Evie Johnstone, surfer, stylist, chef and traveller, is no Instagram-filtered cliche success, she is the real deal, brimming with vivacity, true grit and a fire in her belly like few others. Her positive energy is undeniably infectious, she sees potential everywhere and truly lives by the notion that almost anything is possible if you throw time, passion and sheer determination at it.
She is most likely to be found driving around the South from one interior styling project to another, car full of antique reclamation treasures for the next shoot and the just-in-case wetsuit, flecks of paint in her sun-kissed beach hair from decorating her studio, piercing blue eyes bright with ideas and a cheeky grin fuelled from her wicked sense of humour and joie de vivre. She has lived more in her 28 years than most will in a lifetime. If you don't already know her (it appears most of Cornwall do), please let us introduce to you the glorious Ms. Johnstone....
Tell us a little about you. Where do you live and what do you do?
I live in Newquay, Cornwall. I work as chef in a pan Asian/Thai restaurant five nights a week. During the day time I am pursuing my career in interior design and working as a stylist.
What’s your background?
I've always loved to travel, and I've been in love with surfing since I can remember. When I finished my A-levels I jumped on a plane to Costa Rica, with not much of a plan other than surfing and no real idea of where I was heading when I got there. From San Jose I took a small internal flight recommended by someone at the airport to a place called Santa Teresa. Three years later I was still there, living the dream, surfing every day and working as a waitress. I stayed in Costa Rica for seven years in total, surfing professionally for six of them. In my fourth year I started a girls surf tour company which grew into whole surf camp running several different retreats year round. We had a lot of fun, and I'm ever-grateful to have spent some time with a handful of amazing and influential people over there who taught me more than you can imagine about all walks of life.
My time in Costa Rica came to an end in 2014. I flew over to Spain for a family occasion and before I knew it I had signed a contract to open up a bar for three years. I fell in love with this garden terrace; El Jardin it became. Little did I know at the time the sheer size of the project I had undertaken. We threw huge parties, concerts, weddings; held BBQs, cocktail parties and served tapas; every night became a different event. It was wild in every way and I loved it. It was unsustainable though, for me anyway. Being the life of the party every night isn't good for body or the soul. After two years I came back to England, and that's when I arrived in Newquay, a surf fuelled beach town. I bought a gorgeous two bed apartment overlooking the golf course and the main surf beach and worked making pizzas on Fistral.
How did you get into styling? What do you most enjoy about it?
I honestly didn't know that styling was a thing. It kind of just happened over the last two years. I've worked with several companies styling interiors for photoshoots, and have a few brands that I work for creating visual content for their products, and I also work for Surf Girl magazine styling their editorial fashion shoots. It just kind of happened organically. I've always been creative, at school I gravitated towards photography, art and languages. So I guess I enjoy it because it's an outlet for me to be creative and to have fun. I love making things look pretty.
How do you spend your free time? Do you get to travel much?
I definitely spend all my free time surfing, and I travel as much as I can. I try and do at least one big trip a year and a couple of smaller ones just to get a sunshine fix and some warm water waves. The winters in England are long and I'm not used to that yet.
You seem to have the work/life balance down perfectly. How do you achieve this and what advice would you give for other women who are struggling out there?
Hmmm, I'm not sure I have it down at all, haha. People think I'm a workaholic and I get it. I work a lot, but because I enjoy what I do, and it doesn't always feel like I'm working so that helps. I'm an active person in general, I say, “Yes” to pretty much everything and have this motivation to do well, I don't know why but it's just there. Advice is hard because you never know people's circumstances. I guess you have to love or be really passionate about what you do. I once got given this book called The Four Agreements and it really stuck with me; it tells of four ways to live your life freely. Always do your best, do not take things personally, do not judge and stay true to your word.
What has been your favourite Sailaway styling session to date? Any particular products that have stolen your heart?
I loved the interiors shoot we did. We built a pallet bed set in my new studio in town, which we changed throughout the shoot depending on the style, colours and fabrics of the Sailaway homewares products. It was such fun and I can't wait for our next one. Holly’s dresses are gorgeous, and I particularly love the jump suit. They are easy to wear, low cut and low back so look really cute, and they are perfect to dance around in when you're having a good time at the summer festivals.
You’re very much part of the Sailaway crew, what does that mean to you?
Ah, my beloved Holly. She's so rad and so inspirational. I love to watch the company grow, and I love even more to follow her adventures and hear her stories. She lives life fast and I like that.
What’s next for you? Anything in the pipeline we should know about?
Well I'm mid-way through studying an interior design degree online. It's taking longer than I wanted it to but I'm loving it. At school I didn't have a clue what I wanted to do so I never went into further education. Now I'm stoked to have found a love and passion for interior design and styling. I’m currently working on a few new projects, so I'm excited to be taking it to the next level. Watch this space.
We love shooting at Evie's incredible studio in the heart of Newquay, which also caters for creatives looking for a fun, inspiring office space. For information on hiring the space or a desk please contact Evie on: email@example.com