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Conversations with Azmaree Curtis

Today we’d like to introduce you to Azmaree Curtis.

Hi Azmaree, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
Although fashion has always been a passion of mine, throughout my adolescence I often told myself that it wasn’t something that I couldn’t pursue professionally. I didn’t see it as a practical career path so before graduating high school I settled on studying psychology. It was a field I was interested in and one that I knew would provide stability and security but my mom was opposed to this idea and demanded that I study something fashion/art-related. She’d been watching me navigate life up until that point, she knew what made me tick, my natural talents and interests even before I did. She refused to let me go to school for something that my heart wasn’t in and didn’t want to risk wasting time. I’m extremely grateful for that looking back. I went on to Drexel University in Philadelphia to study Design and merchandising as a fashion major but only stayed for a year. Although they had a stellar curriculum and I learned a lot in the small time that I attended, the school was quite overwhelming and too overpriced for my liking.

In April of 2019, I decided to legalize STUSH, LLC. My mom encouraged me to create a business entity in hopes that I would become more inspired to step into my creativity on my own and slowly I began working as a personal shopper and stylist taking a few clients at a time and becoming more motivated to pursue my passion.

I had graduated high school a year early, at age 16, with a 4.0 as a very decorated scholar and so deciding to put school down was a big decision for me, especially coming from an immigrant, Caribbean background. I realized that I had always tied my worth as a person to my scholastic achievements and at this moment I had to be willing to stand in something else despite what my parents wanted for me at the time. It took a lot of convincing to get the support of my parents but one thing they always encouraged was for me to pursue my passions and if it meant that I needed to step away from school to do that then they would support me. So, for the next 2-3 years, I would work most days as a hairstylist and braider, creating a stable enough income for myself that would finance my life and also allow me to invest in building my portfolio.

In the past few years I have had the privilege of working with a series of talented creatives who would see my work and reach out to me for collaborations and for styling services. Through that, I have been able to network and build the portfolio that I have today. My story is at its very beginning and I’m grateful for how far I’ve come but I look forward to seeing what’s to come!

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Being an artist and a full-time entrepreneur comes with great risks, especially financial risks.

Having to balance between your work and art and knowing to allocate funds towards your art/business is a huge challenge. In a perfect world, we would love to simply create but knowing how and when to monetize, invest in yourself, market yourself, and be strategic can be tricky and requires lots of balance.

Another challenge that you face as a creative is that everything is subjective. It can be very hard to make a name for yourself and keep pushing even when you aren’t seen and validated. Art is so versatile and can be left for interpretation, it’s very possible that not everyone will like your work.

You may get a hundred no’s before you hear that yes but you only need one yes and so the ability to keep pushing in spite of, the ability to continue to create and aspire through the imposter syndrome, through the doubt, and through the uncertainty is the difference between achieving success and not.

My journey is ongoing and I have only just begun.

I believe that on the road to success there will always be peaks and valleys as I have already experienced many. While there are peaks and valleys, I would say that they all exist in an upward progression, and with each of them come many lessons, lessons that will contribute to who I am and who am becoming as an artist.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?STUSH, LLC is a creative production company/agency in which I am the CEO/lead creative director as well as a fashion stylist, hair stylist, and makeup artist.

As the Creative Director, I am responsible for gathering and managing all the key elements that go into putting on a production. STUSH, LLC specializes in properly packaging these elements in a way that is complementary and cohesive to create an image that properly tells a story. We are a one-stop shop for all those looking to creatively capture “a moment” and or the identity of a brand/ individual.

STUSH was created to assist individuals on their journey of self-expression by tapping into their inner self/desires through the means of fashion. It is a lifestyle that was built upon the idea of unapologetic cultural expression.

We are committed to providing our community, at an individual or corporate level, with this sense of freedom for the world to see their story. We aim to create a safe space for artists to network both with each other and to connect with potential clientele in a way that is ultimately lucrative and will result in positive exposure for all who are involved.

Being that STUSH, LLC is currently a growing and developing entity, I believe that the work that I am most known for is my fashion styling and creative direction. While building my portfolio over the past year, I have had the pleasure of collaborating with many talented creatives, and it has been extremely full-filling for me to lend my services in an attempt to help others bring their visions to life, in the same way, that they might do for me in return.

I think what sets me apart from others is my versatility and multifaceted nature. Actively working as a fashion stylist, hair stylist, makeup artist, and creative director along with my general entrepreneurship have afforded me the opportunity to experience what it’s like to play different roles at different times in all types of creative spaces.

Having these different perspectives has influenced my attention to detail, my management qualities as a director, and my creativity as a whole.

I find it very valuable, being open to taking any creative role, having a hand in casting models, set design, or even lighting assistance, dipping my toe in every aspect of the creative process and gaining a better understanding of each element required is why STUSH, LLC is the company that it is and how I’m able to provide these elements for my clients and for my fellow creatives.

We’d love to hear about any fond memories you have from when you were growing up?
Growing up, I always had a “passion for fashion” so to speak, and for the arts, in general, as a small child, I often found joy in putting together outfits and getting dressed up. Looking back, I recall various moments in my childhood and adolescence where this intense interest shined through and entered my daily life.

In my free time, I’d spend anywhere from 4-6 hours on Stardoll, y8, or any other website playing computer games where I could give characters makeovers and dress them up. Only it wasn’t a game to me, the work I was doing was very serious and intense.

My parents couldn’t understand how something could hold my attention for so long but it was clear that my love for clothes superseded the pain my eyes would endure post-computer session. Fashion was also something that brought me peace and comfort.

It was a never-ending thought, in fact, sometimes when I was bored, overwhelmed, or just couldn’t fall asleep id open my closet doors, lay in front of the closet, and put together outfits in my head for hypothetical events or occasions that would probably never happen.

I’d fall asleep instantly feel calm and fall asleep in no time, it was my version of counting sheep or counting backward.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Ayana Gordon (@ayanaamplified), Azmaree C, Breanna Harmon (@Breanna_harmon_), Ajeé Hassan (@diversemethodology), Kristina Cole (@angelic.tina), Azmaree C Photography: Chinazam Ojukwu (@chinazxm), Ana Rose (@anaplacide), STUSH (@stush_llc), Chinazam Ojukwu (@chinazxm), D’Ahveyaun Ford (@dahveyaun), Henriette Bangoura (@Henribstyles), David Okeke (@mightyddave) & Joel Denton (@_joel876), Emmanuel Porquin (@Emmanuel_porquin) & Larry Lewis (@Larrynxtdoor), Ayathma Wickramasinghe (@ayathmathisali), Dj Smith (@__iamdeejay), Larry Lewis (@larrynxtdoor), Alexis Cobbs (@alexismilann), Chinazam Ojukwu (@chinazxm), @xoxoiyanaa, @qdg_ybe, @marcjphotography, @e.marieglamour, and @876eventsandrentals

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