Tell us what you do!
I run my own freelance photography business, and I’m the In-House Photographer for Tory Burch, where I get to travel the world and photograph many different events, runway shows, musicians, celebrities, and editorial work.
Did you go to college? If so, where?
I received my BFA in Photography when I was 17, and then got my MFA in Computer Art at the School of Visual Arts immediately after.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you “grew up”?
So many different things. First, I wanted to be a veterinarian, then I wanted to run away and join the circus, then I wanted to run away and photograph the circus. I remember when I was 13, in my first black and white photography class, telling my teacher I wanted to be a photographer and photo editor for a music magazine. By the time I graduated college, I knew that all I wanted to do when I “grew up” was continue to make things, regardless as to what the medium was. I like to make things.
How did you get to where you are now? Tell us your story!
It’s quite a long story, but I’ll try to give you the condensed version. A lot of little things came together to get me here. I moved around a lot as a child, skipped a grade in middle school, and then began taking college courses full-time at night during my year-and-a-half stint in high school. I was too young to get my GED, so I transferred into a university that did not require proof of graduation — so long as I had a full year’s worth of college credits under my belt — and transferred in as a sophomore student. During my undergrad studies, I juggled multiple jobs as an artist assistant and photo editor at a gallery. After I graduated with my Bachelor’s, I went straight to SVA for my Master’s. I used my time in school as time to get real world experience, so I applied for internship after internship until I found myself interning with the in-house photographer at Atlantic Records. Somewhere along the way, one of the executives of Warner Music Group discovered my photography, took me under his wing, and helped push my career further than I ever imagined. From there, I was introduced to Tory Burch, the kindest woman I’ve had the opportunity to work with. She brought me in to work at her company after I graduated from SVA. I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to work as In-House Photographer for the brand, Tory Burch, and continue to develop my freelance career simultaneously. Working in the industry helped me meet a variety of clients that have hired me to shoot both personal commissions, along with editorial work for magazines. Music photography, fashion photography, food photography, editorial, advertising, travel, portraiture, documentary — you name it, I’ll shoot it. It’s the culmination of all these experiences that have brought me here.
Any obstacles along the way?
My age. I’m still learning how to feel comfortable in my own skill, and am still developing my own personal style. I’ve also always had a bit of social anxiety having missed that development stage in high school, so it’s difficult communicating with people that have been working professionals for years. Some people view it as me being inexperienced, some occasionally see it as a threat, and some realize I’m not trying to climb any social ladder or compete with anyone, and think it’s worth taking a chance on my work. A lot of people think I’ve been handed all of these amazing opportunities. It’s easy to forget that success should never plateau, it’s always a work in progress.
Who is your idol?
Joan Rivers for her brain. Dovima and Anna Karina for their style.
What are three personal traits/qualities that helped you get to where you are?
Naiveté, tenacity, and sincerity. I started working professionally at a very young age. Every experience in this industry is so new to me, so I’m sure I’ve come across as naive in how I’ve approached certain situations or people. I dive into projects without fully knowing what I’m getting myself into, or maybe ask for things that other people would not ask for. Occasionally, being brazen works against you, and people think you’re stepping on their toes, but everything I do is laced with good intentions, so I try to learn from my mistakes if I handle a situation the wrong way. That being said, I’ve always put my all into every project that comes my way, and I’d like to think that’s why the work keeps coming! My clients put a lot of trust in me, which has helped me realize the importance of loyalty, sincerity, and privacy.
Where would you like to be in five years?
I’d like to continue traveling around the world, always on to a new adventure. I’d like to either be represented by an agency or start a creative solutions agency with friends.
Define “Girl Boss” in your own words.
A girl boss is self aware. She trusts her instinct, and does her best to tune out the negativity. To be a great “girl boss,” you also have to be kind to others, and know when to let others shine.
Describe your style/fashion sense:
Eclectic, erratic, and experimental. It’s usually a little too reflective of my mental state.
Fav clothing item/accessory right now?
It’s winter time, so I’d have to go with my shearling lined frye booties. My feet have never been happier.
What’s your can’t-live-without beauty product?
Now that I’ve embraced the red lip look (& lipstick in general) for the first time in my life, I’d have to say Urban Decay F-bomb lipstick.
Go-to nail color?
Sophia Amoruso’s #GIRLBOSS inspired me. What book has inspired you?
Milan Kundera – The Unbearable Lightness of Being
No Girl Boss is perfect. What’s your vice?
Retail Therapy. Online sales specifically.
Which artist/band/DJ are you really into right now?
Run the Jewels and Killer Mike and El-P’s solo music in general.
What song makes you feel like a Girl Boss?
“Extraordinary Machine” – Fiona Apple
What’s a quote that inspires/motivates you?
“There’s only one very good life, and that’s the life you know you want, and you make it for yourself.” – Diana Vreeland
“It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.” Jean Luc Godard
Best advice you’ve ever received? And who gave it to you?
Be kind to yourself. My mom gives me that advice pretty much any time I talk to her on the phone.
Advice to future girl bosses:
Always listen to, and try to understand, what other people are saying, but let your gut instinct speak to you the loudest. Be kind to others. Meet conflict with grace, and remember that every experience in life is one you can learn from.