Jessica Hanson is one of Australia’s leading Australian editorial stylists. She is style editor for Inside Out magazine, and also freelances for a range of advertising clients, including Utopia Goods and Plyroom. There is a level of thoughtfulness and thoroughness in her work that is often the hallmark of someone who has studied at the Design Centre Enmore, which she did before assisting and working her way up the ranks at Australian House & Garden magazine. During that time she was promoted to senior stylist, and towards the end of her five-and-a-half year tenure Jessica was approached to become part of the team that was to revamp Inside Out.
Which five words best describe you? Sensitive, focused, organised, creative, quiet - also persistent and perfectionist.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I studied interior decoration and design at the Design Centre Enmore. Having discovered there was such a thing as magazine styling, I started assisting a stylist a day a week most weeks during my last year. After the course finished, I emailed lots of interior magazines and top stylists for further assistance work, and continued to assist for the next few months. Soon after, timing was on my side and I was lucky enough to be offered a temporary styling position at Australian House & Garden magazine, covering for their in-house stylist while she was away on her honeymoon. I was completely thrown in the deep end, having to produce and style one of their shopping features - my first ever photoshoot. Two weeks later, the stylist came back from holiday, and I was asked to stay on for a few more weeks, and then indefinitely, and I gradually worked my way up to the senior stylist position during a period of over five and a half years. At about that time, I was approached by another interiors magazine for a maternity cover styling role and I jumped at the chance. The role was a step down, but I was excited for the change and very happy to accept the job. Luckily for me, the stylist I was covering decided not to come back on staff, and I was asked to stay on. And soon after, I was promoted to a higher role. A few years on, I am still styling for Inside Out magazine part time, as style editor, and have recently ventured into freelance styling also.
What's the best lesson you've learnt along the way? To be open, especially to change if things don’t go to plan. A lot of the time things don’t go the way you want: something that you’ve sourced may not available, or not arrive in time for the shoot, and often I’ll have to change the direction slightly, otherwise known as plan B.
What's your proudest career achievement? Styling for Inside Out - starting out, this was my absolute dream goal - and now getting to enjoy what I do everyday.
What's been your best decision? To pursue the interior publications that I’ve been fortunate enough to work for.
Who inspires you? Stylists, photographers, artists, designers, close friends and family, and always my partner Christopher Miles.
What are you passionate about? Creating, collaboration, producing good work, interiors, interior product and hand-crafted objects.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Looking forward to starting a family and I can’t wait to meet my first little one in June.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? To live in New York.
What are you reading? I read pretty pictures, more than words. I was given Setting the scene - exploring set design for Christmas, a compilation of stunning set designs for photography. And I keep going back to OK - Omin Kasin by Susanna Vento and Riikka Kantinkoski, a Scandinavian interior design and DIY book that’s beautifully styled and a great inspiration.
images courtesy of jessica hanson (styling); photography: sam mcadam-cooper, craig wall, amanda prior, craig wall, christopher miles (portrait)