A CherryOnTop Q&A: Sybil Pennix…Pioneering Celebrity Fashion Stylist, Image Maker And Costume Designer
Sybil Pennix brings 20 years of experience and imagination to the world of celebrity styling, most notably working for Sean “Diddy” Combs at Uptown Records, as well as Bad Boy Records in the early to mid-90′s. “Blending fashion with life” is what Sybil does best for her clients. She adds, “When you’ve done your best, you’ve helped bring them to their most confident state and you’ve made the world understand exactly who that artist is!” In an interview with CherryOnTop.com, Sybil elaborates on her love for fashion, helping her celebrity clients look their best and her Bad Boy background:
Who is Sybil Pennix?
SP: Sybil Pennix is an advocate for love, and because of my God-given talent, love for fashion and wanting to share that with the world, I was led by God to the perfect opportunity to do so in my life.
SP: After acquiring a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh, my dream of starting my own modeling agency led me to New York City. While working odd jobs all over the city, I started doing my homework on the music industry and all the while, I’m acquiring great contacts. This soon landed me a job as Diddy’s assistant at Uptown Records. As his assistant, I learned the ways of the world of entertainment, and immediately got my first chance to prove myself in the fashion realm. Diddy asked me to ‘go shopping’ for his new artist at the time, Mary J. Blige. I, with a flair for fashion and the strong passion to engulf the opportunity to illustrate my innovative side, showed my boss [Diddy] that I was capable of creating a unique image for Mary. From that point, history was made and I became Mary’s personal stylist, plus I was appointed as the in-house stylist and Director of Artist Development for Uptown Records.
Was there a defining moment that prompted you to say, “I want to contribute in my own way to the music industry?”
SP: For me, there was no real defining moment. At that time, everything was moving very fast and divinely timed. I just felt like I was going be a pioneer in the whole hip-hop fashion and lifestyle game in a major way.
You’ve styled some of the top recording artists back in the early-mid 90′s with Mary J. Blige, of course, and the group Jodeci. How were you able to successfully create their look?
SP: My ideas then and still to this day come from the man above in dreams, per se. But to put it in layman’s terms, I would confer with Diddy at the beginning, and then mix that with my cultural upbringing, the artist’s cultural upbringing and the atmosphere of fashion in all its realm at that particular time with a forecast of what was to come as the ‘cherry on top.’ [laughs]
Keisha, Pam and Keima, aka TOTAL. Briefly take us back to how you discovered and molded these 3 talented and lovely ladies into successful recording artists.
SP: Their original manager, who was an associate of Diddy’s, set up a meeting with me to discuss their imaging. After meeting with me, the group contacted me on their own and asked if I would be interested in managing them, because they felt like my experience and expertise would be more of an asset for them. I immediately saw the potential with them as artists, and so after a mutual agreement between myself and their original manager, I took over as the group’s manager, took them to Diddy and the rest is history, with their debut album going platinum on Bad Boy Records.
What made Keisha, Pam and Keima unique within the group setting?
SP: Well, since I have a million fashion personalities, I saw 3 “mes,” and that’s how I set out to create their infamous fashion statement.
How proud of you of your old boss Diddy and what he’s been able to accomplish for himself?
SP: I am very proud of Diddy and what he’s accomplished. He’s a genius at certain things (not all that he takes credit for, but that’s a whole other story…’to be continued’) and I saw it immediately from the get-go. He, along with the people in his initial inner circle like myself, created and changed the game as far as hip-hop fashion and lifestyle is concerned!
Fill our readers in on what you have going on at the present moment.
SP: I am now based in Atlanta, Georgia, and from a personal standpoint, I’m living, loving and moving forward in this game called life and spreading love along the way. As far as my career is concerned, I am in a transition/evolution to be a costume designer for motion pictures and television and patiently waiting for my door to open so I can shine in that world like I did in the music world. I am also working on many other love endeavors that will be revealed in due time.
What is your opinion on how recording artists are being styled now from an imaging standpoint compared to back in the days?
SP: Artists today are not making fashion statements like they did in the past. The stylists today are ‘shoppers’ more than actually being a stylist and are being dictated what to put on the artist by designers and the artists themselves instead of actually creating, which is what both the stylists and the artists have done in the past. But it is what it is….the game has changed.
Do you have a website and how can one touch base with you for networking opportunities?
SP: The link is http://www.wix.com/crushdesign/bysybilp. It is currently under construction at the moment. You can always Google me to check my history. For networking opportunities, I can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org at anytime.
What is the ‘Cherry On Top’ for you?
SP: The ‘Cherry On Top’ for me is that everything I do, I do out of love!
Sybil, it was a pleasure interviewing you and thanks for sharing a little bit of you with us!
SP: You are very welcome!!! Be blessed.
Interview conducted by Ross Guity aka R.G. Major