The moment we sat down with Natalie Joos in her sunny Williamsburg apartment-slash-office one afternoon last week—her computer propped open on the kitchen table with a pile of notes next to it, a bulletin board scattered with pinned images and ideas leaning up against the counter, and the Vênsette make-up artist packing up her kit in the corner—her date for the evening texted. He was stuck at a meeting and was worried he would have to cancel. Could they reschedule? A situation that would have vexed many a girl, Joos simply shrugged. “I was going to take him to this Stella Artois dinner for Belgian people, but oh well.” said the ex-pat, who had slipped into a breath-taking white Osklen top and sheer Natalie Constantinidou skirt for the night. Sounds like a work event, though, no? “For a lot of these work things that I do, I will bring a date,” she says, expounding on what seems more like a life theory than a dating strategy. “I try to integrate. Multi-task. It’s hard to keep personal life and work life separate because every night in New York there is something going on.”
The oft-photographed Joos has been a social fixture in New York’s fashion community for over a decade. She was a fashion show casting director for years before launching her own blog, Tales of Endearment, in 2010. Since then, she has taken to self-employment well, making her own hours and traveling the globe. “Being self-employed has showed me that I’m a hedonist. I hate to work!” she says. “I’m kidding, of course. Sort of. But it’s nice to wake up and have time for myself every morning.”
“I always tell people, if you want it to feel like a 9-5 job, then you should keep your 9-5 job.”
So what does that look like in a world where arriving at the office on time isn’t a necessity? “I always maintain my morning routine,” she explains. “I wake up, drink a probiotic, go for a run or ride my bike, and get coffee at the same place. If I have a [styling or consulting] job, I’ll still do the things I always do in the morning.” Working on her own schedule can mean emailing at midnight, or writing posts in the morning and then going back to bed for a nap. “If you want it to feel like a 9-to-5 job, then stay with your 9-to-5 job,” she advises.
So, while being self-employed definitely has benefits, she admits it can also be a mixed bag. “If you’re a freelancer, you constantly need to hustle, especially in fashion,” she says. “When people ask me how to become freelance, I tell them, ‘go to everything,’ because you never know who you are going to meet or what kind of idea you are going to have. I get my best ideas when I am out meeting people.” And when stepping out is a professional activity, you really have to look the part. Joos nearly always opts for a fresh, natural extension of her daytime look—a sleek blow-out, and a very clean, not too-made-up face (“It’s important not to look too silvery,” says says of her preference for matte over dewy foundations). Another thing she keeps on hand for day or night is a lipstick (or two). “You never know when you’ll need it on the go,” she explains. Indeed, her bathroom is stacked high with bins of beauty products and, in a genius, exactly-what-a-multi-tasker-would-do move, she’s uses the built-in shelves and towel racks to store her vibrant collection of accessories.
Aside from how to make an unpredictable schedule work (and look good while doing it) another challenge Joos has encountered lately is how to continue to grow her business. “It’s difficult to execute my million ideas because I don’t have the manpower. I’m just me. There are people who are much, much better at it and are the essence of blogging—Bryan Boy, Leandra [of Man Repeller]—and they are so good. I was a casting agent who just happened to start this website about people who love vintage.” She then pauses for a beat. “I’m really having an existential crisis!” she continues with a wry grin that reveals she is experiencing nothing of the sort.
By Todd Plummer
Photographed by Jeremy Allen