Veronica Rafael, photographed by Kate Edwards.
Brooklyn, NY (S. Williamsburg)
Photographer & Agent
How would you describe your style?
“West Coast Bohemian meets Bruja” say my friends. Totally accurate!
If you had to wear one outfit everyday, what would it be?
Baggy dress, fun strappy heeled sandals, interesting jewelry pieces. I love chunky necklaces / earrings / rings. I hate pants and tights and anything constricting. Baggy is best!
Describe your current life in three words.
Messy but marvelous!
How does your occupation as a photographer affect your style?
It’s super important that when I’m working, what I’m wearing is the last thing on my mind. There’s nothing worse than being on a shoot and having to fidget with a piece of clothing - I need to be totally unaware of myself to really concentrate on what I’m doing!
What do you enjoy most about your career?
The fact that it’s pulled me in so many different directions! Photography wise - The flexibility, the opportunity to collaborate with other creatives. The fast pace, the fact that no two shoots are ever exactly the same. Getting to decide what I do and don’t want to do on my own terms. The freedom in that is priceless.
What are some obstacles that you face/ have faced as a businesswoman?
Honestly, my biggest obstacle has always been myself. In the beginning it was doubting whether I was talented enough to really do this, if people would actually like my work - if I could “pull it off”, really. Then once I established my business, and people responded so positively and with so much support, it was a different variation of the same problem. I had total Imposter Syndrome at first - I always felt like I was just waiting for someone to figure out I didn't actually know what I was doing. Which wasn’t true at all, but it took me a while to really embrace it and own the fact that I'd built something myself.
Who or what influences/inspires your style.
The weather, 5000%. The city I’m in! There are just things I can’t pull off here (in NYC) that I can pull off easily in LA or NOLA & vice versa! I don’t really think I have a concrete style, it really depends on how I’m internally responding to whatever I’m facing that day.
Have you ever had to make any hard sacrifices in order to pursue your dreams/career?
For me, it was giving up a comfortable existence. Sometimes you can be in the “ideal situation” in your career and hate waking up every morning to face it. I think it takes a lot of guts to just walk away when you realize something isn’t working for you anymore. For me, this was the biggest and hardest thing I’ve done for my career so far. Walking away from prestige (or the illusion of it, anyway) and security is the hardest thing ever - especially when you know how hard you’d worked to get yourself to a certain point and how much of yourself you poured into what you were doing. But I think sometimes the hardest choice is the best choice, despite all of the struggles you’re basically volunteering yourself for. You realize once you really honor yourself and your truth, that no place or person is ever worth sacrificing that for ever again.
Describe your life 10 years ago in three words.
Messier, still marvelous!
Photography by Veronica Rafael
What does being a BagLady mean to you?
I’m so honored to be included in this pool of accomplished women! Being a BagLady seems like it would be something negative (like being a cat lady, which I totally also am, by the way) but ultimately I think it means you’re a woman who’s prepared for anything, comfortable but still stylish.
What do you like most about our garments?
The fact that the attention to detail isn't sacrificed because of the desire for comfort. I fell in absolute love with your sleeveless shirt dress!! I love the rounded tailoring, the way it flows on my body and how flattering it was (despite the “baglady” aspect!). I love how all but a few buttons are hidden away. It just feels clean and makes it a little more sophisticated. Also, it has pockets, which every girl knows is a major plus.
What countries have you visited?
Spain, Portugal, Germany, Canada.
Have your travels shaped your style in anyway?
A majority of my travels are domestic, and honestly, these trips have had more of a lasting impact on my style than my travels abroad. I love exploring the US. It’s enormous and there’s so much of it I haven’t seen yet! Every place brings out a different aspect of my personality and I think as I’ve gotten older I’ve slowly started to tie these things together in my wardrobe.
Have you ever been afraid of expressing your personal style?
Totally! I always feel underdressed or overdressed. I chalk that up to my NY vs LA mentality, haha.
What’s one thing that you’re proud of doing/accomplishing?
Following my heart and guts, even when my decisions don't make sense to other people. These things are always worth the risk and even if they haven’t all panned out I’ve never walked away empty handed.
Photographer, Veronica Rafael, photographed by Kate Edwards.
What advice do you have for individuals who wish to have a successful career as a photographer?
Personally, I benefitted so much from going to school for it. I know that it’s not for everyone, or even necessary for Photography anymore really - the knowledge and tools are way more acessible to people now, even compared to when I was in school 5 years ago. But I think Parsons gave me a foundation that I couldn’t have gotten any other way - and the connections and friendships that I made there are priceless. But if school isn’t your thing, I think its just like everything else - commit yourself, be as true to your vision as you can, embrace the good with the bad and build a community. Try to learn everything about it. Be obsessed with it.
What would you say to your 18 year old self?
Focus more on yourself, girl! I think I learned a little too late in life that it was necessary to be selfish to an extent. I think I also felt afraid of being confident, because I knew on some level that it meant I couldn't bend over backwards for the people I cared about all of the time. If I had learned to embrace myself much earlier and given myself everything I was so busy giving others at that age, I’m positive I’d be in a much better place at 30! But hey. Ya live and ya learn :)
What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
Do what feels right. It’s basic, but it’s insane how difficult this can be when it really matters!
Do you have any advice for our readers?
Do what feels right! Listen to yourself.