UWW student spotlight: Kesha McLeod

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A celebrity stylist and UMass Amherst UWW student living in New York City, Kesha McLeod has a career most of us can only dream of. Preparing her clients for the red carpet, stage and other public appearances, she doesn’t just dress people. She skillfully crafts the public images of the rich and famous, helping her clients create the personal brands and personas they need to connect with their fans and promote their careers. Learning about UWW from her client and fellow UWW student Serena Williams, Kesha started as a student in fall, 2012. Her concentration: Marketing Studies. Her advisor: Cindy Suopis.

Every non-traditional age student has a story. What’s your story?
I went to Catherine Gibbs and obtained my associates degree in fashion. I was an intern who worked her way up and made it to the top. I now work as a fashion stylist with the Thomas-Faison Agency. I decided to go back to school to further my career. This is my story. It sounds pretty plain and simple but it’s my job that makes it interesting and great.

Tell us about your job. We heard you work with famous people/athletes.
As a celebrity stylist I am responsible for styling and putting together wardrobe and garments. I work with Serena Williams, who actually mentioned the UWW program to me. I also work with a number of NBA players and other A-List celebrities.

Why did you choose UMass Amherst UWW to complete your degree?
It was one of best online programs for me to apply to. I also felt that this program was very practical and at the same time flexible enough for me to obtain my degree

What is the best part about being a UWW student for you?
The best part for me is the learning process. Also being able to schedule and work around my personal schedule was another plus for me.

What’s been your favorite class at UMass Amherst so far?
My favorite class has been my Writing about Experience/portfolio class. I was able to apply my work experiences to schoolwork, which was easy for me to do. However it was a bit hard when I was asked to write a 30-page paper about what I do.

What have been the benefits of taking your classes online?
Definitely the fact that I can schedule around my personal time and work schedule.

How do you balance work, school and other responsibilities?
In order of me to balance all three I must stay on top of things and be diligent with my schedule, certain report deadlines and meetings. I get most of my school work done on the plane when there is down time such as no cell phone service. 

Any reading that has to be done I do as long as it is in a peaceful and quiet atmosphere. Also creating and keeping a balance in my mind and spirit allows me to do that.

What advice do you have for other students finishing their degrees?

I would tell them to pursue what you really want do and never give up. Do not quit on anything and always finish all projects.

What are your futures plans professionally and personally?
Professionally, I would like to see my business grow. Personally, at the moment, I would like to finish school and graduate.

Tell readers something cool about yourself that no one would guess about you?
A lot of people wouldn’t guess that I am very family-oriented. I love family traditions. As I get older I try and mimic those for my future family and myself.