Inspirational Woman: Miranda Holder | Fashion Stylist

Miranda HolderMiranda Holder is an acclaimed Fashion Stylist who has worked with a variety of high-profile names in Entertainment, from number-one girl band Little Mix to Boy George and actress Vanessa Williams.

Her love affair with fashion started at an early age, but it was only after a life-changing car accident in 2012 that she began pursuing her dream career She didn’t want to waste another single second of her life doing anything that didn’t make her feel fulfilled. The mum-of-two  is deeply passionate about making people look good and feel fantastic.

Miranda trained at the prestigious Central St Martin’s College in London and on graduating began making waves in the fashion industry. She is now one of QVC’s regular style experts and is often called upon by the media for her opinion, thanks to her exceptional knowledge and down to earth personality. She enjoys sharing her expertise and currently lectures  on the subjects of Fashion, Celebrity & Personal Styling at the London College of Style

Passionate about Sustainable and Ethical fashion, Miranda is now joining forces with two Lifestyle experts who she calls ‘Goddesses’ Kate Goodwin an International Makeup Artist and healer Clare Uchima , for a TV program called ‘Your Time to Shine.’ A weekly holistic, life changing makeover show, encompassing ethical fashion, natural beauty, dynamic life-coaching and spiritual healing. It’s a show aimed at helping women heal their past and embrace their future.

Away from the spotlight the fashionista enjoys the quiet life in the home counties with her husband, two children and four-legged friends. As a lover of animals, she is also an ambassador for DASH dogs rescue shelter in Greece and regularly campaigns on their behalf to raise much-needed funds and awareness. Miranda is also an activist for Lyme disease sufferers, after contracting the debilitating illness herself, she has made it a mission to raise the profile.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

I live and breathe fashion, which is a good thing as being freelance in this industry I wear many hats. When I’m not styling fashion shoots for magazines or writing for the national press I’m prepping celebrities for the red carpet and organising music videos, appearing in the media as a fashion expert, lecturing at college, consulting with brands, shopping with clients, interviewing celebrities on my podcast, running my social media….. it’s busy, but I adore it and no day is ever the same. I wake up every morning so grateful to do what I do and excited about the day ahead, but it hasn’t always been this way.

Before I ‘found fashion’ I spend a lot of time feeling out of place and not really fitting in… I tried to be somebody else and was quite unhappy. It was only when I moved to London to study acting that I began to find my tribe….work out who I really was and embrace it. I spent a few very happy years as a working actor, then gave it all up when I met my husband and moved back to the countryside. For years I tried my best to be the perfect housewife and mother, but was unfulfilled and drifted from part time job to part time job…. I felt that I had blown my acting career as I had moved out of London, but desperately missed the bright lights and excitement of our capital. I put on a positive front, but in reality I was depressed and lost a lot of self-confidence during that time. I loved my family, but felt I needed more, but I was ashamed to admit this to my local friends who seemed to be loving motherhood and country life.

In my early 30’s a life-changing car-accident changed everything for me. I had my feet up on the passenger dashboard as we crashed into the back of another car. My legs were thrown against the safety glass of the windscreen by the airbag at 200 miles an hour and my lower legs shattered. I spent weeks in hospital then months in a wheelchair. Due to the nature of my injuries the outlook was bleak, I was advised to have an amputation, told that I would never walk again and had painful nerve damage that was difficult to treat.

For a while I became a victim. I was angry at the doctors, angry at my husband, angry at the injustice of it all. I became addicted to the medication and drifted through my days in a fug of morphine. I couldn’t bear to be near my children who at age 4 and 6 couldn’t understand what had happened to their mother. Whenever they visited they would cry but I couldn’t handle the noise and would demand they were taken away.

I am relieved to say that one day something just clicked in me and I decided that I wasn’t going to accept this as my destiny. I didn’t want peoples pity, I didn’t want to be angry any more and I certainly didn’t want to be a victim. I wanted my life back and I was going to do everything in my power to get it.

I ignored the medical advice to get an amputation, and instead began the slow and painful process of recovery, which started with coming off the drugs, involved a lot of complementary therapy of all kinds, and still consists of regular physiotherapy today. It wasn’t easy, but I am so thankful that I decided to fight because against my prognosis and the odds, I have managed to recover and enjoy doing all the things – such as running, dancing, and wearing high heels – that the medics said I’d never be able to do again.

Once I had got myself back on track I was determined to not waste another single minute. I had learnt first hand that life is absolutely too short and for the first time was prepared to take risks with my career as I had absolutely nothing to lose. I have always loved fashion and had a good eye, so I applied for a highly respected course at Central St Martins, not really expecting to be accepted – and lo and behold I got in! I’ve never looked back since!

Did you ever sit down and plan your career

Not at all! I have always adored dressing up and had a fascination with the transformative power of great style, so looking back this was always the perfect career choice for me, but I broke into the industry aged 35 – which is incredibly late. Fashion is full of bright young things and I stood out a mile…. but my life experience,  and the wisdom that comes with being a little older has been an asset, and I have loved every moment of my journey so far.

Have you faced any challenges along the way

Sure! Lack of confidence and imposter syndrome haunt me on a regular basis! My career exploded very quickly from deciding to try my hand at a bit of personal styling locally, to getting two editorships at international magazines, styling A list celebrities and appearing as a fashion expert in the media.  I would regularly doubt myself and suffer crippling anxiety which led to sleepless nights in the early days. I would question whether I could pull it off, whether I was good enough… the pressure of pulling together high-profile fashion shoots from scratch was intense, particularly as I entered the industry late and didn’t come up the usual ranks of being an assistant first, which is when you would usually learn the nuts and bolts of the job. Instead I qualified, and opportunities just came and landed in my lap – which was wonderful but absolutely terrifying at the same time!

I learned to push through my fears, breathe and am an absolute devotee of good old fashioned paper lists! Nothing beats the feeling of blowing a major project out of the park when you had previously worried that you couldn’t do it. This is how we grow 🙂

What is your biggest achievement to date

I celebrate every achievement, whether it’s delivering a masterclass, appearing on national radio or transforming somebody’s confidence by reworking their wardrobe, I absolutely love what I do, and am grateful for every part of my job. The joy of being freelance is you never know what is around the corner and that is part of the fun.

I’m also passionate about animal rescue, and my profile in the media has enabled me to make a difference. I work with several charities but Dash Dog Rescue in Greece holds a very special place in my heart. To cut a long story short, Greece has extremely high levels of stray dogs and the number of animals that get tortured and abused is shocking. My family discovered Dash Dogs, a shelter in Kalamata, after helping some strays on a local beach while we were on holiday. To our horror we then discovered the extent of the problems and just had to help.  I became an ambassador for Dash and regularly visit to assist with fundraising and adoption campaigns – we have also adopted two gorgeous ‘Greekies’ ourselves. It’s not much in the larger scheme of things but it feels so good to be able to make a difference in some small way, and my career success has helped to facilitate that.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in achieving success

It’s a cliche, but ‘feeling the fear and doing it anyway’ works for me! Nothing beats that high of smashing a goal you that had previously daunted you.

Also – looking after yourself and getting the balance right. When you are running your own business it can be all consuming, especially when you are so passionate about what you do, there are no set hours and it’s easy to live and breathe work and leave little room for anything else.  I couldn’t have succeeded without help at home – I’m a Mum of two beautiful children and have a houseful of (rescue) animals and it’s hectic! My husband is also incredibly supportive and it’s a team effort, delegation is essential! Carving out time off is also essential – not just for family time but to recharge yourself. Nothing brings me back down to earth after the craziness of fashion week than a walk in the woods with my 3 dogs, breathing in the country air and getting covered in mud! Animals are great healers.

I also swear by Epsom Salt baths to help you unwind (my special recipe is 500g epsom salts, 1/2 cup of bicarbonate of soda and a handful of himalayan salts with your favourite bath oil to detox and relax) – and I’m a huge advocate of meditation. I only recently learned to meditate properly (it takes time) but now I absolutely love it. There’s nothing better to clear the mind, lift your mood and set your intentions for the day ahead.

How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored someone or are you someones mentee?

That’s a great question as the one thing I haven’t really had in my fashion career is a mentor – having one would certainly have made it a lot easier, but instead I have had to be my own guide. I have certainly made mistakes, but I have also learned so much from personal experience, which has to be the best way. I’ve learned to trust my gut, listen to my intuition. You often have the answer if you just tune in to it. It’s made me totally self-reliant.

I do love sharing my knowledge with others and I lecture in Fashion, Personal & Celebrity Styling at the prestigious London Collage of Style which is so rewarding. I also regularly have interns and assistants and enjoy helping them become the best versions of themselves, but apart from the industry basics, a lot of it is giving them the confidence and self-belief to just go for it. If they are on the right path they will do well.

If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Equality what would it be?

Let’s stop judging each other on how we present ourselves! I’m not only talking about men judging women but women judging other women too. Investing in your appearance is a form of self-care as if you look great, you feel great, which impacts the rest of your day, how you interact with others and how others see you. That confidence is infectious. If a woman (or man) has a little tweakment here or there and it makes them feel good then that’s brilliant, the same with surgery. I am totally open about my nose job and breast lift as I love the results. Let’s all come together and support each other instead of pulling each other down.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?

To just go for it – all of it! I spent years feeling that I didn’t fit in and trying to be someone else but that was just because I hadn’t found my tribe yet – or my calling. Now I embrace all that I am, faults and all! I am a creative, eccentric, zany, artistic, crazy animal lady – and no-one does me better than I do! Once you embrace who you really are, what stirs you up and makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning then you can start doing what you were born to do. Dream big, allow yourself to focus not only on the moon and the stars but the whole damn universe and don’t let anyone tell you you can’t. You CAN! Start small – hustle, trust your intuition and enjoy the ride!

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

I want to help every woman to feel gorgeous no matter their age, shape and size. Giving yourself permission to look after yourself and invest in your personal style is the beginning of a beautiful journey to embracing your inner goddess and giving yourself permission to live the life you were meant to live….. there may be a little TV project in the pipeline so watch this space…..and my podcast – Fashion Weekly Podcast, full of inspiring interviews with amazing people is out very soon!

WeAreTheCity has a back catalogue of thousands of Inspirational Woman interviews, including Cherie Blair, Paula Radcliffe MBE, Caprice Bourret, Anna Williamson and many more. You can read about all our amazing women here

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