Tracy Shapoff, who was a contestant on Season 23 of The Bachelor, has also made her mark as a successful stylist in New York and Los Angeles. Working for some of the biggest names in Hollywood, Tracy has demonstrated she’s more than just one of Colton’s potential love interests. We just had a chance to talk to Tracy about her career, as well as her fashion takes, and her future aspirations.

Q: We understand you grew up in New York, but have somewhat recently moved out to Los Angeles. How can you best describe the similarities between LA and NY both in lifestyle and fashion?

A: New York and LA are very different to me and very unique. NY is my heart. I am originally from Upstate, but NYC always immediately felt more at home to me. I love LA, but I don’t think I will ever have that exact same feeling towards it.

The lifestyle in NY is very fast paced, busy, a lot of moving parts, if you will. My lifestyle in NY was no different. I was always very on the go, never felt the need to stop and slow down (but I also love to stay busy). I had the most fun in NYC, but I was also in my 20s. I would get out of work late every night, head straight to dinner with friends and then probably ended up at a bar or nightclub, and that felt totally normal. I moved to LA in my late 20s and I was ready to slow the pace down a little. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still out at dinners and events and running around town, but the environment here allowed me to slow down a bit and relax.

Fashion in both cities is also very different. I find the people in NY very inspiring to me. Everyone looks different, unique, and adventurous in their style. I’m already a risk taker with my fashion, but I would never question twice walking outside in a crazy outfit. It was almost as if the wilder the more accepting it was. LA is a bit more laid back in most neighborhoods. I find it to be a lot more streetwear and athleisure, with touches of high fashion scattered but the fashion scene here is quickly rising to make its mark.

Q: You currently work as a professional stylist. What is your life like being a wardrobe stylist in busy cities like New York and Los Angeles?

A: I’m a freelancer, so every day is very different for me. I work with so many diverse, different people, and I am always kept on my toes by the different jobs I take on. Thankfully working in big cities, there is always some event happening, so it keeps me busy, and I’m also able to have fun while doing it.

Q: What inspired you in becoming a stylist, and was this always the path you wanted for yourself?

A: I grew up thinking I would actually be a Fashion Designer. My grandmother was an amazingly skilled designer and seamstress, she taught me to sew. I went to college with no other expectation other than to become a designer and hopefully one day create my own line and open a store. After designing in NYC for a few months right out of college, I was offered an opportunity to work in the Trend Department for Kohl’s Design Studio and I took it. I loved what I was doing, but after a few years, it was time to move on.

I realized I would love to try working at a magazine, so I accepted a summer internship at Bullett Magazine and began interning with the Styling Director. At the end of the summer, there was no job opening so I ended up finding a job in the Fashion Department at Sam Edelman. I worked as a fashion/trend coordinator as well as alongside the designers (best of both worlds). I was lucky enough to travel the world at a young age and really start to figure out what I was passionate about.

Eventually, I knew I was ready to only be styling. Leaving my job at Sam Edelman, I took a few months off and moved to LA. After a few weeks, I decided moving here was the right decision if I wanted to be styling either for TV or Celebrity, and the rest is history.

Q: How would you best describe your personal style?

A: My personal style is what I would describe as “clean eclectic.” I love trends and developing new trends, so I am constantly wearing different genres of styles. One day I could be clean, chic and simplistic, and the next day you will find me in bright colors and prints and fully accessorized from head to toe. Fashion is the best form of expression, so depending on my mood, that is what you will find me in!

Q: What can you tell people about styling that you love the most?

A: I love the opportunity to get to work with so many different people every day. This is such a diverse industry of people from all over the world and from all different backgrounds. I am able to learn so much about them. Working with different body types, I enjoy making people feel and look their best. It makes me feel fulfilled.

Q: What are some of the upcoming trends people should look forward to in the spring and summer?

A: I am LOVING feathers right now and I think this trend will only continue to grow. Colorful suiting. Blazers are one of my favorite layering pieces. You can pair it with jeans, or a dress, or just a bra and wear it so many different ways. But, a head to toe suit look is always so fun to me! Snake prints and leopards. Lastly, utility. Look for cargo pockets and utility/function on clothing and accessories.

Q: What are some of your interesting stories in celebrity styling?

A: I was assisting styling for the Golden Globes and the celebrity I was dressing was getting ready at The Beverly Hilton. I had access to the entire hotel, which is where the red carpet and the show were being held. Being able to watch the celebrities coming down the carpet was such a surreal moment for me. I finally knew I was right where I was supposed to be in my life and career.

Another exciting experience was going to Barcelona for a week to do a shoot with Shakira. Barcelona was already one of my favorite cities, so to be able to travel there for work was amazing.

Q: You’ve styled for clients like Sally Hawkins and Octavia Spencer. How is it working with people in the industry?

A: I’ve been lucky enough to work for other stylists who have an amazing clientele list, while also working to build my own. I have also been lucky to work with some of the nicest celebrities in the industry. I am not one to get starstruck easily, which is very helpful in this line of work, but it always feels amazing knowing such a talented person, who you look up to for their craft, is appreciative of what you’re able to do for them.

Q: What other business ventures are you getting into?

A: I would eventually love to get back into doing styling work for a magazine, as well as host style/trend events, such as a show or red carpets.

A: We must ask: What was it like being one of the contestants on ABC’s “The Bachelor”?

A: Surreal to say the least. I was so excited about being on the show. It felt like such perfect timing in my life for this to happen, and I also am open-minded when it comes to dating. Getting to meet the man I could potentially marry while building amazing friendships, and traveling the world, it was a beyond grateful experience. Granted, I was a bit emotional but I would never apologize for that, I just cry easily!

Q: Have you maintained friendships/relationships with your castmates from the show?

A: Yes, I am very good friends with the majority of the women from the show. We all went through such a unique experience that only we can understand fully, so you create a bond from that alone. I also just love them and think they are beautiful, fun, extraordinary women who helped teach me a lot about myself and let me teach them a thing or two as well.

Q: How is your relationship with Colton Underwood today?

A: I have a great deal of respect for Colton. He was genuine, sincere, and I truly believe he was respectful of all the women and really put his heart out there to give this a fair shot.

Q: What are your goals in the future?

A: My goals for the future are to continue to work hard at my career to be the best. I am not someone who settles easily, and I put my all into anything I am truly passionate about. I also want to find love along the way. I found love at a young age and unfortunately that did not work out. I am looking for someone who can grow with me at a different stage in life and help build me up while I build my career. I hope to be on the list of Top Celebrity Stylists in the industry one day.

Intro by Sam Spotswood

Photo by: Arthur Galvao