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Ole Miss Alumna styles Miss USA winner

When Amber Murphy graduated from Ole Miss, she never dreamed her passion for fashion would become a career – or that she’d act as personal stylist for Miss USA 2019 Chelsie Kryst.

A graduate of the UM School of Journalism and New Media, Murphy spent her undergraduate years working in a variety of roles in boutiques on the Square, but said she felt the need to take things a step further and enter the world of personal styling.

The New Orleans-area native currently works for a private marketing company, but prior to that, she worked her way from sales representative to partner at a clothing store in Metairie, La.

“I always knew I wanted to talk to people and help people. When I graduated, I worked for a sports agency in Oxford. While being there, I loved it and loved traveling all over, and actually started shopping at the store I became a partner in,” Murphy said. “After becoming a partner, I loved my customers and clients. I started to grow and excel, and realize this is what I want to do more and more.”

While working at the clothing store, Murphy said she had the opportunity to style celebrities including several reality stars from Bravo network and singer Jessie James Decker’s sister.

Her love for the pageant system first bloomed when she started competing after college and ended up in the running for Miss Louisiana USA a couple years ago. Getting a crash course in the way the pageant works and its expectations was an advantage when it came to styling some of this year’s contestants, she said.

While she served as stylist for Miss Washington, Miss South Carolina and Miss Alabama as well, Murphy said she and Kryst, then-Miss North Carolina, formed a special bond.

“I told (Kryst) when we had our very first meeting that, if she continues to be the person she is, she could win Miss USA. It’s crazy to think that she won,” Murphy said. “I spent a lot of time with her, just talking about her style and being her own being. Wear what you’d always wear and don’t try to change or fit a mould.”

For Murphy, the job was simply a way to find joy in what she loves doing. She sent bags of clothing to her clients for free, including her own personal items. For Kryst in particular, she said, she had a hand in styling all her looks, from the time she arrived at the airport to the moment she accepted the crown.

It’s this personal connection, she said, that ultimately pushed Kryst’s shining personality to the winner’s circle.

“I loved everyone I met and everything the pageant system gave to me, so I knew I wanted to give back in some way. Being able to help with Miss USA was the best experience ever,” she said. “A big thing for me is, it’s never about the sale. I believe you need to genuinely understand your client, and when you understand them, you’ll understand what they like and don’t like.”

Murphy said she has plans to reenter the fashion world full-time in the very near future. For those who aspire to work in unconventional roles, or who simply feel the need to branch out beyond the confines of the path laid out before them, she has one message: go for it.

“Don’t force yourself to be in a field that you think is for you,” she said. “I’ve allowed the education from all my classes at Ole Miss to help me pursue things in everyday life. If I could tell someone in college one thing, I would say to find something you love to do, something you can invest yourself in and keep excelling in.”