RON HARTLEBEN

RON HARTLEBEN

TVPS: So how did you get here? 

RH: I moved here in 2012 and started interning for Gus Romero, who’s mostly a commercial stylist. I didn't really know what I was doing. I just started cold emailing. I was looking at fashion internships online. Even on Craigslist where I ran into that stylist and he was really great in my evolution, and he taught me a lot of things. I eventually became his first assistant. This was while I was in school, so I was multitasking. I would assist him and then go to school from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm everyday. After that, I got a little bored, so I started interning at V and that taught me how to work at a magazine in a professional environment with other people and not just one stylist. That was a really huge part of me getting into this industry. From V, I started freelancing more. I still worked with Gus but I was working with other people too because a huge part of being a stylist or being a stylist’s assistant is word of mouth and who you know and friends of friends because people always need help.

Then Chris Bartley from V introduced me to CR. I was here [as a fashion intern] for about three months, and I really excelled here, and I built a really good relationship with Ben, and we stayed in touch, and he helped me get freelance positions at Harper's Bazaar, which was also a good experience. After CR I kept freelancing with other stylists and just doing my own thing. 

Also throughout this whole time I was styling my own stories every time I had the chance. Then, Ben called me one day and said, "Do you want to work at CR?" I did. Now I'm here.

 

How did you make yourself standout at CR as an intern? 

It's weird because I had a lot of experience before I interned at CR. I was being paid to assist people on sets, so I was already working professionally in the industry. I was just here because I loved the magazine so much and believed in what the magazine stood for and I admired Carine. I think that showed a lot. My experience showed and my knowledge of who Carine is and what her aesthetic is, really showed. Also, I'm really fast. It's kind of a joke to Ben when I have a thousand things to do; I'm really good at getting them done. When I have one thing to do for the day I'm so slow at getting it done because I love being busy. Also back then there was no market team. We had 4 less employees, so it was all hands on deck. Everyone had to help pack. I'd be here until 11:00 pm sometimes. I'd skip class. Not that you should skip class but I did to help and be on set and be a part of it, and people noticed that. Especially Ben and he really appreciated it. He always kept me in mind. I guess that's kind of how I stood out because I was just always so available and always so willing to be helpful.

 

Do you want to give an overview of your role now? 

My position is called the sittings assistant. It's a little broad. Basically, I'm Carine's second assistant on set for everywhere in America and sometimes in Europe depending on who's available and what's going on. That applies to the magazine and all of her outside projects, too. All her ad campaigns and all of her collaborations and things like that. Part of my job specifically here is to find all the vintage and unique costume pieces that make the story more Carine. That's a challenge in itself because it's not something you can find on Style.com where you can go to Dior Look 53 and "Okay. That's the perfect piece." It's something that's maybe in Europe or maybe in Idaho, and somebody has to hand make it the night before the shoot and send it. I do a lot of research on old editorials and old movies and stuff like that for inspiration for stories. Another developing part now is that I'm styling a lot for online, and I am slated to do "x" amount of stories a month. It gives me a huge platform to work off of because eventually, I want to become my own stylist and not be an assistant, but for right now I'm in a really great spot and I have a really great platform to work with. It's a lot of work to produce content on my own for the website but it's also really rewarding and it's a huge, huge opportunity that a lot of people don't have.

 

What have you learned from your role?

I'm out of breath. Hold on.
I've learned so much from working with Carine, from working with Ben, from working with the team. It's a really small team, so everyone's kind of like a family. I've learned to not take things so seriously and be great at my job and do exactly what I have to do but also have fun while doing it because if you don't have fun, there's not really a point. Fashion is fun and there has to be some kind of energy and liveliness and enjoyable presence while you're doing it or there's no purpose. I've learned what I can't control and to just roll with the punches. To do as much as I can with what is in my power, but also let things take its course and be able to step back and breath. And say "You know it's just fashion and at the end of the day we're still going to shoot something and it's still going to be great."

 

Do you have a favorite time on set?

I think maybe the first time I was a little bit like, "Whoa. I'm here" is when I was working on Tom Ford with Carine and Ben in LA and Lady Gaga was there. That was kind of my first taste of working with these really major people. Lady Gaga was insane and did all of these amazing dance moves that you don't see in the video, people were crying and their jaws were dropping watching her perform. That’s kind of the first moment I realized, "Whoa. I'm in LA. I'm working for Carine. I'm on a Tom Ford campaign shoot and Lady Gaga is stripping in front of me and dancing and singing. This is incredible. I'm so lucky." That was kind of one of my wow moments where I was like, "I'm doing the right thing. I made the right choice." That's a good one. I'll always remember that.