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Every stylist has that one client in which all their talent can completely shine through — and for Zerina Akers, it’s Beyoncè. The wardrobe phenom has worked with everyone from ChloeXHalle to Yara Shahidi, but she’s widely known for revamping the Queen Bey’s new revamped, bold, Black style.

Akers started her career back in 2006 as an intern at W magazine while she was a student at The Art Institute of Philadelphia. From there, she took her talents to New York City, where she continued her studies at LIM College and did some freelance work for other known stylists at the time. But it wasn’t always easy for the young creative to branch off and get work of her own.

In a 2017 interview with Fashionista, Akers explained:

“You have got to figure out who you are, and be yourself. You’re coming across so many different personalities, so many different people, you have got to be firm in who you are, and be confident, and be cool. Most people will appreciate you being genuine above all.”

“I think it’s really important to constantly just pitch yourself, and put yourself out there, and getting in the habit of communicating and having dialogue with different people that are in your industry. Not necessarily creating competition, but finding friends and a support system as well as constantly connecting with potential clients or like-minded individuals in the industry.”

The theme of pitching herself has proved to be super beneficial in Zerina’s career. It afforded her the opportunity to became the personal stylist to none of than Beyonce Knowles-Carter.

Akers usually keeps mum about her relationship with the super star, but we do know that she is partially responsible for Bey adding the bold, mixprint looks into her daily attire and perfectly curated Instagram shoots. She was also on the creative team behind Beyoncè’s groundbreaking Lemonade album. Needless to say, Zerina is a whole Black, fashion mood. In a 2016 interview with Forbes, she revealed:

“Working with Beyoncé is a dream that I didn’t know I was allowed to dream. Doing what I do today is something that was once out of the realm of what I dreamed for myself. Until I crossed paths with the opportunity, then I knew I couldn’t back down. Even as a young girl, I would quiz myself in fashion magazines, naming the designers without looking at the credits. There was no room for fear or doubt.”

But no matter how bright her star glows, Zerina always stresses the importance of being yourself in order to be successful — especially as a woman of color.

“We have to be ourselves and celebrate who we are. Breaking down the “existing boundaries” only leads you to fitting into another mold. Imagine tearing down a wall only to realize that it was merely a door to a box? We have to create something for ourselves. We have to support each other. We have to work hard. Be extraordinary. Be undeniable. Be indispensable. Be so good that when you look up, you see no limits.”

Zerina Akers is living proof that hard work pays off. Aside from continued to work with her A-list clients, Z was also named spokesperson for Dove back in 2017. See more of Zerina’s fly fashion moments on @ZerinaAkers. Go girl!

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