We had the good fortune of connecting with Kelsey Rose Weber and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kelsey Rose, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
While many people who know me might say I’m a risk taker, I don’t see myself that way. Perhaps it’s because I associate risk with spontaneity and I’m a type A planner to the max and my normal reaction is to say NO, not YES. There’s three times in my life I said YES – despite my inner organizing type-A demon screaming at me to say NO – and it’s these moments that gave me my career. I grew up in LA amidst the industry but never saw myself being a part of it. After college, I was working in the marketing department of a pretty well known fashion brand and absolutely hated it. I worked as a curve model throughout college so I had the knowledge of the industry but I didn’t have the heart and so I left after a year – much to my parents dismay – and had no clue what I was going to do. I dabbled in retail, did some odd jobs heres and there and then I ended up as a receptionist at a production company…..and then I was laid off. I felt like I was back to square one – unsure of my path and too scared to take a risk – or so I thought. A producer I worked with when I was modeling reached out letting me know that a coordinator position had opened up on her team at Buzzfeed. I wasn’t too into clickbait culture but something was pulling me in…..and then they chose to not renew my contract (through a pretty shitty process of leading me on for 6 months). Again – back at square one – but this time, I took my first big career risk. I decided to start my own craft services company because I said YES to myself. I knew how to cook my butt off and my mother taught me how to host the shit out of a party so I combined the two. I created a logo, built out my table display and started reaching out to producers. I started working on smaller productions and really taught myself everything – and I learned a lot from the things that would go wrong. I worked hard and long – sometimes 16 or 18 hour days on music videos for basically no pay – and then after 3 years I found myself working on larger productions and managing a team of up to 7 women all working under my name, KR Crafty. I ended up getting my union days, joined Local 80, and thought that this was the path I had carved out for myself. However — I felt there was more for me to do. I’ve always been creative and while I excelled at craft services, I didn’t feel I was utilizing my skill set to it’s fullest. It was then a producer asked me if I would food stylist a beer commercial for him. It was simple – spraying the bottles, adding foam – and the day rate he gave me was one I couldn’t say no to. I took a risk and said YES. I absolutely loved it and I then pivoted into food styling pretty organically. It started slow – a few shoots here or there – but then I started to gain more recognition from larger clients and started working regularly with them. I googled, I practiced, I had good shoots and bad shoots but I kept learning and I kept reminding myself I could do it. Then I found myself 5 years into food styling working on giant commercials with some of the biggest brands being booked 6 or 7 days a week on different shoots. During the pandemic, Hollywood shut down. Starting March 13th, all my shoots cancelled and, like a lot of LA industry workers, I went on unemployment. I embraced a few weeks off but I felt this was my time to reconnect, reflect and reprioritize where I wanted my career to go. Freelance was so good to me and I had a solid client list but I felt I was lacking a team dynamic. I was missing out on feeling actual connections with people around me – it felt like I was going on tinder dates with production companies and then after a week or so, ghosted. The shoot would end and we would all move on to other things. Then I took another risk – a smaller one – but I began applying for full-time jobs on LinkedIn. I had all this time during the shut down so I re-did my resume and figured why not put out some feelers. It was then I connected with HelloFresh. I started interviewing with their team and I felt this was where I was supposed to be. Then it happened – I was offered the job as their lead culinary producer and food stylist. All the years of long shoots, hectic schedules and hundreds of clients paid off. The next risk I took, you may ask, well, the position is in NYC and I’ve been in LA ever since I was 9 years old. So…..I said YES. I took a risk for my career. I can’t write what this next chapter will look like as it’s just beginning but reflecting on my career, I wouldn’t be here without taking risks. The nights I spent with an overdrawn bank account worrying about bills or the nights I stayed up all night perfected a food I was styling and sometimes failing over and over again — this is the moment why they happened. Risks don’t always equal success. I’ve highlighted 3 moments where it paid off but, of course, there’s been a few where it didn’t. And it’s those moments where I felt like I failed where it took me years to realize, I might have failed in the moment but I succeeded in the long run. I learned, I adapted, I felt real deep feelings of disappointment so that the moment when I felt achievement, it was even sweeter.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
As a food stylist my job always varies. I could be recipe developing for a brand, styling products for packaging/commercials, or fabricating and set dressing for a scene and I love it because I’m always adapting. I started on my own and taught myself all the tips and tricks and worked my butt off to build a client list including Kroger, NutriBullet, Beyond Meat, and more. And, just like when you’re cooking at home, somethings don’t go as planned but it’s those moments on set where you have to think quick, problem solve and deliver and I believe those are my strongest skills. I strongly believe I’ve gotten to this point in my career because I listen to those around me. I’m aware that we are all people and I work to encourage my team to succeed. Positive energy, collaboration and supporting those around me is vital and I’m proud to say I didn’t have to step on anybody to see success in this field.
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.
My favorite spot in LA, by far, is up in Lake Hughes. It’s the mountain range above Santa Clarita so it’s the border of LA county and the Antelope Valley. It’s small time vibes within a drive of LA and most people have never heard of it. My fiance and I bought a house there last year and have absolutely LOVED it. You can see the stars, it’s quiet but you know your neighbors and there’s ranches all around with horses, cows – all the barnyard fixins’. I’d start with a hike around Lake Elizabeth taking in the fresh air and calmness in the mountains. I’d follow it up with lunch at the Rock Inn – a historic bar/inn that makes you feel like a local the minute you walk in. If the poppies are in season I’d take them for a drive on the paths through the hills where you can’t see a cell tower in sight. 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 want to dedicate this shoutout to the 3 people who gave me the opportunities to say YES. Amanda Widoniak who hired me on at Buzzfeed and encouraged me to start doing craft services, Rich Edwards who hired me on that first beer commercial that started it all and, finally, to my fiance, Russell, who was there from start to finish supporting me, loving me, and is now stuck packing up our entire life in LA to move to NYC as we begin this journey.
NutriBullet (Instagram) Don Franciscos (Instagram) Erewhon (Instagram)