National Women's Month Feature Article: Women Changing the Food Game

Meet Food Stylist, Lucy-Ruth Hathaway


Women Changing the Food Game:
Meet Food Stylist, Lucy-Ruth Hathaway

March 2020 marks the 30th year of National Women's Month. Though equality for women globally has a long way to go, it's evident that we're gaining momentum.  Like most industries, Food Media has always been male dominated. From editors in chief, to celebrity chefs, to top writers and photographers. BUT, I'm flipping the script and facilitating change the best way I know how, by honoring all of the bad-ass women in our community! 

This month, I have interviewed an array of women in the Food Industry from Writers, Photographers, Stylists and overall cool AF trailblazers. Each week we will feature a new creative and ask them about their work, how the industry has treated them (the good, the bad the ugly) and hopefully this conversation will inspire and open the minds of other men and women in the industry and in our community. This week, it is my honor to share with you all, Lucy Ruth, an amazing Food Stylist who's stunning work has been a constant inspiration for me. You can check out her portfolio HERE.
-- Sahara Bohoskey, Community Food Editor
Q:  Welcome, Lucy!  Tell us a little about yourself!

A: My name is Lucy-Ruth Hathaway, I am a food stylist who was born and raised in London. I am half British and half a mishmash of American/Argentinian/Syrian, all of which has contributed to my different perspectives on food. I have been in the food industry for almost ten years. The top three foods I am really into right now include: pretty much any curry, rice noodles (the bigger and chewier the better) and grape candy or jam!

Q: Some of our community members might not know or understand the role of a ‘food stylist’ how would you describe it?

A: Food styling is the art and skill of making and preparing food for the camera. I plan, source, cook and plate all food for photographic and moving image work. 
Styled by Lucy Ruth photography by Louise Hagger
Q:  How did you start out in the Food world? Is styling something you were always interested in?

A: I actually studied photography for five years. When I left University I started working on feature films in the Art Department. I was working on a period drama and a food stylist was hired to create an elaborate 1930s dinner party scene. I was instantly captivated.

Q: Photography much like most industries, are highly male dominated, do you think the culture is or will be more inclusive for women? Do you think being a woman in your field has helped or hindered your advancement?

A: When I started out it was definitely much more of a challenge for women to gain the same level of respect and advancement, particularly in certain parts of photography and the creative industries. Over the past five years I have seen things change a lot. A big reason for this is there are so many more female photographers working. I do feel things are moving in the right direction.
Styled by Lucy Ruth photography by Sun Lee Studio
Q: What advice would you give to women looking to start a career in photography and styling in the Food industry?

A: Be brave and get used to not just emailing people. Go into places in person or call people. It’s much harder for people to say no. If you don’t hear back from people, don’t be afraid to remind busy people of how keen you are. There is nothing wrong with (polite!) persistence. 

Q: Your New Book,The Food Styling Encyclopaedia, is open for preorders! What motivated you to create this book? Can you tell us a little more about what your book is about? 

A: I wanted to do something that was an exploration of the way I am thinking about food imagery while I work, that could also be a playful guide showing some of tools and techniques that are used in food styling.  Rather than being an instruction manual for food styling, it highlights food styling and food photography vocabulary in a visual way. The book has actually now sold out of available copies for this print run! 
Styled by Lucy Ruth photography by Jenna Gang
Q: Though women take up the majority in Food media positions, I feel like we're not holding the top positions to really make the influencing decisions. How do you think we can empower women to change that narrative and have an equal voice as our male counterparts? 

A: We need women to feel they are being listened to when they share their experiences of working in the industry. In general, I think the thing we need most is for better representation of all types of people in both the food and creative industries. 

Q:  Do you have any writers, artists, bloggers, organizations etc. that you feel are doing some exciting work right now?

A: Anissa Helou, who I love for all her food work, has my favorite instagram of all time! 
Big thanks to Lucy for sharing your story with us. Tune in every Tuesday all through the month of March for a weekly feature of amazing creative women!
Check out Lucy's Portfolio HERE