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

Hi kayla, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I didn’t pursue a creative career; instead, a creative career pursued me, haha. There was no other option. Being creative is all I’ve known. I’ve always had a big imagination and was constantly daydreaming as a child. I preferred art, drama and tech classes vs. math and science. I never saw myself having a conventional life with a traditional career. I was more interested in seeing the world, watching films, and letting my curiosities lead me. When I discovered photography, I became utterly obsessed and couldn’t stop. This medium of creative expression possessed me and pursuing this passion unexpectedly led me to a beautiful creative career.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am a photographer, director, and amateur ceramicist. What sets me apart from others is that I started my career as photo intern at The Grid Magazine. The Grid was a weekly Toronto publication. One week I was in the office doing photo editing and producing shoots, and the following week I would be on the ground shooting. Because The Grid was a weekly publication, we had to move fast! I would shoot various things from portraits, events, food, landscapes, etc., with minimal lighting. I had to work quickly and efficiently. Shooting a wide range of subjects served me because I became a very versatile shooter with a background in producing and photo editing.

I am most proud and excited about all the fantastic brands I work with. Knix, Jenny Bird, Trouvaille, Sidia, and Rainbo are some of my clients, and these are all Toronto-based, female-owned brands. I feel so lucky to work with such empowered women doing such incredible things.

I got to where I am today because of hard work, hustling, and the support of my family and friends. In my earlier days, I worked as a server at The Drake Hotel and then would do photography jobs in between my shifts. I couldn’t afford a car and didn’t have time to take the TTC, so I would bike to my shoots with my camera on my back. It was non-stop go-go-go for several years. This type of lifestyle wasn’t sustainable, and I don’t recommend it haha. I had no social life and was constantly rushing!
I didn’t sleep much, and was suffering from mad anxiety during this time. But all that hard work was all worth it in the end! One of my favorite quotes is “a smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.” I learned so much about photography and myself during these years.

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 am between LA and Toronto so I will do both! This is hard though, so many incredible spots!

LA morning: Intelligentsia coffee silver lake
Toronto morning: Sonndr Cafe

Followed by…
LA: Walking and shopping in Venice!
Toronto: Walking in Queen Street West. Bellwoods park, Ossington, vintage shops in Parkdale.

LA lunch/brunch: Gjusta Restaurant
Toronto lunch/brunch: Rose & Sons, Fat Pasha or Union Restaurant

Followed by…
LA dinner and drinks: Soho House West Hollywood (what a view!!) and/or The Ace Hotel
Toronto dinner and drinks: 416 snack bar and/or the Drake Hotel

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
To my dad Nick Rocca who passed away in 2006. I picked up a camera when he died as art therapy, and I never imagined that the grief I was feeling would transform into something so beautiful.

I am so lucky because I have had so many supportive friends, mentors, and family members. My mom and sister (Helena and Rose Marie Rocca) have always been rocks in my life. They encourage, support, and guide me and give me the best advice. They have believed in me since day one. Likewise, my friends shower me with love and always tell me that they are proud of me. Their love and support fill me with so much joy and confidence. Having a support system is very important in all aspects of life. A quick shout out to Laura, Angie, Alex, Liz, Jaclyn, Lindsey, Jill, Kyleigh, Elena, Brit, Kelly, Sam, Laura & Scott, Jenny, Rita, Lexi, Lauren, Ashley, Tonya, Alan, Matt, Anthony, Jared, Dhani, Darren and my Canon Creator class community.

My agents, Kathi Z and Andrew McGrath of KZM, have taken my career to the next level, and having them on my team is the most extraordinary gift I’ve ever received. They also have introduced me to the most talented lighting and digital techs, Jeff Jamieson and Bryan Ulrich, and brilliant assistants like Patrick Marcoux and Marc Santos. Having an encouraging and supportive team has given me room to breathe. I am forever thankful!

It would be amiss if I didn’t mention Erin Reynolds of Velouria Productions, Lizzie O’Donnell, the team at the Drake Hotel, and Chris Powling. These people encouraged me and gave me opportunities and support in the very early days of my career. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.

Website: www.kaylarocca.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kaylaroccaphoto

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kayla-rocca-7189931a6/

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