Ad Age is marking Black History Month 2023 with our third-annual Honoring Creative Excellence package. (Read the introduction here.) Today, our guest editor Billy Porter turns the spotlight to Ty Hunter, the celebrated “stylist to the stars.” The author of “Makeover from Within: Lessons in Hardship, Acceptance, and Self-Discovery” (Chronicle Books, 2022), Hunter was Beyoncé’s stylist for 18 years, and now serves as head stylist and creative director for Porter.
“I dare you to read what Ty Hunter wrote and not feel inspired and moved,” says Porter. “He uses fashion to craft and clarify a message. He believes change is everything. So you’ll never see him getting too comfortable. He’s mastered the art of disruption.”
Here, Hunter shares his thoughts on disrupting his own career.
Whenever people ask me to define my life in terms of pivotal moments, I can only think of one recurring theme: They all occurred when I decided to step out in faith. Even though it may have seemed that I was the one in control, at several moments in my life it took a little getting uncomfortable to be comfortable with me.
I consider every day of life a learning opportunity. We all learn from the past and look to the future to become better, wiser people. We can let our lives take over or we can take over our own lives. The outcome is far greater than the experience itself.
Sometimes in life, things go pretty well and then someone comes along and throws a wrench in your game. When that person is the president of the United States, you tend to pay more than just a little attention.
Back in 2012, while working with Beyoncé, I had the opportunity to attend a fundraiser for Barack Obama. It was a small event with about 100 people. I had already met the president a few times before, but I was still surprised when he called me and my partner, Raquel Smith, over to take a picture with him. We were there to dress Beyoncé, and he commented, “Man, you guys did a great job. You’re Beyoncé’s stylists. Where do you go from here?”