A Must-Know NYC Photog On Her Tales Of Success

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AWPhoto: Courtesy of Girls I Know.
After an impressive run at glossies like Cosmopolitan & Seventeen that included styling, editing, and modeling (eh hem, slashie!) Jennifer Steele — now a stylist living in NYC — spends her days (& nights) curating the site GIRLS I KNOW.

Anna was carrying her camera when I met her. We’ve been friends for six years. The day we met, she was shooting a look book and I was an intern on-set. Once she discovered I was from Wisconsin, she insisted I meet her Midwestern intern, Eve. Next, Anna asked that I collaborate with her boyfriend Mike and herself for Untitled, a magazine they were producing at the time. I interviewed each of the photographers for the swim issue.

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People who understand the strengths of others and utilize them through collaboration are rare and I feel fortunate to have worked with Anna because she is this kind of person.

Anna Wolf has been on my list of girls to profile since I started making lists three years ago. To me, she is accomplished and also very real. I like that she surprises me. I hadn’t known she waited tables before she “made it” until very recently. It feels appropriate to say I look up to her even more after knowing that.

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How do you personally measure success?
That is a tough one because I think it changes all of the time. When I first started out, success really just meant not waitressing and being able to pay my bills by being a photographer. Now that I’ve achieved that, I want so much more. I think it’s important to never be satisfied with what you’re doing, to always strive for something more and something better. But, at the same time, you have to be able to really appreciate what you have and what you’ve accomplished and also love your work. It's a delicate balance. At the moment for me, success is having a career I am proud of, a beautiful home that feels like home, my health, my family, my friends, and my dog.

Who is someone you admire?
Oh man, there are so many people whom I admire. Definitely, the people who have helped me so much along the way. My boyfriend, Mike Perry, who is just such an incredible person. He has talent and is such a hard worker — he is also uncompromising in his vision. He’s so passionate about what he does and at the same time encourages the people around him to do more and work to their full potential. Mike is an inspiration to me and I don’t think I would be where I am today without him.

Ocean, lake or pool?
The ocean, without a doubt. I grew up by the beach and the ocean is so comforting to me.

What was your first job — in life and in NYC?
My first job was at Eddie Bauer when I was in high school. I still remember going in for my six-hour shifts and spending the entire time folding the jean wall. It was so mind-numbing. I’d spend all day folding, and by the time I finished, it would be fucked up again from people pulling jeans off the wall to find the right size — it was an endless cycle. Kind of jokingly, but kind of not, my biggest goal is to get an Eddie Bauer campaign just to bring my life full circle.

In NYC, my first job was working the coat check at the Parkside Lounge in the LES. My best friend at the time was bartending there. I arrived in NYC on New Year’s Eve, and she brought me in that same night to work. So fitting that I get off the airplane and get to work the same day. Very true to New York, I’ve been working like crazy every day since I got here.
After an impressive run at glossies like Cosmopolitan & Seventeen that included styling, editing, and modeling (eh hem, slashie!) Jennifer Steele — now a stylist living in NYC — spends her days (& nights) curating the site GIRLS I KNOW.