We had the good fortune of connecting with Ella De Gea and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ella, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
This is definitely an interesting question, especially with the last few months we have been facing. When you start any kind of project or career, especially in an artistic field, you have to give 100% of yourself and dedicate the majority of your time to it. This works for awhile and inevitably results in something that benefits you for the long run, but it does wear you out. I started working full time as a photographer/editor/assistant at the end of 2017 after finishing my Bachelor’s degree and my work life balance has changed tremendously since then. I started off by taking just about any job I could get, for whatever price I could get, just to get my name out and get as much experience and exposure as I could. The money wasn’t great, but at that point I had so much motivation to get work that it was okay! It led to more photography work, bigger jobs, and ultimately making my dreams jobs obtainable. I had an injury last summer that made me have to take a step back from work for a couple months, and the financial stress as a freelancer made me fight to get back to work even harder than before. I had some amazing jobs in the beginning and still found myself to be not as content as I should be. Then COVID happened, and it made me realize how burnt out I was and how I was allowing work to cover up things I wasn’t particularly happy with in my personal and day to day life. It was definitely making me appreciate work less, even the really awesome jobs! I’ve really had to take a step back, and analyze what I want to work hard for while maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Even though things aren’t fully back to normal, I’ve been able to visualize what is worth my time and what I need in order to maintain a good balance. From this experience, I would highly suggest anyone who feels this way to analyze their work/life balance and find their own ways to benefit from both!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My art has stayed pretty consistent over the years I would say, with either a really bright and airy feel for the majority of my work or a dark and contrasty look when I really want to play and get creative. Getting to where I am today (and I still have a long way to go) has had a lot of ups and downs, but never with lack of opportunity. LA is an incredible place to really push your boundaries and try many different avenues. I started with doing a lot of portrait and fashion to doing more weddings and entertainment. As all of these experiences have been positive, it’s definitely made me feel at times like I’ve lost my “style” or “target audience”, maybe even my creativity. I would definitely say the biggest lesson or lessons to overcome these obstacles is to know your worth (what is worth your time and what isn’t), and to keep shooting for yourself whenever there is time to keep the creative juices flowing. It’s easy to get caught up in routine work and feel stuck after awhile! I like to keep things fun, warm and always looking for new challenges and ways to better my work.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
It would completely depend on who is visiting! But most of the people who have come visit, I have shown them what most people come to see (Beverly Hills/Rodeo, Hollywood, Melrose, Santa Monica, Venice, Malibu etc). I’ll usually just take them out for a few hour drive and see what they want to do and/or see! For my coffee lovers – I take them to Alfred’s. Food lovers – Sugarfish or Kazunori. Nature lovers – Malibu and the mountains. Drinks/going out – any speakeasy or fun themed bar. There is so much to do here if you’ve never visited!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would 100% dedicate most of my success to the people in my life. My family, close friends and work mentors have all played a huge role in getting me to where I am today. Whether it’s needing someone to listen and support, someone who is going to challenge you/push you out of your comfort zone, someone who can take you away from it all to relax or someone who is able to trust you with opportunities that they have come up is key to a successful career. I’ve been fortunate enough to have all of these people in my life, and it is probably the only way I have been able to work as hard as I have to be where I am at. I still have so much I want to do and achieve, and I have no doubt that these people will help me get there.
Facebook: Ella DeGea Photography
Photo of me: Daniel Brittain Photos by me: Rachel Perlin, Julana Dizon 2 and 3