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My responsibilities vary from day to day but my primary goal is to meet the needs of the food stylist. This means I cook, grocery shop, organize, clean and do anything else the food stylist needs. One day I may bake cookies for a Christmas cookie cover shoot and the next day may be spent searching multiple specialty markets and grocery stores for red Thai chilies.
As a free-lance food stylist assistant in Des Moines, most of my jobs are based in Meredith Corporation’s facilities. Some of the publications I have worked with include Diabetic Living, Better Homes and Gardens, multiple special interest magazines and bookazines (like magazines but with more pages and printed on higher quality paper).
The people, environment and just in case it was not clear, the people. A single photograph may require six people: the editor, art director, photographer, photographer assistant, food stylist and the food stylist assistant (that’s me!). Lots of creative minds, backgrounds, and personalities all coordinating and cooperating to capture the most appealing photograph. Working alongside and learning from these talented people makes this experience all the more enjoyable as well as rewarding.
Day-to-day variety makes this job fun and exciting too. I spent my first day in Meredith Corporation’s gardens making various cocktails and finger foods for a garden party spread in an upcoming publication. I spent another shoot preparing tailgating goodies in the parking lot of a Des Moines public high school. Each day brings a new adventure.
Put yourself out there. Contact companies you are interested in even if they do not have internships or job opportunities currently available. Had I not reached out to the test kitchen director at Meredith Corporation, I would not have come in contact with the two food stylists that I currently work with. Just like in school, your future career is all about what you put into it.