylists who are out there killing the game, feel free to namedrop any of these ridiculously fly women.
1. Dianne Garcia
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When Dianne Garcia was getting her start in the fashion world, she took a risk by choosing to stay as a fashion assistant rather than attend the acclaimed Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. “I already had a job assisting, and [I knew] in a few years I could start styling on my own and not have to go into debt and waste the time,” she told Fashionista. Her decision paid off and today, this half-Thai, half-Peruvian LA-native is the go-to stylist at Top Dawg Entertainment. Her roster of A-list stars include Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q and R&B princess SZA.
2. Rebecca Alaniz
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Rebecca Alaniz is from a small town in Texas. When she moved to NYC, she hoped to land a role in the fashion industry but was told by an agent that with her credentials “the best I job I could get in the industry was a sales floor position at H&M or Zara. Well… over the past few years, I’ve styled stories and fashion content for major magazines… I think about that fashion agent often. Part of me wants to visit her again to let her know how wrong she was — you know, “Pretty Woman” her — but at the same time, I wish I could thank her. Her underestimation of me and my abilities was all the motivation I needed to prove her wrong.” Alaniz’s work has appeared in publications like Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Elle and many more.
3. Zerina Akers
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What’s it like to dress the queen? Well, Zerina Akers would know as she currently serves as the “personal stylist and wardrobe curator” for Queen Bey herself. If there’s a look you’ve been obsessed with by Beyoncé lately, chances are Akers was behind it. That iconic photoshoot when she showed off her twins for the first time? Yup, that was Akers. Bey’s killer looks as she took over The Louvre in her and Jay Z’s recent music video for “Apeshit?” Also Akers. But not only does this Panamanian have an impressive eye, she’s equally as committed to helping see others rise. “Throughout my career, I’ve often times found myself to be the only Black woman at the table, and I’ve worked to find a level of appreciation for that,” she told Hypebae. “I also try to utilize my platform to inspire younger women of color and to help them see a reflection in the mirror that resembles themselves.
4. Lauren Rodriguez
Lauren Rodriguez is the long-time stylist to Jane the Virgin star Gina Rodriguez (no relation). The Puerto Rican starlet refers to Lauren as her “style guru.” The two have been working together since Gina hit the Sundance scene during the success of her breakout film “Filly Brown” and have had some magical moments since then – like this breathtaking look from this year’s Academy Awards. Gina definitely credits Lauren with helping her connect with fashion, telling Variety, “dressing up should always be fun. It’s an added accessory to your inner beauty.”
5. Nicole Chavez
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Nicole Chavez started working in film and TV and landed a spot helping the wardrobe department on The OC, where she met the show’s star Rachel Bilson. From there, the two started working together, with Chavez styling Bilson’s after-hours events. Eventually, right after season 2, she left The OC to focus more on styling, something that she later admitted “was a giant leap of faith.” But now, years later, she’s got an amazing body of work, including styling A-list clients like Kristen Bell, Catherine Zeta Jones, Jessica Simpson, and her day-on, Rachel Bilson. Seems safe to say Chavez’s leap was most definitely the right move.
6. Laura Zapata
Chances are you’ve caught some of Laura Zapata’s styling but just didn’t know it. With more than ten years of experience, this Texas native has vast experience working as a fashion editor and stylist across print, digital and television platforms. She’s also styled some of the hottest Latinas in the game, including Diane Guerrero, Gina Rodriguez and Camila Cabello. She has a huge passion for working with the Latinx community and helping rising stars find their style.
7. Claudia Torres Rondón
Since moving to the U.S. from Venezuela in 2008, Claudia Torres Rondón has worked her way up the ranks to be considered “an industry expert with a specialty in brand consulting and image direction.” She’s currently the fashion editor at ¡Hola! Magazine but has also collaborated as an image consultant for publications like Elle, Allure Russia and Vogue Paris as well as worked on campaigns for L’Oreal with Camila Cabello and produced a 2015 cover shoot with Kim Kardashian West for Vogue Brazil.
8. Irma Martinez
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Irma Martinez has been in the styling business for almost 30 years and, in that time, she has created “the image and style of some of the most famous Hispanic celebrities.” This colombiana’s roster includes international artists like Zoe Saldana, Maluma, Roselyn Sanchez and Pitbull. She’s been named the Top 25 Most Powerful Hispanic Women by People en Español and is the founder and creative director of Trendy Group, “a group of companies specializing in support services to the fashion, entertainment and Latino lifestyle industries.”
9. Nina Garcia
I am so proud of what my dear friend and fellow Colombian @sofiavergara is doing in support of #InternationalWomensDay. She is making a difference and I am proud to support her campaign to empower women out of poverty and into business via @joineby. Sofia asked me how business has transformed my life; it has opened up a world of possibilities, introduced me to new people and experiences, and I’ve witnessed the change women can create when they have a platform. #EmpoweredByBusiness
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When you think about Latinas in fashion, people automatically reference Nina Garcia. After all, once she joined Project Runway as a judge, Garcia’s fan base grew exponentially. These days, the Barranquilla-native sits at the head of Condé Nast’s Elle magazine as the editor-in-chief, having formerly served as the creative director for sister publication Marie Claire. Chances are, there isn’t a major celeb Garcia hasn’t worked with, so it’s safe to say she’s a bonafide fashion BOSS.