When interviewing people on the phone, naturally we miss that face time where we can really suss someone out. After a chat with prop stylist Juliet Jernigan I had to know more. Working with photographers such as Carter Smith, Alexei Hay and Liz Collins for clients such as Harper’s Bazaar, W and German Vogue, I could tell she was a force to be reckoned with. While chatting she nonchalantly mentioned Bieber cut outs and giant pink elephants so I had to investigate. After a look on Twitter (@jujujerni) it was confirmed, she’s crazy in the best possible way, and there is even a picture of the Bieber cut out. Read on as we chat about her time at Elle, her garage of insanity and her secret tape source.
How is LA treating you?
Well I just moved here this year and it’s certainly different from New York.
What took you to LA?
Out of college I got a job at Elle magazine. There I was entrenched in so many aspects of the magazine world and loved it. I had my hands in everything and then I thought- what now? At a different magazine I don’t think I would get to do so many amazing things. I was working with photographers and coming up with shoot ideas and they would pick one. Then when I got the film back I thought, I want to do this. Why am I sitting behind this desk?
I don’t blame you. What happened when you got to L.A.?
Three days after being here I got Mark Ronson’s album cover and its been great since then. But it is interesting how most of my clients still come from New York.
Why do you think that is so?
Because it’s what I know, I'm not knocking LA, but it's built around Hollywood and celebrity. Those things can be super fun, but its not really what gets me going. I've worked with people in LA that don't know who Juergen Teller is. It's just a different beast, and New Yorkers love to visit LA, so I'm happy to have them!
How was it working with Joe Zee at Elle?
He is just incredible. He is the reason I am doing this. We landed at ELLE around the same time and it was a tough start with the redesign, I won't lie. He knows everyone and everything, you can't pull anything over on him. I was thrown to the wolves, but I made it out alive. We joke about it to this day...I had some major screw ups, but I learned! He's been very generous and supportive. He's a legend in this industry, but he's just a great guy, and a phenomenal dancer. People don't know, but there is a hula hoop move that kills me!
From what I have heard you have a pretty eccentric look. Is that reflected in your styling?
You know, I look at my friends wearing Celine and The Row and all of that, and I am so jealous, they look so put together and chic. It's just that when I go to Barney's that’s not the kind of thing I leave with. I like prints, and sparkles, and capes and colors...lots of colors. I hot roller my hair and wear pink lipstick everyday. It's the way I was raised ...properly getting dressed is just a sign of respect. It’s not effortless by any means, but it’s playful for sure, and funny enough I don't think it's reflected in my styling. The way I dress says something about me, but I'm not sure it has anything to do with my work.
How did you decide on prop styling?
It just goes back to the magazine. Things happen when you continuously work with the same people. I find that interesting, that collaboration. When you get to that point with a team, or a photographer its all about bringing your ideas to life. It's pretty cool to discuss shooting Amanda Seyfried with 50 white ducks on the floor, and then be doing that three days later. Turns out the ducks were not cooperative AT ALL, but there was a two week old lamb named Louisa that totally stepped up to the plate. I'm not an artist, I'm not looking to get inspired, at best I have a creative bone in my body, and when I realized I could do this for a living I went for it.
What do you do with all of these props?
At first it was really sexy to get all of these things. A new bedspread! But then you end up with all of this stuff that nobody asks for again. I now have a garage that I can’t park in. but I refuse to get a warehouse. And there are more prop houses out here in LA than there are in New York, so I can rent 10 things and return them. But I certainly have some crazy things at my house such as a 6-foot-tall Justin Beiber cutout.
I am sure he is fun at parties! What are you working on next?
A story for Elle! And more fun stuff in general. I am excited for a new season of clothes and to see what people fall all over themselves about next.
What are some of your most important tools you use on shoots?
My power drill, and good tape are the only things I always need. I have a secret tape source- there’s a photographer that's always asking me where I get it because the colors are so fun. Actually, Joe gave me a pink Comme Des Garcon "toolbelt" for Christmas, so now I want tools with me at all times. I think it’s actually a fashion fanny pack.
What was your 'aha' moment when you really felt like you made it?
This might sound strange, but I haven't had that yet, nor am I chasing it. I'm not sure I'm ever inspired, but I'm always motivated. Of course, I can name a thousand times that I've had to pinch myself....when Paul Ritter asked my opinion on my first cover shoot, shooting at the pyramids in Cairo, every time I've ever worked with Horst Diekgerdes, speaking on the phone with Stephen Shore, Carter Smith asking me to go to Mexico for a shoot. I could go on for days, but the point is I still get a rush every time I get a job option. I'm very grateful to make a living doing what I love, but it’s all still very exciting to me. Also, my idea of success is not typical.
Who constantly inspires you?
Stylists! I'm a girls' girl and I buy those clothes, so no matter what I've always got a wondering eye to the racks. I admire Arianne Phillips and her career to no end. Her work is so prolific, and she's lovely and gracious to boot! Camille Bidault Waddington has incredible taste, and she operates on a completely different level. Jane How, Venetia Scott, Panos Yiapanis.....at the end of the day, I work in fashion....and I'm kind of a groupie.
Who is your dream client or dream job?
Barney's, Prada, Mulberry, more W.... Another Magazine and Craig McDean, I always said Craig McDean is the reason I work in fashion. Alex Prager is incredible as is Willy Vanderperre. Their images are so thoughtful, unfortunately that’s pretty rare. It's funny, I've never thought about this before. There are so many different things that can make a job dreamy.
Do you have a New Year’s resolution?
I don’t. I just moved across the country and got a new job isn’t that enough? (laughs) Oh I do smoke occasionally and want to quit. Not much, just at night, promise! But still, what’s the point?
Juliet is repped by CLM.