Jazmine Sullivan is known for her smooth R&B songs and stunning vocals, but the Philadelphia native, who was once known for her relaxed, girl-next-door aesthetic, has since evolved and become a style savant in her own right. During her 2021 Super Bowl performance of The Star-Spangled Banner, Sullivan donned a white, jewel-encrusted suit with a dazzling crystal headpiece by Area. Her look was so flawless that fans were left speechless by her voice and stunning fashion.
After nearly two decades in the music industry, Sullivan, 35, has walked plenty of red carpets during her career and has always turned heads wearing statement-making looks. But one moment in particular that stood out to us is her look at the 2022 Grammys. Not only did the songstress win several big awards that night, but she wowed viewers in a custom, Black Panther–inspired (and as many pointed out, the look seemed like a nod to the legendary Phyllis Hyman) leather suit designed by renowned designer Christian Siriano.
There are not a lot of plus-sized women in the industry or strutting on camera and so I know I need to show up as myself every single time.
The fashion and music industries have yet to shed light on plus-sized artists, so it’s refreshing to see Sullivan continue to show up as her authentic self and receive the recognition that she deserves.
Recently, Sullivan partnered with Grey Goose to kick off the 65th annual 2023 Grammy Awards for their Grey Goose Essences x Grammys: Sound Sessions at the Grammy museum in Los Angeles.
Sullivan serenaded the crowd by singing tunes from her Grammy Award-winning album, Heaux Tales, and even took it back to the beginning of her career with her first hit song, “Need U Bad,” which had us feeling nostalgic while belting out the lyrics word for word. She donned a red monochromatic ensemble, including a red leather corset with red pants and a matching trench coat. After her mind-blowing performance, Unbothered was invited to chat with the R&B crooner about her favorite Grammy fashion and beauty moments.
Tell us your favorite Grammys fashion moment and what all goes into choosing the right look for the Grammys.
My favorite fashion moment for me was last year. Christian Siriano designed a beautiful pantsuit for me. I loved it. It was leather. I felt really powerful, like Black Panther. I walked in there feeling Black, beautiful, and strong.
Do your hair, makeup, and fashion team all collaborate on the overall theme for your award show looks?
Yes! We have a long text thread. I come in every once in a while because I can’t be bothered [laughs] with every little detail. So if I see something I like, I’ll comment and let them know. But there are a lot of people behind the scenes who make artists pop. I really want to be honest about that, because people seem to think stars wake up like this [laughs]. I want people to know that it takes a lot of amazing people helping us with everything, especially with the fashion looks.
How many looks do you and your stylist go through before finding the perfect one?
We’ll go through about five looks. It helps when you work with someone who knows your body type and pulls items that they know will look good on you. It makes things a lot easier for me.
What advice do you give women who may shy away from wearing certain styles due to their curves or figure?
I’m all about feeling comfortable and doing you. I would never tell anybody of any size what to wear or what’s in or out of style. Literally, whatever makes you feel most confident is what you should wear.
As a Black woman performer and the lack of representation across the music and fashion industries, how important is it for you to show up as your most authentic self? And what does that look like for you?
Oh, it’s super important. Especially because young Black women have to see themselves. There are not a lot of plus-sized women in the industry or strutting on camera and so I know I need to show up as myself every single time. That’s what I think of when I show up on that red carpet. You know it’s not about me. It’s about the young girls looking at me. They are going to feel good about themselves and going to feel like they deserve to be in certain spaces, and feel like they deserve to have the spotlight shined on them because they see someone who looks like them there.
Can you walk us through your skincare routine and tell us the one beauty product you must have in your purse at all times?
Well, I naturally have nice skin [laughs]. But I have just started getting into skincare, with face prep and primers, and especially moisturizers. The older I get, I know it’s all about moisturizing my skin. But it’s a learning process for me. I’m really learning now more than ever that I have to stay hydrated. Drinking as much water as possible is so important to make sure underneath the makeup my skin is healthy. As far as a product, I must have lipgloss and lip balm with me to make sure the lips aren’t crusty [laughs].
(Jazmine’s makeup artist, Maurita, mentioned that she uses La Mer products.)
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