Australian stylist, model and writer Mel Brady for the cover of The Selfied magazine

A creative stylist, model and writer from Melbourne Australia @missbrady

What was the situation in which this photo was taken

I was at home, taking advantage of the great hair n makeup I had after a modelling gig…contemplating sliding doors and how life sometimes leads us to surprising destinations.

 Could you tell us something about what you do

I’ve been a creative stylist for over 30 years…started out in fashion and now mostly style product, packaging and interiors. A few years ago at 51 my silver hair led me into modelling, the modelling has led to writing about embracing age.

 How did you first become interested in styling

Ha hmmm styling wasn’t invented when I first started back in the early 80s! I was trying to model (hopeless, didn’t have the confidence). A photographer friend Rodney Stewart had just returned from a trip to Europe talking about stylists, so I started working along side him learning about production and lighting. As a model in the day we used to accessorise and style ourselves, so it wasn’t much of a stretch for me to fall into the role.

 What do you enjoy most about what you do

Im a team player! So, for me it’s the ability to be able to constantly rub wings next to other creatives…every day or week is different. I style from micro to macro, so I could be hunched over a still life set styling jewellery for Mimco one week, or dressing an entire exterior of a house with christmas lights for Bunnings the next. Some days I work with talent, other days its all about product. So, I suppose the diversity is totally up my alley and its always challenging keeping to tight advertising deadlines.

 What are you working on at the moment

Styling wise I’m knee deep in preproduction for a massive furniture shoot, designing the sets, choosing colour palettes and accessories to bring the set to life. I love to create sets that are totally believable as homes. Modelling wise its pretty quiet for me I have so many deal breakers I don’t accept a lot of the gigs I’m offered. I want to maintain a youthful cool image that show my peers and beyond that being over 50 doesn’t mean you’re over the hill. Writing wise I’m working on a few stories for LVBX Mag, one about cultural beauty, the other, sharing insiders styling tips…I’m also writing a few more stories about Embracing Age that I will look to submit to other publications. Finally, my charity side project is to shoot cats for a Rescue Shelter, Petshaven, here in Victoria for their adoption website 😉 my images show people their personalities…pretty rewarding stuff as adoptions have lifted since I started.

 What are the challenges in what you do, and how do you overcome them

I think advertising wise, some people just want more and more for less and less…so sometimes when I’m sitting down listening to a brief internally I’m thinking ‘jesus!! how am I going to achieve that’? Once upon a time I might not have really known all the right questions to ask to get to the bottom of the brief, to have a true understanding of whats required to fulfil it, but at the end of the day having been around for decades I’ve a wealth of experience which gives me the self confidence to push back and counter with what I think can actually be achieved successfully, within the timeframe and budget. I’ve also got the guts to be able to say no to things sometimes, if I feel I just can’t achieve what a client wants, given all the parameters.

 Could you describe your personal style

hmmm thats tough!! sometimes I look at people I admire who have such a steadfast style…I’m afraid thats not me! Change is my jam…somedays I want to be a cowboy, the next and indian! So I really dress for an occasion even at times for a person…my go to, is probably more relaxed! I totally dig doubling denim. However I dress, I always make sure I look ageless, I often pare it back a little before I walk out the door because in the back of my mind I want to look put together without looking like I tried.

 What is your present state of mind

I’m excited! I’m especially happy to be your cover no 54! Because at 54 I really feel like my life is wide open with opportunities I would never have imagined possible in my 20s 30s or 40s. I reached a point turning 50 where I stopped worrying about others opinions! I’m liberated! it’s an incredible feeling to think If I can dream it, I can achieve it. And at this age I have a pretty deep understanding of how short life is so Im going to make the most of the rest of mine.

 What music are you listening to at the moment

I’m pretty much old school…80s hip hop, old soul and R & B..Spotify is usually blaring some vintage playlists.

Which artists or designers inspire you

Goodness, so many!! I tend to post a lot of old and new art on my IG I’m following @elizavetaporodina_official photographer and her partner lighting genius @josef_beyer @isamayaffrench utterly inspiring makeup @OliSansom who shoots mostly film, travels the world shooting weddings, mentoring and talking about his artform @Boe_Sapun a good friend inspires me daily with her dreamy watery art @arvidabystrom her aesthetic is so pure and beautiful…adore it! @lani_mitchell an Aussie artist who might fool you with her young exterior!! That girl has the oldest soul 😉 love her and her art. I’m also partial to posting some pretty simple quotes from Diana Vreeland and Chanel.

What is the purpose of art, in your view

I’ve always held the very firm belief that ‘art’ should move me…doesn’t matter to me if it moves me to be angry or frustrated, as much as something might move me to laugh or cry. Art should make me feel, it should make me run through a gamut of emotion…it should make me wonder and sigh and stop for a moment to dwell on that thing that lies beneath. Bad art to me is something that makes me feel nothing.

How do you spend your free time

That made me laugh out loud! As a freelancer I think I’m always busy. To me life isn’t always about making money…I work so I can live a creative life. I might be mentoring aspiring creatives, shooting cats…or selfies 😉 writing or catching up with friends. Otherwise my alone time is important to me to dream about what comes next.

Bird with flower