Kate T. Parker is a mother, wife, former collegiate soccer player, Ironman, and professional photographer who shoots both fine-art projects and commercial work for clients across North America. Her "Strong Is the New Pretty" photo series has led to collaborations with brands like Athleta, Kellogg's, and Oxygen. The project has also inspired Kate to launch a philanthropic arm of Strong Is the New Pretty, partnering with organizations like Girls on the Run and The Bully Project that invests in girls' health and education. When she's not photographing, Kate can be found coaching her daughters' soccer teams. She lives with her family in Atlanta, Georgia.
How you got into advertising?
I started out of college as a video editor at CNN, then moved over to an agency (JWT) here in Atlanta producing commercials. I loved it so much. Learned a ton about how to produce a shoot, run an edit session, and basically how to make something look good on a screen. After moving into a focus on photography, it was really a natural fit to start shooting commercially, since that was where my background was. I love the challenge of being creative within a box. It stretches you and makes you better, creatively and as a photographer.
A run-down of the most recent campaign you worked on?
I literally just got off the red eye from LA! I had the most amazing shoot for a new REI campaign. Everything you might think about an REI shoot is true and I have the muscle aches, ripped pants, scabs and rocks in my hiking boots to prove it. Hiking in the desert, shooting in 40 degree water in a dry suit, scaling rooftops in downtown LA, we did it all. The team from REI was so great and I got to do and experience things that I’d never have the chance to experience otherwise; one of my favorite parts about this job. I absolutely loved it and can’t wait to see it launch. The creative was something that I really connected with and was honored to be a part.
The next big advertising trend is going to be ...
I’d love to see more and more authentic depictions of girls and women. Real, diverse, strong, imperfect females in our ads. We’re getting there, but there’s a lot of work to be done.
The best piece of creative work around at the moment is ...
I cry big, fat, ugly tears every time I see the new Grammy Award Brand Campaign for 2017 spot, the one where the young girls are reciting Taylor Swift’s Grammy speech from last year about taking credit for their own successes. It was so well done, beautifully shot and the message hit really close to home for me. (The ad, by TBWA/Chiat/Day, features girls in all walks of life, including a dancer, a violinist, a basketball player and a pianist. Some are seen struggling with their instruments or working hard with equipment to get it right as they strive for success. The message is that they're empowered inspired by Swift's words about taking credit for your own success. It ends with the words "Believe in music. Believe in you." The director was Rachel McDonald at Tool.)
The piece of work I wish I’d thought of ...
So partial to the #likeagirl campaign. Damn good work. Love Lauren Greenfield.
My favorite digital tool / app at the moment …
I love my sun seeker app and finally transferred my old “to do” list to my phone (WeDo) and finally am on top of that list. Welcome to 2017, dummy. :)
In a film about my life, I’d like to be played by ….
Omg, this question is rough! 1. Sounds like a terrible movie 2. are there any actresses that prefer to live their life in gray sweatpants and a fleece vest? She's the one I want.
A word or phrase I overuse …
Diet Sunkist. I am a full fledged addict. It’s so gross, I know.
My last social media update said …
”here’s to the girls that are allowed to be who they are. #strongisthenewpretty” accompanied by an image of my two daughters, one scowling at me and one with knees full of road rash.
My dream collaboration is …
I’d love, love, love the chance to work with Badger and Winters. Their #womennotobjects campaign is inspirational to me.
A piece of criticism I’ve received was ….
A lot of my work and my upcoming book (Strong is the New Pretty) is all about allowing girls and women to be themselves and celebrating who they are and about fostering their inner strength. I recently did an interview on camera and someone criticized my looks (basically saying that I shouldn't color my hair or wear makeup since my message was feminist). The whole point was missed by that person. The message is about being allowed to be yourself, princess, athlete, makeup wearer and hair color-er.
A great piece of advice I received ….
I just recently found the book the 4 Agreements through my husband and really loved the message. Trying (hard) to follow these ...
1. Be Impeccable With Your Word.
2.Don't Take Anything Personally.
3. Don't Make Assumptions.
4. Always Do Your Best