After studying interior design and working in the food world for many years, it seemed a logical step to explore food styling, Lyndel Miller says. “I didn't expect to make a living out of it,” she says. “I never expected the success. I have an insatiable appetite for it ever since I started.” After Brisbane-based Lyndel made the decision in 2009, she says the phone started ringing, literally. “It was odd,” she says. Her first official commercial shoot was for a gourmet ice cream range for Skye Craig, a contestant from the second series of Masterchef. “Strangely, for the first time, I felt right at home,” Lyndel says. “It felt very natural.” She is not only an in-demand food stylist - working for small businesses, large food manufacturers, kitchenware chains, publishing houses and advertising agencies - but also an author too. Her first book was with Skye Craig - Wild Sugar Desserts and this year she released her second book Naked Cakes through Murdoch Books.

Which five words best describe you? Driven, idealistic, eccentric, private, warm. It’s difficult writing about yourself. 

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? Doing the work! You’ll never succeed in this industry without hard work and determination. As a stylist you also can’t move forward without collaborating. You need to put yourself out there, as daunting and frightening as that sounds. I’m more of an introvert than and extrovert so it was a challenge. It doesn’t land in your lap, no matter how good you are. I don’t proclaim to know it all. Every job is different, you learn every day. I naturally fell into food, but I love interiors, product and lifestyle styling also. I love it all. I’m addicted to it. I’d do it for free every day if I didn’t need the monetary rewards. I’ve just started to work in film - and I love this new dimension. I like to mix it up. I bore easily. I need to be stimulated creatively, often. It’s almost a disorder.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? That I can trust myself. You are always wondering if the work is good enough. In reality it’s never perfect - to yourself, anyway. I’m always striving to improve.

What’s your proudest career achievement? Being applauded on set for a TVC gig. That will stay with me forever. Being appreciated by fellow creatives at the top of their game is altering. The book deals - close.

What’s been your best decision? Career wise - trying. Taking the leap of faith. Changing professions is exciting but you you have to be prepared to dance with doubt. Belief in yourself is powerful. 

Who inspires you? I must say I don't idolise. I find that odd. I don’t know why. I feel like I am in a minority here. I am of the belief that we are all inspiring in some way. I appreciate. I’m inspired by nature, everyday interludes, magazines, my children, fashion, whatever. I do love stylist Australian Glen Proebstel’s work - now living in NYC. Always have. I think he is the master. Tim Walker, Yotam Ottolenghi, Catherine Martin [DI interview], Lucy Feagins [DI interview], Justina Blakeney and Cynthia Louise - Wholefoods chef extraordinaire - if you don’t know her, you should look her up. They all never cease to amaze me. All for different reasons. Their style, drive, talents, interpersonal attributes, all of the above. It’s a mix, bit like myself, but tomorrow I might find someone new that makes me smile widely. 

What are you passionate about? Family, food, music, my work, making a house a home, authenticity and supporting creatives. I’m an advocate for helping others along. 

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Just one!? That’s tough. Michael Hutchence. INXS fan. Teenage crush!

What dream do you still want to fulfil? I just want to create every day, be present with my family, get enough sleep and make enough money to create a kick-ass house, buy pretties - make art to buy art - travel. Work with more amazing creatives - this rocks my boat, and live in another country, even for just a year. I love to style cookbooks - a lot. Oh, and style and write one more book of my own, in ode to my mother. Not much. I’m always aiming high.

What are you reading? Andy Griffiths’ Treehouse series. Yes, that’s it. It’s actually fantastic. Bedtime stories. Juggling a freelance job and motherhood is tricky and some pleasures like reading novels end up on the backburner. I’m lucky to read my fave blogs and magazines. I try to read a book every holidays. Then I am skimming through Costume Design by Deborah Nadoolman Landis and trying to finish The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion.

images courtesy of lyndel miller; photography lyndel miller, mindi cooke (2, 3, 4) and lynda coulson