An Interview with Brooke Mason; A Pioneer for Women in the Creative Industry
Australian-born Brooke Mason is so much more than just a photographer. Unafraid and not intimidated by change and breaking the rules, she is everything the creative industry aspires to be. Brooke prides herself on running a creative agency with a single mission: to help women succeed. Already this year, Brooke Mason Creative became a Certified Woman Owned Business.
Since being in Los Angeles, Brooke has immersed herself in the entertainment world and has photographer known artists and actors for magazines like Glamor, InStyle, and Angeleno.
We sit down with Brooke to find out a little more about how she got to where she is today, what inspires her, and what she wants to do in the future.
What inspired you to become a photographer?
I was inspired by wanting to capture my environment, the way I saw things as an artist. I started at a very young age, so at the time, it wasn’t deep thoughts of a career. In fact, my parents are professional business people and being an artist was not a career path that they supported. It was just a passion that I never gave up on and the point I was making money and didn’t need to do other things, I realised, “Hey, this is my career!”.
How did you transition from being a photographer to owning a creative agency?
As a photographer I wasn’t just capturing images. I was hired to art direct, manage projects, castings and aligning with brands. It was 15 years of background that lead to this, however I did study communication at University.
My most memorable work experience was with one of the largest advertising agencies in Sydney, Australia. I was in awe of the complexities of how it ran. I naturally hung out with the creative department more than any other, however my 15 years years of directing on set as a photographer has given me the confidence to work as a team, art direct and have a project come to life. That’s the most exciting part of my job, seeing a seed of an idea come to fruition.
What does it take to be an entrepreneur?
Dedication! A lot of this is probably a natural inclination and I find people asking me if I’m scared about not having a regular paycheck or knowing how much is going to come in. Yes, it can be daunting, however, you have to be a risk taker and most entrepreneurs thrive on that. I like the pressure it brings, I thrive on the deadline and after some time you learn to overcome your own self doubts, fears and strive for your best. There is nothing else like it. I will say, I do work much longer hours and days than most of my friends who aren’t, but the reward for me is much higher.
What are the biggest challenges you have faced on your journey so far?
There are two main challenges that I faced in the past and continue to face from time to time.
One – not knowing when the phone will ring. You can be sailing high on a bunch of jobs
and then all of a sudden it’s quiet. It’s really hard not to have a freak-out.
Two – being a younger female is a male driven business world. As much as I’d like to say this doesn’t exist anymore and as fortunate as I am to live in such an open minded town, this is still very relevant and we as women are still not seen as; intelligent, capable and successful to our male peers.
What is your ultimate goal?
I believe in striving and moving forward with continual growth. I don’t have an ultimate goal,
but I am looking forward to growing my team and bringing in bigger projects for 2019. I already feel blessed with so much we have done this past year.
What motivates you in business?
I’m motivated by creating beautiful masterpieces, even if that’s just a stunning website, it’s awesome!
What are you most passionate about?
When it comes to life; Art, aesthetics and beauty. When it’s my work; I love to see people happy, pleasing our clients is my number one driving factor.
Do you have a secret to your success?
Focusing on being the best at what you do and being honest with yourself – if it’s not your
forte, being okay with finding someone else for that task. There is no ego in my business, we all collaborate and if there’s a better idea we run with that. “Ego’s” gets in peoples way, it stiffens your creativity, your success and your opportunities.
What are your proudest achievements?
It’s always one you haven’t had yet!
What differentiates you from your business peers?
Everyone has their unique talents and I adore some of the other creative agencies who do similar work to us. I guess the main difference I see is my background is heavily in art directing and visual curation so we are heavily focused on branding and the end result. We are small, so clients get to talk with all of us and we are all very engaged in every project that happens.
Do you have a motto that you stand by?
Being authentic. I make an effort to keep strong ethics, stay honest and be as real as I can.
What are the most important qualities that have been most beneficial on your journey?
Working hard is by far the most important thing when you have your own business. Sometimes you have to say no to fabulous social events, but keeping clients happy and delivering work on time is crucial.
What is the best advice you could give to someone starting out as an entrepreneur?
It’s important to have big goals and dreams so I wouldn’t want to ever squash those for somebody starting out. Be prepared to put in the work, turn down party offers from friends, stay up late into the evening fulfilling your dreams and up early to conquer the day.
What are the biggest challenges that you have faced as a female in the business world?
Not being taken seriously. I find the main challenge as a woman in this male-centric world is
that men think we may not be as capable or as intelligent. It’s a fine balance to prove yourself without doing it in a way that is forceful and contrived. It’s important to not give up and let prejudices get in your way.
Who do you most admire and why?
I’m inspired by strong powerful women! It wasn’t until leaving Australia and crossing over
into the workforce that I really saw a difference in culture. Though I adore the US and everything it has to offer when it comes to women in the workforce, Australia definitely has superior viewpoints on women. When I see these amazing women here breaking glass ceilings and succeeding, I am in true admiration.
How many employees do you have?
My team ranges depending on the projects we are doing and how many hands we need. But, on a regular basis, we are a small group of eight. On larger projects, we sometimes have upwards of 15 people.
If you had to choose another job, what would it be and why?
I have always been impressed with Doctors and how much knowledge they have. If I was to do school again, knowing what I know now, I might consider going to medical school and doing dermatology or some sort of surgery.
How do you spend your spare time?
I adore going hiking, being in nature, fishing and exploring new terrain. I’m also always up for trying anything new. I like a good movie as much as an adventure.
Do you have a favorite movie?
I adore movies from the 90’s! A few of my old time favorites are The Professional, Casino, Practical Magic and Federico Fellini’s films for the visuals.
Tell us a little about yourself?
These days, I’m a combination of an Aussie at heart and an American day to day. I’m proud to have grown up with my roots firmly planted in Australia, you can’t have an inflated ego living there and it keeps me grounded. My family also helps with that!
When I first lived in NYC, I was in awe of what an incredible country this is, a driven country with goals of exceeding your expectations. I’m proud to be both American and Australian now.
How would you describe your style?
I adore fashion and I like to stay up to date with trends, but only if they align with my taste. I’d say I’m a combination of 70’s glam, with a hint of menswear, I’m all about duality, I love femininity mixed with the strength of a tailored jacket. I’m certainly not afraid to choose bold colors, unusual shapes and design.
Keep up with Brooke’s beautiful photographs and busy life on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/brookemasonphoto/?hl=en).