From the outside looking in, the best dream jobs appear to be a daily creative love fest by preternaturally talented geniuses. But any mentor will tell you that earning boss status is 1% inspiration and 99% persistence — a labor of passion that fuels photographer, avid explorer and vintage treasure hunter, Stefanie Vinsel.
Stefanie first joined the Amuse family as Mandy’s assistant, and her hilarious quirky personality, vintage style and up-for-anything attitude soaked up every thrilling second of behind-the-scenes escapades. In the process, Stefanie sharpened her eye for visual storytelling and has been an imaginative tour de force ever since. One day she’s shooting grainy film photographs of her friends in the great outdoors, the next she’s styling out vintage clothes into covetable must-haves for a lookbook, not to mention studying to become an aspiring actress too. Learning while creating means she’s busy round the clock, but Stefanie wouldn’t choose any other path.
You’ve been a part of the Amuse Society family long before officially joining our Society. Share how you first connected to Amuse, and what you’ve been working on with us for the past year. Any favorite moments, or projects?
I first connected when I stumbled upon the Amuse Society Instagram and fell in love. Shortly after, I met a chicka that was an employee and she linked me up with Mandy. I’ve been helping behind the scenes this last year with Mandy and the marketing team. Doing a little bit of everything, including creating social content and assisting on photo shoots… which brings me to my favorite project.
Being on the Summer ’16 shoot, I went on my first sail boat ride, saw dolphins in the wide open ocean and got to be apart of a killer shoot. Also, the Christmas party was insane… so. much. dancing.
Do you remember the first photo you shot that you loved and wanted more of?
I actually started shooting black and white 35mm film. I took a class in college and fell in LOVE with the art and process of shooting and developing your own film. I would say, the first roll that I developed myself… moments captured in my hometown of Columbus, Ohio + portraits of my friends and family made me see the world differently. I remember telling my college roommate, “I think I want to do this… capture moments of people and places and tell a story through them.” I was a nursing major at the time. That quickly changed.
Word on the street is you also have a passion for acting ☺ Tell us about that.
I guess my passion for acting is geared toward the art of story telling, not only through photos but also moving pictures. I actually studied film in college but before that I aspired to be an actress since I was a young babe. It’s kind of evolved into just wanting to be a part of telling a story, visually. Directing, producing, acting…I love it all. Specifically acting though, it is such a powerful job. To completely drop who you are and be born into someone else, not just for your performance sake, but also in order to effect viewers in a way that makes them want to do something, say something, be something; it’s powerful.
You love to dance. Tell us about the last time or place you were dancing.
Oh I dooooooo!
GOOD TIMES at DAVEY WAYNES in Hollywood. Always and forever. It’s my vibe and jive. It’s always an interesting crowd, but I cannot get enough of the backyard BBQ food, 1970’s house party feels, and non-stop psychedelic tunes – I mean, you enter through an old vintage refrigerator…truly good times.
You have an impeccable eye for thrift store finds. Any pointers?
Why thank you very much! I didn’t have a lot of money growing up, and I never really trusted my parents to buy me clothes, so it kind of was something that happened to me that turned into a hobby. For sure, you need patience. Some people have it for thrift shopping, and some don’t. I actually get bored at regular retail stores that have the same stuff and there’s really no searching or digging in the process. Patience and an open mind is huge; a different outlook on how you put together an outfit! Creativity is key. Something may look so “grandma” (I actually love “grandma”) on the hanger, but if you got an idea of what it could look like belted or tucked or even cut, you can create anything! I’m an avid clothes cutter too ☺ that creates more options for sure!
What is your go to look for day? For night?
I am very much the jeans + t-shirt kind of girl. Since moving to California, I’ve spiced things up a bit with colors, patterns and textures, but I feel most comfortable in my vintage Levis and a cute top. Night time, same deal – just add a fun jacket + booties. Also, really into velvet these days.
What are you listening to now?
I like this question. For all times, I like the classic stuff. In my car CD player, you can find Tom Petty, the Boss, Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac, Paul Simon, CCR and some Velvet Underground. Currently, I’m on a major Leon Bridges kick, with some Otis Redding, Amy Winehouse + James Mike Kirkland for dancing – Nathaniel Rateliff, Alabama Shakes, Houndmouth + forever and always Ben Howard.
Who is your ultimate fashion muse?
Jane Birkin, man… she is the ultimate. With a little Stevie Nicks thrown in there too.
And for modern day inspiration, Sienna Miller + Erin Wasson.
What does it mean to you to belong to Amuse Society?
I am so honored to be recognized as a part of this brand. I’ve known these crazy humans for over a year now and my connection with them goes far beyond a working relationship. They are family. There are many, many people that should be recognized before me but that just shows their passion for being a part of a team, something bigger, walking forward together to create something beautiful, authentic and kick ass. I feel empowered and inspired by them daily.