For all you travel-loving, Food Network obsessed birds out there, today’s profile is totally up your alley! Meet Krista Simmons, Travel & Leisure Global Corespondent, Columnist for Departures Magazine, & New York Magazine contributor – and don’t worry, that’s just her day job. When she isn’t traveling the world scoping out the best spots to eat, drink, & be merry, she is judging on Knife Fight, Top Chef Masters, and Hell’s Kitchen. Yep, get out your pens boys & girls, because her interview is not one to be missed! xoxo, LK
CURRENTLY BASED IN
Los Angeles, CA
YOU HAVE SUCH A GREAT JOB, TELL US ABOUT IT!
I’m a multimedia culinary travel writer and on-camera personality, which means I spend most of my time scoping out food trends and culture from around the globe, then sharing them with the world through my words, images, videos, and broadcast media. It sounds like the dream job, and to me, it absolutely is. I came to my current position organically, creating my career and carving out a niche as I developed and honed my skills and voice.
Like any self-made career, it took some time before I felt stable as a freelancer. (The hustle is very real!) I think my backbone in the food industry combined with working in a traditional newsroom has given me the chops to figure out how to build things to where they are now. Though I do still love seeing my words in print, I’m really drawn to digital media and the way stories can be told in such unique, visceral ways. I’m obsessed with accessing my audience through my social feeds — my two faves are Snapchat and Insta — and I really feel most at home when I can showcase my enthusiasm and other people’s stories on camera.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
I’m totally inspired by people who have mastered the art of innovative digital storytelling. So often I see news agencies and brands jumping on the bandwagon and not making the effort to put resources into creating dedicated teams for storytelling on various social platforms. I am obsessed with how Vox Media creates engaging, meaningful, rich content for Snapchat. It’s the perfect example of how you can be smart on that platform while remaining connected to the younger audience. It makes me wish I had a whole social/digital team behind me so that I could craft my own digital publication. Some day!
WHAT DOES BEING CREATIVE FOR YOU LOOK LIKE?
Being creative is about seeing the beauty in the world around you, and remembering to recognize and appreciate the abilities and gifts others have without being envious. It’s also about working hard, really There’s often this idea that being creative means you’re this crunchy hippie that just floats around creating. The most successful creatives I know also happen to have incredible business acumen, and that’s no coincidence. People sometimes think my job is to be a jet set leisure lover, and let me tell you, I never turn off. I am constantly cobbling together ideas as to how to capitalize on my creativity. Finally, it means never giving up. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve been told “no,” but I’ve kept pushing. Progress isn’t made in one giant leap, it’s done in several successive small steps.
WHERE DO YOU FIND YOUR DAILY INSPIRATION?
I try to surround myself with positive people who are equally driven. You’re only as good as the team you surround yourself with, so rather than focussing on superficial stuff, build your #squad to be a bunch of motivated badasses rather than just a slew of pretty faces.
HOW DID YOU KNOW YOU WANTED TO BE A TRAVEL WRITER?
Since I was a little girl, I was obsessed with PBS food television — Julia Child, Martin Yan, Huell Howser, and this amazing show called “Great Chefs, Great Cities.” I traded that for cartoons every single day. I guess it was meant to be. Since I could work I’ve always been somehow involved in food, whether it be working front-of-house, harvesting produce on organic farms, or working at a winery in college. I’ve also always been into creative writing, so when the opportunity came to marry the two, I just felt compelled to make it my life’s work.
HOW DO YOU GET UN-STUCK WHEN YOU ARE IN A CREATIVE RUT?
When I’m in a rut, I know it’s time to get on the road, not on assignment, but for pleasure. I travel so much for work, and it’s a very different experience than a vacation. Even though what you may see on social media is fun fun fun, it’s exhausting collecting all that content — the video, the interviews, the air travel, the editing, all of it. Every once in a while I just need to pack up and experience something without expectations, and that generally gets me back in gear.
WHAT ADIVCE DO YOU HAVE FOR AN ASPIRING CREATIVE?
Just do you. Be true to yourself and what you love. Work hard. And definitely take some interest in learning how to market yourself and your work. The rest will follow.
WHERE CAN WE FIND MORE OF YOUR WORK?
You can find me on Instagram, Snapchat at Krista_Simmons, kristasimmons.com, and as a Global Corespondent for Travel + Leisure online. Thanks for following, and happy creating!
photography by Wasim Muklashy