Sybil Steele | Interview
S Y B I L S T E E L E
It is with great pleasure that I introduce Sybil Steele, I have had a creative crush on Sybil for a little while now. Every time I fall in love with a campaign, Sybil’s name would pop up, so as soon as I re-launched the blog I knew I wanted to get in contact with Sybil.
Sybil has been such a pleasure to chat to and my love for her work has grown even more since doing this interview.
Sybil Steele is an Australian based photographer, producer and director. Born in the United States and traveling worldwide since a young age, her aesthetic is inspired by numerous cultures and memories of contrasts and vibrant lives.
Woking in production for around 10 years, she has travelled all over from USA to Bali to now residing in Byron Bay with her gorgeous children and husband, Sybil has created an extremely beautiful life for her family and I cannot wait to see more work from this kind and talented soul in the future.
We want to know how you got to where you are? You started off styling but now you are more known for your photography work.
My background is in interior design and when I started to travel extensively it turned to styling (shorter stints still connecting me to the love of creation) which then evolved to photography. First and foremost I love producing on all levels and to me that means taking a seed of an idea and helping to turn that into a reality. In all of these creative mediums, I love the idea of transformation.
I started directing about 2 years ago when Karissa Fanning from The Lane called me up and asked me to direct a short film for them and I remember thinking, “Well I’m not a director but sure why not”. Within 2 weeks we had a well received film (L’Amant) online and were presenting at Collette Dinnigan’s store to the editor’s of Russh and various other media.
Which do you prefer?
Definitely photography/directing as you have more control over the final vision of a project. Styling is amazing but you spend a lot of time running and hauling stuff around. I get too tempted by all that stuff too… I ended up spending my paycheck because you get such a discount on the items and you justify that you can use it for future jobs.
You have worked on some killer campaigns, what have been some career highlights for you?
In the last year I’d say, Billlabong Girls 2103 world campaign, 100 Wells for Ethiopia for Charity Water, Calleija Pink Statement film, creating the Corona La Casa Artist Residency interiors. All quite a bit diverse from each other and I love that I get to mix it up.
Any exciting projects you are currently working on that we can look forward to?
Yes! All work in progress and still a bit early to say in writing. I just directed my first music video for MT Warning which released this week and that was an incredibly rewarding experience.
You have travelled all over, where are some of your favourite places and how did you end up settling in Byron Bay?
It was between New York City and Byron after living 6 years on the magical isle of Bali. New York was the perfect place for my husband and I to take our careers to another level, but sadly not conducive to family life. So we tore ourselves out of there with our young children and set ourselves up in Byron Bay which always had a special draw for us. To grow up here is a gift for kids. The land of rainbows, perfect beaches, waterfalls and a great community.
My favorite places in the world are NYC, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Paris and Rajasthan. I’m a city girl but I also love the country, clean air and the space to think and reflect.
Your husband is one talented guy, your kids are destined for big things! Do you work together often, do you draw inspiration from him and his work?
We work together 70% of the time. I’ve been his producer on many projects and he’s been my biggest supporter and fan. He focuses mainly on beer campaigns, music and surfing while mine tend to be fashion, jewelry and women’s issues. So our interests are very different but we help each other a lot. He is a teacher to many and I’m just lucky I live with the guy. I get access to his calm brilliant mind all the time. Or at least when we are in the same country!
Is it tricky juggling so many hats, mum, wife, stylist, photographer, producer, director and I am sure you work on a million other things?
Yes for sure. You never feel like you are able to give any one of those things 100% all the time so when you doing one of them, give it 100% and know that the others may falter and that’s ok. I think it’s important for kids to see their parents following their dreams and make a living out of a passion. I’d much rather my kids create their own destiny than to fulfill someone else’s dreams.
A little more on the personal side:
What are your favourite pieces in your wardrobe?
My Chanel purse that my husband bought me on our 10 year anniversary, all my Rag and Bone jeans and my shoe collection. Ellery is my favorite Australian label for her tailoring and sophistication mixed with great cuts and Alice McCall is my favorite for feminine pieces that make you feel like a pretty woman.
What can you not live without?
First of all my family and second a solid core group of amazing woman who inspire me and make me laugh.
What is a typical day like for you?
Wake up and have coffee and get the kids off to school. Check emails for a few hours, spend too much time on Instagram procrastinating and then after school activities with the kids. I love going out to dinner to the Italian in Byron Bay or a BBQ at La Casa. If I’m on a production day, it’s wake up before the crack of dawn and just get the job done until the sun sets. I don’t watch TV (except Game of Thrones) and I have very little time to read etc. I’m kind of a night owl though so I’d much rather have a glass of wine with some friends at home or out to the Roadhouse to wind down the day with fellow families.
Words to live by?
We have very little drama in our lives which I am really grateful for but it’s also the skill of deflecting drama and negative energy. Obviously everyone encounters something from time to time that must be dealt with but overall I believe in the power of positive energy, knowing how you are blessed, appreciating others and being generous in spirit. Last but not least, have the time of your life!
What’s next for the amazingly talented Sybil Steele?
Learning French fluently so we can relocate there one day, creating more with the amazing network of people I have been blessed to know and balancing the life of fashion interests and women’s issues. Or just take it one month at a time!