Amidst the five million photos uploaded daily to Instagram alone, Kayla Varley’s portraits possess that rare je ne sais quoi that could pause the severest ADD user from swiping up to linger on the raw vulnerability of her subjects. Life in Kayla-vision never has a mundane moment, only the profound, beautiful and climactic. That's just how the always-inspired synapses fire in that genius brain of hers.
Growing up in a small town a couple hours north of L.A., Kayla started shooting at age 13 and four years later, made the big move to attend the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles. She ended up dropping out to pursue a career on her own, and trusting her instincts plus sparkling talent have since landed her coveted ad campaigns (including ours!) and fashion editorial credits. Kayla is also our resident badass photographer who snapped all the Amuse Society member portraits you see here.
She lives by the philosophy that time not spent being creative is time wasted. Be it behind the lens or modeling in front of it for friends, she loves anything and everything about making art.
Tell us about your job as a photographer.
It’s my passion, my one and only. It’s what gets me up in the morning and quiets my mind. My job is doing what I love every single day- and that in itself is truly exciting.
What was your first job ever? Any advice for girls wanting to get into the world of photography?
My first job ever doing photography was a portrait session when I was living in my hometown. I shot someone’s head shots and it was totally nerve-racking but was a great first experience. I was so nervous…looking back it’s always funny to see how much I’ve grown.
If I had any advice…be tenacious. Always trust your gut, don’t give in to the little thoughts in your head that tell you you’re not good enough or that your work is not good enough. Always try again. Everything takes time and it all falls into place. Don’t rush or overthink anything.
When do you consider something beautiful?
When something is beautiful to me, it’s natural, it’s effortless, it’s the curve of the body, or maybe it’s the way someone looks at me. Anything that makes me feel deeply, like when someone’s smile beams into your face and you get lost in their eyes, or maybe when you’re waking up in the morning and the sun hasn’t risen yet and there is quiet, quiet that hasn’t been touched yet. Those things are beautiful.
Who inspires you?
A lot of humans inspire me: my father & mother, my wonderful boyfriend, the people I meet everyday. Literally everything inspires me, I look around and take photos in my head sometimes because the light might be just so perfect and I’m totally wrapped up and lost in the moment. The way my hair looks after not washing it for 3 days inspires me. The way my feet ache after a long day of adventuring inspires me. I am inspired continuously by the people i surround myself with, they are beautiful people with beautiful souls.
What is your go to look for day? For night?
My go to look for day, always, is a pair of ripped up boyfriend jeans and a sleeveless tank, and bra, leather sandals. Night is tight black jeans with boots, black or white shirt or tank, and my black leather jacket.
What are you listening to now?
Lots of Broken Social Scene, always. Also a bit of old school 90s rap.
Who is your ultimate fashion muse?
Daria Werbowy. She always looks so rad and relaxed, and totally comfortable. Her style is so effortless. You can tell she’s just a beautiful soul with a really rad energy. Her face is unique and I love that she’s just kind of mysterious but super casual at the same time.
What does it mean to you to belong to Amuse Society?
We are a group of girls that are diverse, passionate, and beautiful. We’re coming together to form a Society of beautiful and talented women that acknowledge art, passion, creativity, and strength. For me, it’s a chance to be able to be a part of something bigger, and to help shape a brand that I connect with.