The model-turned-photographer and designer was scouted while attending law school and moved from her native Sydney to New York – ‘the prospect of a ticket to see the world was incredibly alluring,’ she says. She quickly became the face of Ralph Lauren, was shot for Vogue and walked in countless runway shows. Then, a campaign with photographer Steven Meisel for Versace triggered a new direction. ‘He only took 10 to 15 frames, I thought for sure I’d been dropped,’ she says. ‘Months later I saw myself on a billboard – it looked so different to how I’d seen the shoot. I knew at that moment it was what I wanted to do with my life.’ Lake went back to art school – ‘one of the most inspiring times of my life’ – and then set about assisting ‘anyone and everyone’. Determined to learn all sides of the industry, she moved to London in 2009 and approached British Vogue. She received a commission to shoot street-style in New York, ‘right as it was beginning to take off’, kickstarting her photography career. ‘I have a relatively unique perspective as I have been on every side of the industry,’ she says: ‘from model, stylist, photographer’s assistant, commercial sales, designer to photographer.’ Add a clothing collection and a just-launched high summer collaboration with matches and Lake has her hands full.
Tell us about your family and what you do.
My name is Candice Lake, I live in North London with my husband and our three children who are 1, 5 and 7.
Has motherhood changed your perspective on the world in any way?
Motherhood has given me immense empathy, compassion and respect for women, especially my own mother. It is not until you experience the intensity of motherhood with its pendulum of intense highs and lows, that you can truly understand what it is to be a mother, the ultimate juggler.
What was the best advice you were given about motherhood?
Everyone will have an opinion on what to do and how to do it, just go with what feels right and know that what is right for you and your family, may not be for someone else.
How would you define your parenting style?
You will generally find us outside most of the year round. My two older children went to forest school for the first few years of their schooling and we don’t have any screens in our house which I know is a bit different. We are really flexible in a lot of ways and try to be as connected as much as possible, yet we also have a very tight routine that we almost never mess with, to keep things flowing. We found that when we change up the bedtime routine or the naps, everything else falls apart. Our kids thrive knowing what we are doing and when and having total freedom in between.
Are there any fun family traditions you have created?
We have Friday night pesto and Sunday night tacos – even if my husband I are going out, we always eat as a family, put the kids to bed and then head to our dinner. We have an allotment and head there every Sunday early in the morning. We have an ‘in charge’ day for each child a few times a year which causes quite a stir and much excitement. Basically for 24 hours, our children are allowed to do anything (within reason) they like! It’s been the most eye opening and grounding experience and I wholly recommend it!
How do you juggle career and children – what are your three pillars for keeping it all together?
It is much harder than I ever imagined. I think the most challenging aspect is mostly dealing with your own guilt. I am constantly guilty that I am not with my children enough and not working enough. Trying to battle this out with myself has been the hardest challenge of motherhood.
• Quality over quantity. Taking time to do things one on one with my children. Therefore whilst I may not be with my baby 7 days a week, when I am with him, I am fully present.
• Less distractions – ie no phones when we are together, ensuring the focus is on the children and what we are doing.
• We would be lost without our nanny Maya, who is with us 3 days a week.
What are the rituals that keep you grounded?
Lazy Sunday lunches at home in the garden with friends. Swimming laps in my lido and time at the allotment with the children. The most important ritual is that we eat dinner together every single night. It is the time where we get to connect. It is the simplest of pleasures which are by far the most satisfying.
How do you carve out time for yourself?
I am very naughty and stay up far too late. It is the only time in the day I have to myself and whilst I know it is a bad habit, it is something that is very hard to break. A long bath, with a good book, is possibly the most indulgent thing one can do – I would live in the bath if I could.
What pieces of wisdom are key to pass on to your children?
Don’t follow the crowd. When everyone else is turning left, don’t be afraid to turn right. Always think outside the box and question everything. The fountain of youth is curiosity - Never stop being curious.
What are your three favourite pieces in the Pepa & Co collection?
Pepa & Co is one of my ultimate favourite brands to dress my children in. Whilst incredibly chic, it is also playful and most importantly comfortable.
My daughter LOVES this look!