How ‘Late Bloomer’ Sacha Strebe Became MyDomaine’s Editorial Director
For anyone who happens upon well-curated lifestyle site MyDomaine, it's obvious that whoever is running the show has impeccable taste, besides the fact that editing such a comprehensive publication is no easy task. That woman would be Sacha Strebe, the website's editorial director, and while it won't surprise anyone that she's decidedly creative, cool, well-traveled, what may not be apparent is that Strebe's path to success was something of a struggle. The Aussie editor—who's now based in Los Angeles, where she lives with her husband and son, Neon—worked her way from the service desk at her local paper to where she is now. But what's most unique about Sacha's story is the fact that, despite her longtime love with writing, her career in journalism didn't take off until she was in her 30s.
Because her story is so inspiring, we recently chatted with Strebe to learn a little more about her career journey, as well as how she balances her work life with being a mom, and the hostess tip everyone should know.
You call yourself a late bloomer in terms of your career. Tell us about that.
I didn't really hit my stride until I was in my early to mid 30s. I was also late to the game as a journalist, by industry standards. After studying a bachelor of arts degree in languages and applied linguistics, I didn't know what I wanted to do. So at 21, I saved all the money I could and moved to London. After two years of traveling, I returned to Australia and realizing I had no real qualifications to get a job, went back to university and studied a post-graduate degree in journalism and mass communication. During that time I hustled for freelance work and kept applying at the local newspaper. I kept calling and emailing the editor-in-chief to request a meeting and after a few months, he finally gave in.
After that, it was only a month or so before I got a job on the service desk. I was literally getting coffees and writing small stories for their junior paper. Finally, a cadetship came up and I was offered the role. I was thrown into the scanner room and told to write a story about cats. I worked really late hours, was paid miserably, even yelled at by many of the senior staff and writers, but I stuck with it and within a few short years, I made my way up to the fashion features editor.
Have you always loved the print/publication world? If so, what's your earliest related memory?
I was reading books from a very young age. There's a photo of me where the hard cover Roald Dahl book, Matilda, I was reading was almost the size of my head. I always loved English at school and so becoming a writer was a very natural progression for me. In high school and at university, magazines were definitely an obsession. I always dreamed of working at a magazine (Vogue, of course, being the pinnacle) but it never worked out and now looking back, with the print industry in dire straits, it seems serendipitous that I didn't. I love working in the digital space. It's constantly changing which is challenging, and no day is ever the same, but that suits my Gemini personality perfectly.
Is there a story you've been most proud to publish?
Two actually, and they're both within the "Her Domaine" series. The story we did with actress and fellow Fashion Mama, Denise Vasi. Not only does she have a stylish home, but the foundation of love she has created there with her husband and daughter is beyond special. I think it's truly one of the best shoots we've ever published on MyDomaine, but I'm also biased!
I'm also really in love with the story we did with LA-based fashion designer, Anine Bing. This is one hard-working mama! She is truly a force of nature but also an incredibly dedicated mom to her two children. Her home is absolutely stunning too, just as you'd expect from the incredibly chic mom.
Let's talk motherhood: how do you balance such a demanding job with being a mom?
I don't do it alone. They say behind every great man is an even greater woman, but for me it's the opposite. I have an incredibly supportive husband who is also my biggest fan. Troy is constantly inspiring me to follow my creative pursuits and wants me to nurture my dreams. I am forever indebted to him for that, but I'm also convinced that having a fulfilling career has made me a better mother and leader.
We also share parenting equally. I do the mornings with Neon and drop him off at school, while Troy does the pickup — which also means he cooks dinner for the family on weeknights. We also work it out between us if Neon is sick and needs us to stay home with him. I have the amazing flexibility of working from home which is great when I need to take that time with Neon. We do a lot of small road trips, too, so we can get out of the city and away from responsibility and enjoy each other's company.
Your son's name is so unique! Does it have a story?
My husband studied mixed media art at college in Arizona and one of those mediums was neon light. He realized through making them that once the gases are fused, neon can last decades, it almost never goes out, and he loved that analogy when applied to our son. He is also the light of our lives and he has a bright personality, so it really suits him now. His middle name is Shadow, so it's a real yin and yang name.
Considering you work for MyDomaine, you must be something of a domestic goddess. What your number one hostess tip or trick?
Ha! I try to be, but it's a work in progress. I am currently so inspired by Athena Calderone's new book, Cook Beautiful, that I'm hoping to host a dinner party next month. I would say my number one tip is to make sure everyone feels welcome. That means making an effort to speak to all of your guests, even if it's just for a moment, so that they feel like they were invited for a reason. It's not easy, but it definitely makes the night more memorable and ensures your guests have a good time.
Music is also crucial. We have a record player and husband typically takes care of the vinyl selection for the night. But we don't plan the playlist too much. We like to offer our guests the chance to choose a record. That way they can feel a part of the evening too.
What's your best advice for aspiring writers/editors?
Don't stop writing. Even if you're not working in an editor role, you should always find a channel to express your medium and get your work out there. We're so lucky with digital now that you can easily set yourself up with a website and publish your own work. When I left the newspaper and was in limbo for a while, I started a Wordpress site called Stylexicon and would upload all of my published works here along with any new posts and interviews. For a while I was really interested in writing about models, so I would reach out to their agents and request interviews. You'd be surprised how many of them will say yes. You just have to get past your fear of rejection and go for it. The worst thing that could happen is they say no, and that isn't really all that bad, right?