We had the good fortune of connecting with KAREN ROSALIE and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi KAREN, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
I was born in San Francisco CA to two immigrant parents from China who came to the states in the late 90s. Growing up we didn’t have much, but I saw how hard my parents worked to put food on the table and a roof over our heads. They worked from 9-7pm M-S and Sunday was the only day I had with them. We had food but all my clothes were hand-me-downs. My parents came home late from work so I learned to make rice at a young age. It was not an easy childhood but this was the environment I grew up in, and through it all I just remember my mom telling me the only way out is through a good education. I applied myself in school and got into good schools, Lowell HS & UCLA. However, growing up in this environment made an artist out of me. Regardless of my grades, all I wanted to do was to make art and escape from reality. Photography became such an outlet for me. Through photography I was able to create a more beautiful world. “Searching for beauty in the mundane” became my mantra as I pursued photography after college (much to my parent’s disappointment.) I pursued photography with an intense fervor and drive that I can only attribute to having to come up from nothing. It made me more hungry and more determined to be “successful.” I put 110% into everything I did even if it was the most mundane of jobs. Proving to my parents and my peers that I could make it as a photographer and ultimately financially providing for my parents was the sole reason why I worked as hard as I did.
To all the young photographers that was in the same position as I was, I do think hustle culture and “making it” is possible, albeit extremely difficult. But I think you need to be smart and true to your voice and point of view. Hard work and determination got me to where I am, but so did being flexible and learning to change. Throughout the course of my photography journey, I saw the biggest changes when I worked on my self and consequently it positively impacted my career. Photography is challenging because it’s not a charted course — there are a million ways to become a photographer and oftentimes you can feel lost and overwhelmed. At the end of the day, it comes down to the photo and the art you’re putting into the world. Be patient and create constantly!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
The biggest thing I had to learn through Rosalie was how to be a business person. As a free creative who’s old schedule was sleeping at 2am and deadlines are optional, it was the hardest thing to learn how to become regimented and speak professionally to clients.
I believe the one thing that makes Rosalie stand out among other content creation agencies is our efficiency and quality of images. What you see on our Instagram is exactly what you’ll get when you do a shoot with us, and we are fast and easy to work with. A lot of the good business tactics really just comes down to good customer service and quality control, which is not as sexy but I think is just as important as creativity. One of the biggest misconceptions is that the work needs to be superb but I really do think at the end of the day it’s also customer relations. Our clients are not only our clients but our friends and it makes the creative process that much easier.
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?
The great thing about LA is the amount of culture and food– every area has something different to offer. My favorite place to hang out is in the Arts District. I would take them wine tasting at Pali wine and eat at my favorite restaurant, Inko Nito, and end the night at the speakeasy bar after, In Sheep’s Clothing. Unfortunately due to the pandemic a lot of these places have temporarily shut down and I’ll need to find new places to go to. At the moment I’ve been obsessed with asian restaurants like Dong Po, Bristro Na, and taiwanese dessert, Meet Fresh. It’s a completely different world from Arts District but it feels like home to me.
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?
The hidden secret to my success is my Stanford graduate entrepreneurial husband. Before I met him I was a 9-5 working for someone else. He encouraged me to quit my job and start my own business, which at the time completely terrified me. But through his support and being my de factor business partner, Rosalie has grown to the success that it is now where we work with top Sephora beauty brands like Fenty Skin, Necessaire, and Tatcha.
PHOTOS SHOT BY ROSALIE AGENCY