Class Year: 2002
College: College of Arts and Sciences
Major: Communication Studies
Chances are good that if you’ve spent any time watching the plethora of style and fashion programming on television, you’ve seen Amy Salinger. Whether it’s an extreme makeover or a discussion of affordable, trendy clothing, the 2002 Northeastern graduate is always happy to offer advice and provide direction.
That expertise, though, continues to rate as a huge surprise to her friends.
“I had an interest in style and fashion, I just wasn’t very good at it,” said Salinger, who graduated with a degree in Communication Studies. “My friends – who were stylish – said, ‘You want to be what? You have no background in this. It hasn’t always been a passion of yours.’
“I was always very good at the hair and makeup side of things. But this was an avenue that connected all of it together. You teach yourself. I put myself out there and started figuring it out and got better as it went along.”
So adept, in fact, that she is now one of the country’s most renowned stylists, having worked behind the scenes on shows like The Oprah Winfrey Show and What Not to Wear while having on-camera appearances on Ambush Makeover, The Today Show, and The Makeover Story. Her fashion sense has also been utilized in spreads in People, In Style, and Life and Style magazines and she’s been consulted for articles in The Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Sun-Times, and on msn.com.
But to say she’s where she expected to be wouldn’t be quite accurate.
“When I was at Northeastern I originally thought I wanted to do television news broadcasting. I wanted to be a news anchor,” Salinger said. “But I realized in my first co-op that that really wasn’t what I wanted. I was telling my co-op advisor that I was really unsure of where things were going and she just assured me, saying, ‘You’re going to be fine. You’re not someone I’m really worried about.’
“I’ve always been a very creative person and I was thinking, what can I do that’s creative that makes money? I watched programs that featured fashion experts and I realized that I wanted to be on television, just not doing the news.”
In effect, Salinger’s co-op experiences helped rule out the career opportunities she didn’t want to pursue. She wasn’t interested in spending the next 20 years working in a cubicle.
“Co-op was very beneficial to me,” Salinger said, “just in a different way.”
Finally discovering her career path, Salinger moved to Chicago after graduation and started cold-calling style and fashion insiders. It was while working on fashion photo shoots and waitressing on the side that she received her big break. Producers for The Oprah Winfrey Show were looking for a young, trendy stylist and Salinger made a great first impression.
Salinger has parlayed that first television experience into an opportunity to educate those who want to be style conscious but have a limited budget.
“I ended up being a real-person stylist,” she said. “I don’t do high [end] fashion. I consider myself a style expert for real people. My blog [www.sassnstyle.com] is geared toward real people, and how real people can look good without spending a lot of money.”
“My clients feel better about themselves and it’s rewarding to me that I’ve helped them feel that good. People want to look good and feel better about themselves. They may not know how to do it so you show them the tricks. Then when they look at themselves in the mirror, they walk differently and see a different person. They’re so happy, and that’s what makes me happy.”
For more information, visit Amy’s website