Angela Sumner

Angela Sumner is an award-winning Creative Director of Beauty & Fashion. She is the creator of Refinery29’s series, Short Cuts. Angela currently resides in New York City and works as the Brand Creative Director for Elizabeth Arden.

How has the pandemic affected you professionally?

We've had a partial cut back - some have been furloughed through June, and those who were kept on have reduced hours and are no longer working Fridays. I've been working non-stop since the quarantine.

Everything's happening since we left, and I haven't had a chance to even stop and think about what's going on. I feel like I need time to reflect and make sure that I'm, like, taking care of my mental health. I'm very grateful to have a job, but you also need to acknowledge the moment.

Right now, we are making content for the future, which is how it always works. The difference is, things that would normally take a day or two in the studio with a full crew are now taking four or five days because it's just the photographer. It's interesting how people have been slow to change their expectations and forget the circumstance...people still want everything yesterday.

Working from home has been an adjustment. I had to start doing a routine to craft a mental threshold of entering my work zone. When I'm done with the day, I switch to my personal computer to do any internet browsing. I need to physically close work and move on to something else.

How has the pandemic affected you personally?

I haven't really had time to think about it, and I realize I am coming from a privileged perspective while being employed. I'm grateful that my mom lives in the woods in Colorado and is safe, but my sister is a nurse on the front lines. Even though she is an orthopedic nurse who isn't trained in respiratory health, she has to handle the trauma of COVID patients. She's never seen anything like death to this magnitude.

I think the lockdown has exposed the things you need versus the things you don't, or at least, it has changed the reasons you do things. For instance, I took an Instagram fitness class, but honestly, I didn't need the fitness so much as I just needed the instructor interaction. The most bizarre thing is experiencing New York at a different pace - I just don't feel grounded. Our apartments are small, and we are all running around this town like zombies...people are out, but with nowhere to go...

“It's not just about the number of followers, but these are makers with a point of view who can make interesting assets"

How do you think this will impact the future of your industry?

The beauty industry was already leaning towards CGI, and being more digitally integrated in general. There's also been a shift in the type of influencers we are interested in. It's not just about the number of followers, but these are makers with a point of view who can create interesting content.

I think we'll see the industry as a whole be less wasteful. Not using influencers and focusing on those who are being creative will be important with the limited resources we will have.

If you were to identify a silver lining, what would it be?

Hopefully, the industry will stop being so wasteful. We don't need thirteen seasons, and do we really need all these brands? That's what I'm going to look for; I think we just need some heavy consolidation.