The ever so gorgeous Sandra Arena reminds us that life is too short to settle for unhappiness. She opens up about career changes, lifes ups and downs, and how fulfilling her creative spirit has freed her. As founder and stylist of ‘Styling by Sandra’, she spends her days styling products, food, interiors for print media and on-line platforms.
Have you ever changed your profession or career? Tell us about the change and how it transformed your life?
Several times actually! From office administration/PA role in the weight loss industry, marketing, property management, stockbroking/finance industry, events, cake making and now finally in the styling realm. In my last role for a broking firm, I was working long ridiculous hours and tight deadlines. I would often say to myself, how the hell did I get here? Why am I here? What am I doing? I don’t love what I do. I was really miserable!
I have always been creative – drawing, painting, sewing, cooking, designing, ceramics, decorating, photography – everything. Creativity is my love and passion, it’s in my blood! It was during a particularly difficult, sad time of my life that I finally decided to walk away from my career. My beautiful Dad was dying and I wanted to spend the last precious moments I had left with him. It’s times like this you begin to realise that life is too short to be unhappy, it was time to follow my bliss. My biggest regret? Why didn’t I do this sooner! I have never looked back. However, I’m in the infancy of my new career, it isn’t easy starting with no prior experience, it’s a slow uphill climb. But I’m excited for what the future holds. I am now fulfilling my creative spirit and it’s so freeing, it’s wonderful!
In moments of self-doubt, how do you pick yourself up?
Honestly, I’m plagued with self doubt quite often. My greatest flaw is that I am my toughest critic! Plus I’m a typical Scorpio, perfectionist to a fault. It’s a help and a hindrance. I have to consistently say to myself – STOP! Going back to your old, safe career/life is not an option. I put one foot in front of the other, and I keep moving forward, learning, making contacts with people in the industry, going to seminars/workshops, networking, joining business community groups, talking to friends and loved ones. Ultimately I love what I do, and that’s what keeps me going!
Do you have a creative project/hobby? What is it?
Yes!! I’m collaborating with my gorgeous Mum who is a very clever lady. She loves to sketch & ‘doddle’ designs when she’s chatting on the phone. She has an amazing selection of beautiful drawings. Mum still has her art book from her school days and I’m constantly in awe of her beautiful designs. I have been harping on for years that we need to do something with these doodles, so now finally, we are toying with ideas and hope to incorporate this into the “Styling By Sandra” brand. In what form it will take is yet to be decided – watch this space!
What is your favourite book or podcast?
I’m loving the book “Accidental Icon” by Iris Apfel. I purchased this after watching her doco on Nextflix. This book is an eclectic colour explosion of witty anecdotes, musings and advice from a geriatric starlet! This book makes me so happy. I just adore and admire her. She is so wonderfully colourful and eccentric. She has paved a career as an interior designer, fashion icon and business woman! In the words of the lady herself “Creativity is a great emotional release it keeps you happy and healthy”.
What is one creative gem or piece of advice you can share with our sistas?
I’m jumping on my soap box now shouting to you all the infamous words from the philosopher Confucius ‘Choose a job you love and you will never work a day in your life”. I can’t stress this enough. Whatever it is you excel in, are passionate about, maybe it’s your sideline hobby/hustle/interest whatever makes your heart sing – follow this path. Life is too short! Take a gamble and go for it. I learnt the long, hard way, but I got it – eventually.
Styling by Sandra – Styling products, food, interiors for print media and on-line platforms.
Facebook – eventstylingbysandra
Instagram – @styling_by_sandra