TheProducer: So happy we are able to meet up! How did you get your start, El?
El Miezal: Me too! Well, first off, I grew up in a small town with a really long name between Warsaw and Krakow, Poland.
My (now) husband and I met on vacation and I eventually moved to be with him in Chicago. At the time, I never thought I’d be in a creative field - my goals were very different at the time. I was actually in Finance before, but I’ve also always had to be creating - I was always sewing, decorating and such. My husband is a photographer, and he gently nudged me in this direction because I wasn’t getting the creative stimulation from working so hard in finance. He saw the potential in me.
I went from being someone who had never assisted or been on set, to being lucky enough to assist for a stylist who exclusively worked on high fashion shoots. And I assisted for just under a year before jumping in as a lead stylist.
TP: Brave lady! Tell me about that leap. Actually you’ve had a few - jumping into lead styling, moving from Chicago to LA, and moving from fashion to lifestyle.
EM: Well, we’ve been in LA for 12 years now and that move coincided with the type of shoots I’ve been working on. In LA, it became difficult to source for those high fashion looks - celebrity fashion styling is still a different from high fashion in my mind. I was struggling with that & I found I couldn’t do the job I wanted. And also, the financial object was important - to be honest, in editorial, there just isn’t much money and I had to make ends meet. So I started working on commercial photography.
TP: At the end of the day, we all still need to make a living!
I enjoy commercials as much as fashion - it’s a different creativity & way of expressing yourself. Both are definitely fun and have their challenges. Creativity is what it all comes back to for me, at work, and finding ways to nurture your soul. I love sewing clothes for myself and friends, and my other passion is baking.
TP: I’ve heard about your delicious baking!
EM: Oh yes, baking is a form of meditation for me. I love to wake up early in the morning while everyone is still sleeping & bake something fresh for our morning coffee or for dessert later.
TP: So baking is how you find your Zen?
EM: Yes, actually during the Recession, I was fortunate that there was a real demand for my baked goods and I was able to sell them at farmers markets and cafes. But then my styling started to really take off again and I had to back away from baking for vendors. Now it’s just a hobby again.
TP: Sometimes it is nice that you can keep your passion as your hobby, rather than having the obligations or responsibilities tied to it. That’s what keeps it special and in the “life” part of your work-life balance. Would you ever consider food styling?
EM: Nope, I feel that’s a different talent and sensibility!
TP: You seem to be a creator in so many facets of your life. From which sources do you draw your inspiration?
EM: Travel! I come back from my travels with all sorts of inspiration and ideas.
TP: Where have you been recently that inspired you?
EM: We were in Oaxaca during the Day of the Dead celebration. Even the youngest girls were dressed in costumes with fantastic makeup. The cemeteries were actually alive with people and mariachi bands. The area is known for its arts & crafts. Oaxaca also has the most refined cuisine in Mexico in my experience - food can be a huge source of inspiration too.
If I could have brought multiple suitcases, I would have brought back much more!
But I also get my inspiration from nature - the colors can be incredible. I draw on nature sometimes when I am putting together color ideas or moodboards.