Bred in "the middle of the country" in New Jersey, TV personality and celebrity wardrobe stylist Daniel Musto was obsessed with style and pop culture since the day he was born. As the head of his high school's hip-hop dance crew, Musto designed intricate costumes for the rest of his team—"I didn't trust anyone else to do it," he says—and began taking weekend classes at FIT in New York. It was during his teen years trekking to NYC by subway when the future fashion expert fell in love with big city life; when a friend mentioned that Los Angeles had its own design school, Musto decamped for sun and sand at 18 to study at FIDM, where he earned a degree in visual communications.
After graduating, Musto went straight to work as stylist's assistant and quickly caught the eye of singer and American Idol judge Paula Abdul, who hired him to join her own team. "That was style boot camp," Musto recalls, but his sweat paid off: A few years later, NBC came knocking on his door. "I got a call on a Sunday to style [reality design competition show] Fashion Star," he says. Despite his epic sunburn—the result of a Venice beach hangout sans proper sunscreen—"the next day I started bright red and early."
Since arriving in LA, Musto has gone one to styling runway shows for Nicole Richie and John Varvatos, writing for Cosmopolitan and Huffington Post, and creating looks for shows like XFactor and America's Best Dance Crew, among others. We got to know the 28-year-old multi-tasker (he's also lent his expertise to KTLA, Pop Sugar and UsWeekly's Fashion Police) over smoothies at Beverly Hills Juice Club. After getting the scoop on the new product line he's developing (a range of wardrobe styling tools!), we discovered Musto's secret to on-camera perfection, his most viral fashion disaster, and much more.
What are you drinking today?
An orange coconut strawberry smoothie. I like getting drinks with coconut with them. [A friend] taught me that if you get a drink with coconut, it lasts longer...and they're white so it won't look like you have food in your teeth. When coconut gets stuck, nobody knows.
What's your secret to always looking good on camera and in photos?
Rice powder. It sucks away the shine on your face right before pictures, right before a date, right before an interview. If a guy wears it, it doesn't look like makeup. I get the Neutrogena one.
What's your go to morning jam?
I love Britney Spears' "'Til the World Ends." I feel like it's reminiscent of her early stuff, like "Toxic," [and] it's the most current form of that exciting feeling I got when I was 16, going to school, getting through the day, dealing with bullies. Britney got me through it, and she still does. Fast fact: I was in a Britney video when I was like 19.
How would the first sentence of your life story read?
It'd start with "He made it." The haters always have doubt, but the lovers always believe in you. That would be a statement that would mean so much to both sides. The haters would be like, "Uh oh, I was wrong," and the lovers would be like, "Yes!"
Most embarrassing fashion moment?
A lot happened when I was 16; I was on a show on MTV where I imitated N'Sync. I used to [be a regular audience member on Total Request Live], like once a month I think, and the casting people new I was a fan of the boy bands, [so] they turned me into Lance [Bass]. I had bleached blond hair, they put me in this hideous outfit, and it was so bad; I think I even sorta styled myself. There was fringe on my arm or my waist. [...] That's probably my most viral fashion disaster.
What's your spirit animal?
I would be one of those big mama monkeys. They are always worrying about everyone in that cage. They're always bringing a banana to this one, picking the bugs off that one, making sure that everyone's okay.
Would you rather have the power of invisibility or telepathy?
Invisibility. There are times where I dream of being more in the spotlight than I am now, but my only fear is not being able to be a normal person.
If you were a flower, what would you be?
Daisies are always bright-eyed and waiting for the sun; you can always tell when they're happy.
Favorite LA staycation spot?
I like going to my friend's oceanfront house in Santa Monica and just pretending I'm far, far away. [I love] just going for the weekend and bringing a backpack that only has basketball shorts, swimsuit, rainbow flip-flops, and a Gap t-shirt, and just acting like Hollywood doesn't exist.
Top three desert island items, other than a boat?
I would need Chapstick with SPF, a king-size bed—I don't even need sheets on the bed, I just need a big, elevated thing to lay on away from all the creatures—and my sunglasses. Even if I'm wearing a bunch of leaves turned into a little outfit, I'd be cool with my sunglasses when someone comes to rescue me.
Sitting in the stroller at the mall with my mom, eating candy and just patiently going through all the clothing stores and enjoying that. I remember enjoying it. We'd go to Woodbridge Mall in New Jersey.
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