Q&A with Stylist PEGGI JEUNG


I’ve been waiting with great anticipation for this interview with Peggi Jeung, an incredibly talented West-Coast based Wardrobe, Still and Prop stylist. Represented by Aubri Balk at ArtMix Beauty, Peggi fit this interview in to a very busy schedule of back-to-back shoots and a re-launch of her site featuring new fashion work shot in Arizona at a 300-year-old mission and another in Woodside, Ca for Eliza Magazine, new sports product work and work with first-time collaborators, photographers Dana Niebert and John Huet.

Check it out here after you take a sneak peek at her work below and read about how she got her start, where she gets her thrills, why she’s running again, and of course what inspires and is behind the talent that has her dressing, propping and styling shoots for many of today’s top photographers and blue-chip editorial and advertising clients.

Eliza Magazine Photography by Caroline Schiff

Adidas Men's Photography by Susie Tarlton

Flannel and Vans Photography by Susie Tarlton

POP: You really have an incredible eye and your work is filled with color and a beautiful design sensibility. What is your background and when did you decide to become a stylist?

I studied art history in college and spent some time traveling. Europe, Turkey, Morocco, Peru and Cuba. Places filled with color, energy and beautiful design so different than ours had a big impact on me.

I spent close to ten years working as a Visual Merchandiser and eventually Window Designer at Macy’s West. At that time, there was a lot of creative freedom, so I was able to develop whatever concepts I wanted, as long as they supported a particular window’s theme. Macy’s had an incredible array of props and resources in their storerooms, so there was so much we could do. I was also able to work with local artisans and galleries to feature their work in the windows. My favorite were fashion windows we did with Creativity Explored, a local non-profit visual arts center for artists with developmental disabilities.

I was supported by an extremely talented staff of artists and builders , so I consider myself very fortunate. Because the store carried a lot of merchandise categories, I worked with fashion, accessories, hard lines and soft goods—which came in very handy when I started styling.  I started my styling career in 1999. It was the height of the internet boom, so I got a lot of work right away, even though I was still assisting. I was lucky in that I was able to build a small client base right away and create a portfolio. I’m not sure that I ever really decided to be a stylist—like most great leaps in my life, I was in the right place at the right time when the opportunity presented itself. And I was prepared with a strong visual background that enabled me to really go after it.

For full interview, please click on link below.

POP: How did you train yourself or learn to ‘see?’ And did this change the way you look at the world?

I ‘m not sure if I would describe it this way—it has never been a conscious decision on my part to “see” in any particular way. I think I just had an inclination and curiosity about certain things. Design, art, artists, fashion, etc. that led me in this direction. Traveling certainly changes your perspective and shows you things. Early on, I also had some very cool people around me who exposed me to the world of design—and it totally spun my head around.

POP: What are the qualities, business and creative skills that have helped you most in building your business?

As a freelancer, you really need to stay on top of so many things. Just marketing yourself can be a full-time job in addition to all the practical work that needs to gets done.

So many things come into play: sourcing materials, marketing, bookkeeping, etc. I like running my own business, so that’s a plus. It may sound obvious, but I think the most important thing for me was taking a very active part in what was happening. I liked printing my own books and putting them together. I try to follow up on as many things as possible.  I recently finished putting together my own website, which was a big undertaking—but fun and very satisfying.  Creatively, I think it’s very important to stay curious and to keep your juices flowing by creating projects with your peers. The creative and the business sides have to support one another.

Portfolio Shoot Photography by Susie Tarlton

Portfolio Shoot Photography by Sasha Gulish

POP: At what point were you a full collaborator?

I guess that would have been when I started testing to build my portfolio, which was pretty early on. It took a little practice, but I got comfortable with putting my ideas/concepts forward and gained a lot of confidence in my process.

POP: You are so talented, you must have a great time working as a stylist. What do you enjoy most about your work?

Thank you for the compliment! What I love most about my work is being exposed to so many incredibly talented people everyday. They are so much fun and many have become friends. The variety of my assignments is a big plus as well—it never, ever gets boring. It could be propping an ad for Nike one day and then shooting interiors for The Wall Street Journal the next.

Nike/Props by Peggi Jeung Photography by Dylan Coulter

Wall Street Journal Magazine Photography by Roger Davies

Glamour Magazine Photography by Garry McLeod

I love the process of looking for stuff and finding that perfect piece—it’s really fun. I get my thrills trolling around: flea markets, the Goodwill or more traditional stores, it doesn’t matter. It’s like a great treasure hunt every time. I think one of my favorite projects was one for Goodby, Silverstein where I had to provide a multitude of props and costumes, including a suit of armor, a pirate with a peg-leg and a hook, a live tarantula and authentic tommy guns. It was really challenging, but so much fun to source. I also did an ad with Mark Holthusen where we shot a knife thrower that was really awesome. I work on location a lot, so it’s great having access to places that would otherwise be off-limits. It’s fascinating to me to work in private homes and see how other people live in, design and decorate their places. I get to go to so many beautiful places. It’s really amazing.

Knife Thrower Photography by Mark Holthusen

Book Project Photography by Jacqui Galle

POP: You seem to be equally good at food, people, wardrobe, interiors…what came first and how did you branch out to other areas?

I started working with fashion first, but realized pretty quickly that with my background I could handle a lot of different assignments. I was able to collaborate with some great photographers and created the kind of imagery I needed to build in those categories. Once you have imagery for clients to view on your website, one thing just leads to another.

POP: Where do you find inspiration?

I get a lot of my inspiration from interior design, nature and interesting people I see on the street.

POP: Favorite recent projects?

I just finished an ad campaign for Saucony, shot with John Huet, that inspired me to start running again. I never expected that!

Also, a job shot with Dana Niebert for Chevy which produced some amazing shots—we got to shoot on the new part of the Bay Bridge.

Chevy Ad Photography by Dana Niebert

The other new work that I love is a multi-ad Chinet shoot I did the props for with Stephanie Rausser. We worked on multiple locations/concepts and the best three are on my site. Sometimes with propping you have to live with the fact that a lot of stuff you brought might not make it into the shot with the models being the focus. I love working with Stephanie because she is so upbeat, energetic and spontaneous. I really like shooting any kind of lifestyle fashion piece, whether it’s props or wardrobe or both. I love Stephanie’s work for it’s exuberance, color and spirit—her work totally inspires me.

Chinet Ad/Props Only shot by Stephanie Rausser

POP: For the Chevy shoot, did you do any prop styling in addition to wardrobe?

Clearly, the star of the show is the vehicle. There was a crew of detailers, kind of like car “stylists” in charge of making sure the trucks looked their very best—everything else was secondary to that.

That shoot is actually one of the ones that I’m most excited about. Although the wardrobe (my responsibility) is shown very minimally in the shots, the photography is gorgeous. The photographer was a really nice guy, very focused and very talented—all really wonderful things on a shoot where we faced unpredictable weather (the first section was shot in snowy Tahoe) and all sorts of hurdles to get on the bridge.

I had to outfit the construction workers as well as find specialized accessories, such as harnesses specific to that type of job site, tool belts, etc.. I especially love that component of a job, where I am taken into a strange new world full of things and information that is completely fascinating. I had never had to think about how many different kinds of safety harnesses there are in the world—and the type you wear is as specific and important an identifier as any fashion accessory.

POP: What changes have you seen in the business recently?

In general there seems to be a bigger emphasis on web content—video has really taken off. I’m now working on many sets where there’s both still and video being shot for web.

A big POP thank you to Peggi. Great interview!

3 Responses to “Q&A with Stylist PEGGI JEUNG”

  1. 1 everywhere is home — part 3
  2. 2 Q&A with Advertising Photographer DANA NEIBERT « POP (Photographers on Photography)
  3. 3 Q&A with Advertising Photographer DANA NEIBERT | POP | Photographers on Photography

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