Lisa Mowry is what some people might call a modern times Renaissance woman, writing, editing, styling and producing features for home and lifestyle magazines. We caught up with her to get the inside scoop on her life and career.
How did you get your start?
Believe it or not, when I was about 9 years old, I would staple together a bunch of notebook paper and draw my own magazines. So it seems almost pre-destined for me to have ended up in the magazine world. I’ve been a home and garden writer, stylist and editor for almost 25 years, and I can’t imagine doing anything else I’d enjoy more.
Was there 1 job or contact that set the course of your career?
I happily spent my 20s in a related field: public relations, which was rewarding in its own way because I got to work on the Atlanta Olympics bid, Callaway Gardens and other fun clients. But it was fate when I was asked to promote what is now Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles magazine (it used to be called Southern Homes), and I got to know publisher Gina Christman, who eventually hired me and allowed me to get going on Chapter Two of my career. My next big turning point was connecting with Better Homes & Gardens and Traditional Home in the late ‘90s when I had started on a freelance career (at home with a child).
What is your favorite/most successful way to advertise?
I think a website is invaluable these days; it saves me from having to explain in an email or phone call all the different magazines I work with and the variety of house projects I’m looking for. But I’ve also been impressed with blogs such as this one; I still get email years later from interior designers all over the country who stumble onto the write-up I did for Sherry Hart’s designindulgence blog about how to get published. I’m also fortunate that every time one of the magazine articles I’ve worked on appears on a newsstand, that’s advertising for me, too. I try to scan in almost every article I write or produce and post it on Facebook, which promotes the designer or homeowner or architect, too—as well as you great photographers who make me look good.
If there were one thing you could change about your career, what would it be?
So much of the magazine process for national magazines is out of my hands: which projects get chosen, when they are going to be photographed, and then when the magazines decide to run it. I wish I could have everything happen on a quicker basis, because everyone wants to see their projects published. But fortunately, I also find and write homes articles for Atlanta magazine, and there we can make things happen a little faster for more immediate gratification.
What is your favorite stress reliever?
Because I’m in such a visual career—and I think we’re all guilty of visual overload with so many beautiful images on blogs, Instagram, magazines and even Facebook—I like to step away from technology and go for a long walk. My husband is a biology professor, so, for 30-some years we get out at least once a week, to somewhere like Red Top Mountain, to walk and just enjoy the quiet and a different kind of beauty. Also…I do take a lot of little breaks during the day to play my scrabble games; you’d think a writer wouldn’t want to be around more words, but I am such a word nerd.
What is your favorite destination?
That’s hard…like asking me my favorite decorating style, because I like so many places. Close by, I love Savannah, Asheville, Highlands, Rosemary Beach…of course, New York, Napa Valley, and just about anywhere in Europe because those places have such great energy, architecture, culture and food. My husband has done research in Africa, so I’ve been able to spend time in remote parts of Kenya. Because we have a 17-year-old son and it’s a priority to do vacations where we’re all active together, we’ve gone on some good snorkeling trips the last few years, places like St. John and Belize.