How international tax accountant + photographer Rachel Mataira uses her creative outlet for self-empowerment

11 March 2020
By Fashion Quarterly

Love Fearlessly means doing what you love without fear.

By day she is a an international tax consultant and in her spare time Rachel Mataira is a celebrated landscape and documentary photographer. In 2019 Rachel was awarded New Zealand Geographic’s NZ Young Photographer of the Year, an accolade that helped launch her following and online platform that she now uses to sell her photography. Staying true to herself and her passion has opened up a world she would not have experienced otherwise. As part of Miss FQ’s Love Fearlessly campaign with Converse, we got to chat to Rachel about her journey to self-love and how she has empowered herself through her creative work.

Miss FQ: Can you talk us through your personal style and how you use this to portray your sense of self to the world?
The majority of my clothes are my mum’s from when she was my age, so a lot of what I wear is influenced by her. I think personal style is more about how you present yourself to the world and how you act every day and that is how people remember you as well.  So for me that is trying to always work really hard and if I have a goal or something in mind I want to achieve then I will do everything I can to get there.

The journey to self-love is ever-changing and growing; can you talk us through your journey so far?
In my late teens/early twenties, I understood self-love to be more of a physical thing and I was focused a lot on that but it’s been more recently that I realised it’s more about loving who I am and really focusing on the things that I love and my passions. By investing in the things in my life that made me feel positive, that has really helped me love myself more.

What’s your self-talk like?
It’s definitely not perfect, but I like to live by the saying of ‘Be kind to yourself like you would your best friend’ – because there’s no doubt that you give yourself the hard word like you would a best friend when it’s needed but it’s more about being kind and compassionate. Living by this has actually really helped me be more empathetic and kind towards myself if something goes wrong and it also keeps me grounded.

How do you navigate using social media as part of your business/career and not let it negatively affect your mental health?
When I first started out and began selling my prints and using my photography as more of a business, using social media did get very consuming – I kind of had to take stock after thinking I was spending too much time on Instagram in particular. So to combat this I made another account to help me differentiate between work and healthy media consumption and this is where I follow the people I am inspired by – creatives, thought leaders, politicians, and other incredible people having a positive voice. With this I have a flexible rule where I can scroll through this but the other account is where I create content to post and share my work.

Rachel wears the Chuck Taylor All Star Lift sneaker, a style that flirts with feminine construction and a platform sole to give just enough lift. 

Interview: Ruby Hamilton
Photos: Sophie Andreassend @ Here Today Studio

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