Samira Nasr is a fashion force in the industry. She moved from Montreal to New York City in the 90s to study journalism at NYU while simultaneously assisting stylists on the side. Her longtime love of fashion pulled her into its glamorous life and she has been styling ever since. Nasr freelanced for many years before joining the team at InStyle, and later at Elle Magazine, where she currently holds the Fashion Director title styling shoots and overseeing the fashion department. Four years ago, she adopted her son Lex, and added the title of mother to her very accomplished resume.
What is your earliest fashion memory?
My earliest fashion memory would have to be studying my mother and how she dressed and put herself together. I think I will forever be a sucker for an oversized army short worn high on the waist with a peasant top, sandal that ties around the ankle, and a red lip because it connects me to my memories of her and her style.
You have a background in journalism – what was it about fashion that made you take the leap into styling?
I think I have always enjoyed being transported by the dream and possibilities that come with clothes and fashion. I can remember styling my friends when I was in grade school, so the leap felt very natural. Fashion is always something I have loved.
Freelancing has a very specific way of life – do you miss anything about those early days you spent styling?
I love my job here at Elle, but there are aspects of freelance that I do miss. I think I miss the pace more than anything. It felt a little slower, you could really immerse yourself in your various projects and research and think about what it is you want to say.
Do you have a most memorable shoot?
Harlem is pretty dear to me only because it is a story and a woman I have wanted to bring to life for so long. Mark Seliger was the perfect partner. He dove right in with me and it was just a magical couple of days with the entire team.
When did you join Elle?
I celebrated four years in February.
Any major differences in aesthetics between InStyle and Elle?
InStyle is always through the lens of celebrity, and while it was an incredible experience, I didn’t always feel like I could tell the stories I wanted to tell. I feel like the Elle woman is much closer to who I am. She is smart and discerning. She loves fashion but likes to mix her clothes. She never wears head-to-toe anything.
When someone hires you – publication, celebrity, brand – what sort of fashion point of view are they getting?
I guess my point of view begins with a woman. I don’t do conceptual. I always need to identify with the character that I am creating. My point-of-view is a little masculine, a little sexy, a little street, but always real. I guess that is why I love denim, lace, and menswear so much – it’s the mash-up that is appealing to me.
Can you describe an average day for us?
An average day begins about 6:45am. I wake up and try to jump in the shower before my son wakes up. (Some mornings this is not successful, and then I have to shower with him because he loves a hot shower.) I then need to get his breakfast ready and pack his lunch. I like to make him a hot lunch, sometimes it’s pasta or roasted chicken. We then both get dressed and are out the door by 8:30am to get him to school on time. After drop-off, I grab another coffee and jump on the train to my office. I usually arrive at work by 10am and my workday begins. No two days are the same. I try and leave work by 6:15 to get home in time for a nighttime hang and bedtime with my son.
What adds more stability to your life? Your son or a “9-5”?
My son. But I don’t know of a job that is 9 to 5. Everyone around me, everyone on my team, and in my circle of close friends works very hard. I don’t know anyone who works 9 to 5.
Being a mother, working full time, having a life – it’s a lot to manage. I know it’s such a cliché questions but women always want to know how other women do it – so, how do you do it?
You just put one foot in front of the other. I like to live by “do the next indicated thing.” I love a to-do list. There is no secret or trick. Most days I feel like I should have done more at work or been a better parent, but I just try and so my best. The most important thing is that when I’m with my son, I am with him 100%. I put my phone away and give him all of my attention.
How do you relax and recharge?
I spend much needed time with my close group of friends. They keep me going.
When do you feel most fulfilled?
This is such a good question. I’m not sure I know really. I do feel very, very content when I am with my son. I also feel very fulfilled when I’m on set and the works feels right. My job has given me an incredible platform, and it has also allowed me to have a a very beautiful life with my son. When I can be still enough to take all of that in, I feel tremendous gratitude and I feel very fulfilled.