Q+A with Tezza Barton (@tezza)
There's no question Costa Rica made a beautiful backdrop for Jetsetter's first #LikeAJetsetter trip, but it was the tastemakers we traveled with that helped bring the place to life. While on the road, we caught up with Utah-born, NYC-based Instagram influencer @tezza, whose work has taken her from Thailand to Portugal and everywhere in between.
Tell us about you!
I am from the beautiful mountains of Salt Lake City, Utah. I lived there most of my life and was fortunate enough to travel often. I am surrounded by a family full of artists and entrepreneurs, so it was inevitable that I would end up doing the same. I studied art in college, wrote music, toured with my band, and worked my butt off to move to New York City a little over two years ago, where I now live with my husband and business partner, Cole. We absolutely love it.
Have you always been interested in this kind of work? When did you decide to pursue Instagram full-time?
I was a photographer for six years, working with brands creating content and really doing then what I am doing now. I always had a following on my blog and Facebook and then on Instagram. I didn’t realize it was a business until I moved to NYC and was thrust into the industry. I’d been working with brands for years just for trade and didn’t realize I was creating art that could be content and exposure for brands. After a few months of wrapping my head around it, I decided to commit and do it full-time. The transition was luckily easy for me because I have been doing it all along!
I love how bold your Instagram aesthetic is—strong colors, strong outfits. What inspires you and your work?
I have always been drawn to color. I think that because I have been a photographer for so long, my eyes always just seem to go there. Growing up and being six feet tall since I was 12 years old, I quickly realized I was never going to blend in, so why not stand out? I love putting my attitude and energy into outfits—it’s another way of expressing myself and I think that naturally translates to my imagery as well.
What is your favorite part about what you do?
This is such a hard question because I love so much about it! I love the people I have gotten to meet the most. Some of my best friends I have met while traveling or on shoots and in meetings. I am so inspired by people and there are so many talented ones in this business. I feel really lucky.
What was the biggest highlight from Costa Rica?
Getting to experience how diverse the country is. We got to spend days at the beach, hike through the jungle, try out so much incredible food, and meet the nicest people. Cole and I never knew how much Costa Rica had to offer. There’s truly something for everyone here.
What other favorite place have you traveled to recently?
I would have to say Portugal. It was a last minute decision—we went on a whim and without any real plan. I had zero expectations but it exceeded all my dreams. Every day, we would just go out and explore—the food, the people, the scenery, the history… It was so welcoming and perfect. I feel like Portugal’s only now starting to become more known, so it still feels like a hidden secret!
Being an influencer requires a standout wardrobe. Any packing tips?
Well, let’s just say I always overpack! I am the type of person that tries all my outfits on before a trip. I think about the locations and adventures and what outfit will bring those moments to life. I am all about the story and so everything has to make sense. I think trying on outfits beforehand helps me fit it all in because I have exactly what I need and no extra random stuff to confuse me while on the go. I also stuff scarves and jewelry into my shoes and cozy clothes into my hats.
Congrats on releasing your book this month! Tell us about InstaStyle and how it came about.
Ah, thank you so much! InstaStyle has been such a fun project. In an industry full of so much mystery and secrecy, I wanted to create something that reminded people of the beauty of social media and photos—the art of life! Of course, I know I don’t know everything but I wanted to put out what I did know and create an open dialogue in the industry. I have learned that there is so much more to gain by sharing, and you only grow more by helping others. I have many more projects in the works but have to keep them secret right now—stay tuned!
Where are you headed to, or dreaming of, next?
I’m going home to Utah for the holidays, and currently dreaming of Peru. The Sacred Valley looks absolutely stunning and I’d love to spend more time in South America.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
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