Name: Tiffany Hardin
City: New York City
Job: Principal & Co-Founder of Gild Creative Group
How she got there: Eight years ago, Hardin got her start working with Kanye West, Busta Rhymes, and Missy Elliott as the scrappy executive assistant to Mona Scott Young (creator of VH1’s Love & Hip Hop franchise). She then grew under the tutelage of media and advertising exec Steve Stout, where she worked in branded entertainment and partnerships. For the past four years, Hardin has helmed her own ship in the influencer space. Her newest venture, She Knows Now, is a collection of dynamic videos that promote positive images of women in media and nurture community.
Levo: We’re loving that you opted for a bright, bodycon dress as your power outfit. What about this look makes you feel kick-ass?
Tiffany Hardin: I love the maroon color of this hip-hugging dress. According to color philosophy, maroon reflects energy and can motivate an individual to take action, which is a plus when being persuasive and getting business done. The Saint Laurent high heel in a bright rose is a perfect accent to the look. I feel confident when the clothes on my body are working for me, not against me—that way I can concentrate on the task at hand.
Is this indicative of your overall style philosophy?
TH: I like clean lines, flow, and a hint of the unexpected. That can mean a red lip, a huge ring, or just something that disrupts, even just a little bit. I don’t have any brand preferences. I just know how I want to feel—confident and comfortable.
While labels aren’t your thing, you’ve got a few special accessories that you sport regularly to keep good mojo around you. What are they?
TH: My red string of fate bracelet, representing my relationship with my love. He has one too. According to Chinese legend, the two people connected by the red thread are destined lovers, regardless of place, time, or circumstances. This magical cord may stretch or tangle, but never break. I also have a “Protect Your Magic” bracelet. It’s a subtle reminder to myself that my value and my offering to the world is unique and special, and not to let anyone tell or make me feel otherwise.
I love that. It’s like a wearable peptalk. Any words of wisdom for other Millennial women who want to be fashion-forward in the workplace?
TH: Find the pieces that you enjoy, and that disrupt the professional norm, and own it. Add the personality, add the funk, add the creativity. If there’s any negative feedback in your workplace, it may not be the place where you should be spending your energy long-term. No one should feel stifled where they work. Our culture has shifted so much and there is certainly room for “working it” at work these days.
Have you always had this bold style or was it an evolution based on your career journey?
TH: I was into various music scenes when I was younger, so fashion cues came from those subcultures. It wasn’t until later when I noticed how clothes [dictate] perception.
[Related: The Best Colors to Wear to Work]
So fashion is simply another tool in your professional arsenal?
TH: I look at fashion as a tool for my personal branding. Perception—not necessarily reality—counts, especially as you continue to elevate in your career.
Whats the best piece of advice you’ve received from a female mentor?
TH: My mother told me to “love myself first,” which sounds simple, but as you get older you become more critical of yourself, so it’s hard to remember at times. Self-love is the foundation for every other human interaction you will have. When you love yourself—you’re not seeking validation outside of yourself, and you can give love freely. It easily translates into the professional setting.
As you look back at your career thus far, what lessons would you pass on to the next generation?
TH: Always have something to offer, even if it’s your time to sit in on a brainstorm or take notes during a major meeting. Bring your entire self to work by exposing your interests, as you never know when your knowledge around a subject will come in handy. Also, understand that you will not always get the gold sticker, the editorial feature, or land on the industry lists. It’s a business meant for those with thick skin who are consistent in their efforts.
Check out Tiffany’s passion project She Knows Now!
Photos: Sam Teich / Levo