We had the good fortune of connecting with Camille Collard and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Camille, can you share the most important lesson you’ve learned over the course of your career?
Of course, I would be happy to! I think the biggest lesson that I have learned is to simply let things breathe when feeling overwhelmed and uninspired. In general,  I think It’s safe to say that I am a perfectionist. Striving for that perfect image, the perfect setup, the perfect soirée… It is something that I simply cannot escape. And at times, it has been an overwhelming struggle for me, my business and artistic endeavors.

As I have stepped further into creativity as an outlet and through the process of starting my baking kit business, I have really been forced to take a step back from self criticism. To take a breath. When self doubt really kicks in, the burnout can become deeply rooted, causing some serious self loathing and completely stunting any creative process and inspiration. I cannot tell you how many times I knew a photoshoot or setup wasn’t what I wanted it to be and I just powered through hoping I could wrangle it into submission. In the end, the images would feel inauthentic and I would inevitably just throw everything out and simply start over again another day. But from all of these self proclaimed ‘failures’ I have learned to read when something doesn’t feel right… when it feels forced. Taking all of my own photographs, self-portraits and styling each and every set up is so very rewarding, but it can also carry some huge expectations and an overwhelming pressure to perform. So after trashing many images and throwing out baked goods, and crying and cursing and feeling like an utter failure, I have learned that If something doesn’t ‘click’, if the images or composition don’t excite me, it’s okay to take a break. It’s okay to stop and come back to it later. And even after all of these lessons, I still find myself in the middle of a project thinking once again, ‘I am failing’, only to remind myself that I can reimagine and come back to it when it feels better. When it feels right. When it’s easier.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My creative projects have all started out very personal and remain very close to my heart. I pour my soul into my artistry and I crave beauty and perfect imperfections and vulnerability. So as lockdown began in 2020 and my solo time increased I saw myself quietly slipping into a dark little hole. I was scrolling through Pinterest and Instagram frustrated that I kept seeing a void of accessibility on blogs and creator accounts. A void of single ladies having single date nights. A void of simple self love. A massive hole for how to throw a mini fête when you live in a studio apartment. I was tired of seeing beautiful homes and lavish flats as the only space worthy of soirées and festive gatherings. What about the girl who lives in 380 square feet and yet longs to host dinner parties? The girl who craves beauty and entertaining and holiday traditions on a miniature scale? That girl was me and I knew I wasn’t alone… so during lockdown, I started my self portrait series with Camille Odella. It began as an escape from covid, anxiety and boredom, and eventually turned into a ritual for me. From simple portraits where I dressed up for myself and made something ‘fancy’ for just me, I saw how much my little moments of self-dating were helping with my current personal struggles. And I knew I wanted to keep it all going. As we emerged from lockdown and life began to look a bit more normal, I applied these little practices to mini soirées with my nearest and dearest. No longer saving special things for special occasions, but creating beautiful experiences in a simple fashion with those that I love. All it takes is a little style, some seasonal ingredients and exceptional company.

Eventually, out of building little moments for myself paired with my baking and photography endeavors, the seed for Odella Bakes was planted. I saw that there had to be a more accessible way to get great gluten free baking and unique, exciting experiences into small home kitchens. And I knew that I wasn’t the only one looking for slices of luxury within the everyday. So I set out to create little packages of beautiful and delicious things worthy of birthday parties and holiday feasting without the hassle of traditional baking methods. My first product was the Soirée Cupcake Kit, it is chic and delectable and not what you expect from a baking mix… it has so much more and you would never guess that the cupcakes are gluten free! Ultimately, I wanted to intertwine an easy at home baking world with stunning aesthetics that match my blogging and photography style. The plan became to showcase recipes on my blog that would feature baking kits and my gluten free flour. I wanted to highlight the kits in beautiful setups in my tiny apartment hoping to show that no matter your living space or baking skills, you can indulge in bits of beauty and self-care. I simply wanted to invite people to throw a bit of luxury into their everyday lives, or to add a little pop of glitz and glam to a mini party. Life is too short to save the fancy stuff for special occasions!

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I live in Silver Lake, and I LOVE Silver Lake. So if we had one weekend, I would likely take them around to my favorite spots… show off my favorite pocket of Los Angeles! The day would start with a walk down to Intelligentsia and since it is Saturday, we would pop over to La Pharmacie du Vin for a couple glasses of wine and my favorite potato chips and a bit of cheese… from there we would grab some flowers at Gillys and plan our next foodie adventure. We would obviously have to hit up Eszett, Found Oyster, Kismet, Cafe Stella and Covell. Basically I would take them on a food and wine bar tour. Throw in a walk around the reservoir and the Silver Lake stairs (because we are eating our way through LA, we require a bit of exercise.) And even though I cannot eat bagels, I would stand in line with them while they snag a Courage Bagel and I would get a coconut milk latte and be super jealous… because they smell so darn good and I pray that one day they get super trendy and do a GF option (fingers crossed!)

When I reflect on some of my favorite memories, they all seem to involve friends sharing a bottle of wine and great food… I cannot help wanting to curate these moments with the people that I love. So though there is so much to do in LA and such vast options for nightlife, I always lean towards situations that lend themselves to exceptional conversation, great snacks and endless laughter.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My mother has been my biggest support. From driving me to every dance class or rehearsal to shipping me a new 35mm when mine was beyond repair in the midst of a college project, she has always been a rock. Someone who has supported me, believed in me and listened to my sorrows through tears and threats to give it all up. No matter what, she is always there, she is the first person I want to call with good news or when I find myself discouraged. I would not be who I am today without her love and support.

Website: camilleodella.com

Instagram: @camilleodella

Other: odellabakes.com @odellabakes

Image Credits
Camille Odella

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