What does a day in your work life look like?
On any given day, I’m either driving somewhere on the road, flying into or out of an airport or already in motion on a shoot outside. I work in the outdoors and the majority of my shoots are in the mountains. If I'm not outside, I’m likely tucked in a corner of a coffee shop or on a friend’s couch doing pre/post production behind a screen.
Kylie takes on Boise, ID in the Maven slim pant.
What made you start doing the amazing things that you do?
I picked up my first big camera living in China at 20 years old. It was an opportunity to capture life happening in a new and diverse place and I fell immediately in love. I always loved taking photos as a kid, but once I began to travel the world, I fell in love with storytelling. I thank a dear friend for introducing me to film work and my time volunteering for nonprofits at the beginning of my career. After my grandfather died, I learned he was quite a photographer too. Although I didn't know it at the time, I like to think that it runs in the family.
Did you complete any training? If not, how did you learn your trade/skill?
I learned primarily by trial and error and lots of shooting in the field. Whenever I become interested in something, I get a sort of tunnel vision that develops into an obsession. I read, watch, ask and learn everything I can about it and put myself in places where I can gain the experience I think necessary to become good at something. I had a few mentors along the way, but nothing more than a few hours of time asking questions. I feel really lucky that I had the opportunity to get some gear and hit the road to see what I was capable of.
What do you want people to know about being a woman in your field?
Being a woman in the male-dominated outdoor industry is hard. It’s as important to be competent and keep up with athletes as it is to remain creative and innovative. There's a series of invisible hoops I constantly jump through to make myself known and respected.
The Grand Tetons mountains, captured by Kylie Fly
What's the biggest challenge you have faced in your work?
Being underestimated as both an athlete and a creative. That hurdle is more difficult to deal with because it’s out of my control. I focus my time and energy on what I can control–my fitness and strength, my skills and experience and networking with other industry folks.
What are you doing when you’re not working hard?
If I'm not working hard on a shoot, I'm working hard on having fun. I’ve always been proud to be able to turn it off and go rip in the mountains with no camera and no care in the world. It's really important for me to re-center and find the balance in my life to have time for myself that is just for me. I also enjoy spending quality time with my family and friends.
How do you encourage other women to start doing what you do?
Get out and shoot and don't let fear of _____________ prevent you from anything. It doesn't matter what other people think, what gear you have, where you live, or how many people you know. If you go after your dream and do what makes YOU happy in a healthy and meaningful way–that's what matters.
Who’s a role model who helped you in your journey to where you are?
I have many friends and folks to thank who came along my way on the journey I have taken in my life and career. I’m grateful to my father. Although he may not have been sure how he felt about what I do with my life when I began, he has always been my number one fan. He always takes the time to ask about my travel schedule. He tracks my GPS on mountains and big climbs and sends me weather reports to make sure I'm safe. He shares my successes and my photos with friends and family. He has my back.
If you could give your 20-year-old-self advice, what would it be?
You are way more capable than you can ever imagine. You can do hard things. You can do amazing big things. Pursue what strikes you with passion and see where it takes you.
Do you have any special projects or cool things you want people to check out?
I will be releasing a story I did in New Zealand with Mountain Hardwear in 2020. Follow me on Instagram to see when it's out!
All photos courtesy Kylie Fly.
Gear seen above:
Dovetail Workwear Disclaimer: We are not the boss of our Women At Work! They say it their way and wear it their way.