Dani Rey is a creative producer and artist specialising in set design, who is also one of the core crew members of Toronto based studio Kastor & Pollux. An agency that covers all the latest in fashion, beauty, culture, tech as well as art and design, known furthermore for curating some of the most talented contributors locally and internationally.
Dani’s work features contemporary art forms, furniture, heavily contrasted objects as well as the dreamiest food & product based photography you could ever imagine, and if you wanna find out what it takes to be in the business of making food look this damn good, then make sure you get a piece of our chat with Dani below!
How did you find your strong point when it came to creativity?
Growing up obsessed with magazines really played a role in establishing my style. Whenever Teen Vogue would arrive in the mail I'd lock myself in my room and read the entire issue, cover to cover, admiring all the photography and styling. I quickly ripped through all the monthly fashion magazines I could afford on my movie theatre pay cheque, so out of boredom I would flip through my mom's copies of cooking and home decor magazines. Even though they weren't my aesthetic style, those magazines definitely taught me a thing or two about composition and still life photography. To this day food photography remains one of my biggest inspirations.
Prior to Kastor & Pollux, what were you doing in terms of creating and experimenting?
Prior to joining K&P full-time, I was working as the Channel Manager at #TheCreatorClass. That was my first "grown-up" job straight out of university, and I'm forever grateful to my fam there for taking a chance on me. On top of that I would shoot and style work on the side. First it started out as a hobby that I did for fun on evenings and weekends, but then brands started to notice and next thing you know they were sliding into my DM about paid projects.
How has your work progressed through Kastor & Pollux?
Kastor & Pollux was started by my insanely talented friend Dani Roche. Over the past few years I've been contributing to K&P on a freelance basis. Late this summer her agency took on a new project, for which Dani approached me to work on. The core agency team consist of myself and 3 of my close friends. I must have been a saint in my past life, because getting paid to make cool stuff with my friends feels too good to be true.
Do you have any current favourite sneakers at the moment?
My all white Fila Memory Workshift shoes are hands down my favourite. So much so that I haven't worn them much because I'm too scared to get them dirty. I'm not the kind of person who's able to keep white apparel clean for long (blame it on my affinity for spray paint). But alas, I never learn and at least 50% of my shoes are white.
Any creative or personal goals for the future?
Creative: to learn woodworking.
Personal: to visit Morocco.
Can you please tell us about your freelance work as a set stylist?
Most of my clients have been food or beverage related, which is super fun because then you get to eat the food after hehe. On a serious note though, keeping food edible is a key part of my process and how I work. How lucky are we that we live in a place where all kinds of foods are available at our finger tips. It seems silly to waste food when you can find alternative styling methods to keep prop food edible. Plus I score bonus roommate points when I bring home leftover prop cake or prop pizza.
What are your thoughts when it comes to the gradual growth of the women in this industry?
Au contraire! I think women in creative industries are growing quickly. The issue is more to do with visibility. Hence, why interviews like this are important. But yes I love it, all about it, and again I feel super hashtag blessed to be surrounded by a gang of uber talented female creatives on the daily.
Who are your main motivators or inspirations when it comes to creativity?
The team at K&P, Ema, Krizia, and Dani Roche as well as my circle of creative girlfriends who's drive never ceases to amaze me.
Also at the top of my inspo list: my younger sister Tay. She's currently producing a podcast called "Best Practice Pod", which talks to leading female creatives about the best practices for success.
How do you feel your Instagram following has benefited you?
Network first and foremost (the amount of friends and collaborators I've met through IG is insane) and visibility, second.
What advice would you give to a creative struggling to find their strong point?
Try everything! Take weekend courses, or night school, or volunteer to shadow a friend for a day. There are so many jobs out there you don't even know about, and so many that don't even exist yet but need creating. Maybe you'll be great at something you never though twice about. This is also a great way to network!
Secondly, don't be so hard on yourself! Even the people who seem like they have it all together, usually don't. Remember you don't have to do one job forever, hardly anybody ever does. All you can do is try something out. Don’t stress yourself out about planning for your "forever future". You just have to start somewhere; so dive in!