The Producer: Hi Brynne, so great to see you again. Let’s jump in! How did you get started in styling?
Brynne Rinderknecht: Well when I was at SAIC (the School of the Art Institute of Chicago), I interned with Playboy magazine and I assisted their production designer. She left while I was still in school and the team at the magazine sort of pushed me onto the job, so I just fell into it.
TP: Were you studying fashion at SAIC?
BR: I was studying interior architecture and also art history, designing furniture and lighting and all that goes along with it.
TP: Was your intention to go into design?
BR: Yes, I thought maybe I would do set design, production design - actually, all the things I’m still doing now, which include interiors but I like to mix it up, too. I like having the long-term projects mixed with the interiors, versus the shorter, quicker, rapid-fire photo or commercial projects.
TP: How quickly was the transition from interning at Playboy to becoming the lead person there?
BR: I want to say it was over the course of two years. It was pretty quick, and I didn’t really expect it or see it coming. They had confidence in me to try me out, and it was this great stage to experiment and have so many people to learn from. I was really lucky - right place at the right time! - but I also worked incredibly hard to get that internship. They passed me over the first time and I just kept following up and following up.
TP: Persistence is key! Did you have your eye set specifically on the magazine or what led to choosing that internship?
BR: When I saw the description of the internship, I thought “oh how perfect, it’s a set design job.” It was less about the magazine than the actual work. All of the other internships weren’t necessarily about building environments and I could sort of visualize myself there.
TP: They must have a huge variety of sets to deal with.
BR: Yes, with a wide range of needs. They have someone to design everything from the centerfolds to the table tops to the fashion shoots. People may not realize it, but Playboy does all kinds of shoots, even lifestyle editorial. For example, I traveled to Baton Rouge to find out about this guy who collects serial killer art - the places they would send us were pretty interesting and informed the sets we would then create.
TP: When did you move to New York?
BR: About 2 years ago.
TP: How was your transition from Chicago to New York? Do you feel like you had to re-establish contacts?
BR: I’m still reestablishing contacts, but its an evolving process. I’m looking in all directions and not giving up on that obvious person who might be able to lead me to a job. I also believe in helping people in general and having that good karma, regardless of if you think you’re going to get anything out of it.
TP: I think that’s how the world works, right? You put it out into the universe, you help the way you can and then you push it forward. Would you consider having a rep? Or have you ever had a rep before?
BR: I’ve had a rep in Chicago but not currently in NYC and I’m totally open to it. For a while there, I got really busy with interior projects, but I’ve been going back to styling now as well. I’ve also been working on my reel, which I’m hoping to have that all finished soon too.
TP: Do you feel like you do more interior design or styling?
BR: It seems to be a constant shift from doing more intense interiors to styling or prop projects. Luckily, it has always been a fluid thing, even though sometimes I’ll have one month of interior projects, when all of a sudden a set design or styling job comes up, so then I’m onto that. But somehow I’ve always been able to balance them both.
TP: Let’s talk about balance. How do you find work-life balance?
BR: Yoga. I live near Central Park - and just calling your friends, seeing family, staying connected. Having those conversations where it’s not all about what’s going on with you.
TP: And talking to people who are not in the industry who can give you some real world grounding…