Beyonce’s personal style team, Raquel Smith and Ty Hunter, have worked side by side with the stunning songstress for over 17 years. They’ve watched her grow from a young starlet to an iconic legend. Winding down this ever-evolving style road has given them not only intimate access to our beloved Bey, but also a deeper insight into what it really means to grow towards your own personal destiny. Hoping to inspire a wave of people seeking to make a leap towards their own greatness, Raquel and Ty are hitting the road to share the wisdom they’ve accumulated in a self-empowerment seminar called Let’s Talk.
We sat down to have a quick chat with this inspired duo, who dished about their best of Bey moments and the importance of taking a leap towards greatness.
1. Beyonce recently celebrated her 35th birthday with a spectacular Soul Train themed party? What was that like and what were your favorite looks from the night?
Ty: Everyone brought their A game. One of my favorites was Kelly, who looked exactly like Donna Summers. P-Diddy was so great. He came out with a flip wig, feathers, and actin’ a fool —it made it real fun for everybody. Also, I did great. I found out last minute, but I found a Soul Train t-shirt, and an afro, and some wide leg pants.
Raquel: The atmosphere was just so cool. Not only the wardrobe, but the DJ and the music were so good. You couldn’t really recognize anyone because they were so deep in character. It allowed everyone to let loose in a different way.
2. Working so closely with Beyonce might be one of the most cherished stylist positions. What is the most rewarding thing about it? And what is the most challenging thing about it?
TY: When we started I wasn’t really a stylist yet, and, at that time, Beyonce wasn’t a superstar. And because of that, I’ve been able to learn so much from her about the hustle. You get to grow together and that’s so much more meaningful. I think the hardest part would be having to miss personal birthdays, anniversaries, and just being away from family and friends.
Raquel: I think the most meaningful thing for me has been learning from such great fashionistas. I came on a little later than Ty and to have had Beyonce and her mom in my corner to learn from has been so rewarding. Yes, and being away from my family is the hardest.
3. What is your favorite look or proudest moment?
Ty: My proudest moment would have to be when we were working on Crazy In Love. I remember looking into the monitor and she literally turned into a woman right in front of me. Also, on the red carpet, when she announced her pregnancy.We had been working so hard hiding it that when the moment came we were all just so happy to announce it.
Raquel: For me the proudest moments have been getting the opportunity to tour the world.
Ty: Yeah, even though you were so scared to leave the country.
Raquel: (Laughing) I was at first—I thought, what am I gonna eat?
Ty: She was scared to leave the country, but I told her once you get a passport and are out in the world, it’s going to open up your eyes in a way you never imagined.
Raquel: I learned how important it is to get outside your comfort zone.
4. This weekend in Atlanta, you’re hosting the Let’s Talk seminar. Tell us a little bit about that and the inspiration behind the event. What can attendees expect?
Ty: So many fans have reached out to us over the years wanting to know about our work and how we got here. It’s been so hard to get back to everyone and respond, so we thought we’d just get everyone together and answer their questions. We want to help motivate people to step out of their ordinary lives, and to inspire them by showing them that it is possible to be anything you want to be. I was working with medical valves in Texas before I came to work for Beyonce, but I already knew then that I wanted to be a part of something bigger. Also, we’re going to talk about how you do all that when you have kids and you’re dealing with parenting as well.
Raquel: I also was working in medicine, as a radiology technician, before I made the transfer into what I get to do now. We just want to get everyone talking about how they can get started, and we can hopefully get them to the point where they are able to make the leap themselves.
5. What cities are next? And how can fashion lovers attend or get more info?
Raquel: Beyond the two days in Atlanta, we’re not exactly sure but we’re thinking New York and Texas as our next stops. You can get more info at www.letstalktyraq.com.