We had the good fortune of connecting with Abigail Stone and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Abigail, what role has risk played in your life or career?
There was a game when I was a kid that posed questions about the future. The one that stands out asked: given a choice, would you chose a steady, comfortable life or one that was filled with highs and lows? I chose the latter because it sounded…well…fun. I was 9 and “fun” was a defining factor of what I wanted my life to look like. Now, although I’m many times 9, not much has changed. I’m still looking to have fun and to be part of the conversation: to be excited by life, to learn things, to discover new places and to meet interesting people. I don’t think of myself as a risk taker but I can see how, looking at the way that my life has been architected, it may appear that way. Viewpoint is a funny thing, isn’t it? From my perspective, it was about being practical and doing what needed to be done. For example, when I moved to Los Angeles on two weeks notice, I wasn’t doing something brave. I went because that’s where the job was (and, okay, the week-long road trip across the country sounded like fun — and it was!). When I changed careers, moving from the film business to working as a freelance journalist, it wasn’t a long term plan; there was a simple goal of wanting to fix up my home. The website I discovered and read voraciously, Apartment Therapy, had an opening for a writer and I applied for the gig. There wasn’t a lot of thought about the future. The fact that it turned into something more than a way to pass the time while I was figuring out what I was actually going to do with the rest of my life, was a fluke. The driving force, yet again, had been “Wow, that sounds like fun.” And it has been. I love what I do and that freelancing opens up my life to say “yes” to so many — here comes that word again –.fun adventures. [The pictures I’ve shared here illustrate a bit of my life: I pull my laptop into bed around 6 and try to write until 11; on the set of a photo shoot for a story I did for The Hollywood Reporter; the “coming soon” landing page for my new venture, HOME-WERK; visiting the construction site of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, due to open this spring, with its architect, Renzo Piano]
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I feel very lucky to have found work that fits me. Some of the qualities that had felt like stumbling blocks throughout my life, including my love of falling down rabbit holes of research, made me ideally suited for life as a freelance journalist. I recently discovered a quote by Teddy Roosevelt that pretty much describes my m.o.: “Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell ’em, ‘Certainly I can!’ Then get busy and find out how to do it.” That’s what happened to me. I didn’t go to journalism school; I figured it out as I went along. But, learning on the go also meant I had no one to show me the ropes of how to navigate a self-employed life. My new venture, HOME-WERK, grew out of that frustration. It’s a project that’s been on the back burner for a while — long before the pandemic — but I’ve only had the time to start focusing on it recently. It’s an online gathering place — sort of like a cross between a virtual coffee shop and a magazine — aimed at entrepreneurs, freelancers, and remote workers of all kinds, who are location-independent. It’s filled with information tailored to their unique needs. Unlike moving from film producing to writing, this enterprise doesn’t feel like a full pivot. It feels like the natural outgrowth of my experience and the advice I wish had been available to me when I began this career.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
HIKING FOR THE VIEW: This time of year I’d take them to Los Liones in Malibu. It’s a long walk and you need a chill in the air so you don’t collapse from heat exhaustion before you get to “The Bench”. On a clear day you can see well past Catalina. If it was warm, we’d head to Kenneth J. Hahn State Park and The Martin Luther King Memorial (its highest point) as our destination. It offers a beautiful, nuanced and unique view of the city. DRIVING ALONG SUNSET: I love the way the road swoops and swerves as it heads towards the beach. Of course it’s best if the traffic is light and the car is a stick shift. If someone had never been to LA before, we might detour into BelAir. The swans outside of the hotel, the giant homes, the expensive cars — it’s at once beautiful and surreal. EL CHATO TACO TRUCK: How can you come to LA and not have tacos from a truck? I’ve been going to El Chato, on the corner of Olympic and LaBrea, forever. DTLA: Another gorgeous perspective on the city is the view of downtown from the top of THE ROW’s parking lot. The Arts District reminds me of what SoHo was like when I was a kid growing up in NY. MORE EATING: I will always think of strip mall dining as a very LA thing. And what could be more LA than sushi? It seems like it should be the worst experience and then it’s always amazing. Echigo in Santa Monica and Sushi Park in West Hollywood are two great examples. I guess it’s like LA in general — the surface impression turns people off but then, if you stick with it, it reveals something interesting.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
While there are many people I could thank, two people stand out, though they may not be aware of their impact on my career. Gregory Han, an incredible journalist in his own right, hired me to be part of Apartment Therapy’s LA team and schooled me in photography, photoshop and social media. Alexandria Abramian, is the former editor of ANGELENO, the first print magazine I ever wrote for. I didn’t know what a hed or a dek were or how close I needed to come to word count but I managed not to blow the assignment and we’ve continued to work together throughout the years.
portrait: Peggy Wong Studio others: Abigail Stone