Fourth quarter proved a fashion breakout season for actress/singer Keke Palmer, who we know originally as our little spelling champ from Akeelah And the Bee (2006). Since then, she has taken on all kinds of roles from Disney to the big screen, Madea’s Family Reunion, to television series Scream Queens, Brotherly Love, and more; not to mention a few new projects coming out this 2017. While growing out of adolescence to full on adulthood; making strides and efforts to break away from her once-childlike image and officially coming into her own, the 23-year-old has literally busted out her seams these last few months while stepping out in NYC, Los Angeles, and other cities… where ever the wind has chosen to take her, Keke Palmer is killing it with style & grace.
And who may we ask is responsible for the evolution of Keke? -22-year-old New Jersey native Mikiel Benyamin aka Maikeeb, who said he and Keke immediately clicked after being introduced by a mutual friend.
Now based just across the way (New York), the professional style maven has had Keke rocking all kinds of dope pieces; dropping jaws, doing double-takes; her name all over the media for her new fashion taste. A fresh spin to street & chic; reminiscent of something dope & classic, but still vibrantly young. From head-to-toe DKNY, Alexander Wang, Bryan Hearns, vintage Moschino, and those Vetements sweatshirts that she’s been wearing of the form of dresses – cool. Over-the-top style and flat-out attention stealing, Mikiel is winning.
With Mikiel’s client looks featured in top fashion magazines like Vogue, Elle Magazine, Vanity Fair, People’s “Style Watch” and more; at the same time, styling for print and online editorials, he is always on the move. While already building a clientele list that includes VH1’s LHHNY breakout star Cardi B, we don’t question his surge from Nylon’s fashion closet intern to soon-to-be superstar stylist.
Checkout our interview with Mikiel below.
1. What’s your favorite color?
I’m really into neutral colors, black, white, nudes, but I love infusing a pop of color like red, blue or pastels. I’m actually really obsessed with pastel colors right now.
2. How did you get your start in fashion styling? Any schooling/training?
I got my start in styling by interning and assisting other well known stylists and working under fashion editors at magazines, I really owe it all to my internships and assisting jobs — if it wasn’t for my experiences in this industry I would know nothing about styling. I went to school for a business degree so nothing that really has to do with fashion.
3. How did you and Keke Palmer come to learn that you and her were a great fit?
A friend of mine Brittney has been very close to Keke since they were younger. She recommended me to Keke and when we went on set together it just clicked. It was that day that we started to work together we realized that we totally think alike in terms of fashion.
4. Whats your inspiration behind each of her looks? More particular that Bryan Hearns outfit?
We love to go a bit more edgy with her looks now, things that are fun and daring. She loves taking fashion risks which I think is important as well, it keeps it fun and keeps everyone guessing as to what you’re going to wear next. We (Keke and I) love the 90s and early 2000s iconic looks and are definitely inspired by those moments when we think of her next big fashion moment. We also love working with brands like Vetements, and Alexander Wang but keeping in mind that we love supporting new designers as well a personal favorite of mine is Wesley Berryman.
5. And styling reality star/ rapper Cardi B? How did that come about?
I worked with Cardi about two weeks before starting to work with Keke so I style both. But Cardi is another close friend and client of mine. Me and her work so well together we are both libras, when it comes to fashion – Cardi always lets me know what kind of look she’s going for and I bring different ideas to the table to push boundries. Working with Cardi is like working with a good friend she’s very into glam and high fashion and so am I.
6. With any client, explain your creative process in putting together their particular look & continued style?
I am a very open person when it comes to creating looks, it really depends on what the client wants, what they’re after. If they want Vetements – I’ll bring in half of the runway for them to try. If they want more elegant, we’ll go that route. It’s really about what they like and then me and my team sit together and try to match what they want to what designers are great for that certain look.
7. What’s the key ingredient to your personal style?
I really love to wear things that are hard to find, that I have to dig to find them. For example some Vetements pieces I’ve worn have taken a long time to find and that to me makes a certain piece so much more. In my personal wardrobe I wear tons of new designers as well, neither it being jeans, t shirts or jackets. I love supporting new talent in any way that I could. Mixing high and low has always been a key ingredient in my personal style, I can wear a Vetements hoodie with a cheap pair of jeans that I found vintage it doesn’t have to always be HIGH fashion i think mixing is key.
Maikeeb’s Fashion Tip:
I would just say go for it, whatever you want to wear just go for it. The more of a risk you take in fashion the more people around you will admire what you’re wearing and want that outfit so much more because it’s different. Don’t be afraid to stand out in your fashion choices that is what it’s all about.