It is very rare to find a woman who is a celebrity photographer in the entertainment industry, but Rowena Husbands has managed to break into this industry and stand her ground, covering some of the most notable celebrities in the business. Her company Blink of An Eye Photography started after witnessing a photographer take photos of her daughter, Tralyn. Tralyn has been acting since the age of 2, later gaining the role of a lifetime on Broadway as “Young Nala” in The Lion King.
Seeing her daughter through another photographer’s lens inspired her to venture into the field. Rowena worked for Canon USA at the time and asked if she could borrow equipment and the rest is history. “I always made her my first priority, because I am a mom first. When I transitioned into a full-time photographer I made sure that I scheduled all of my photoshoots while she was in school. If I had an event, I would take her with me most of the time.”
Now, her daughter is 22 and has had a few stints on television, appearing in the CBS show NYC 22. Rowena says she keeps her daughter grounded in this business by telling her to “remain humble and true and never forget were she came from.”
“I am very proud to say that my daughter is a smart, educated, grounded young woman. She never lets this business get to her head. I wouldn't allow it. She had a very normal upbringing in spite of being a successful and very busy child actress.”
Being humble and staying true to yourself is key in this business, especially when reality TV has made it the norm to document lives of parents and child stars, or exploit any young woman with ambition. We asked Rowena if, as the behind the scenes photographer for VH1’s hit show Love & Hip-Hop, she ever feels the need to mentor any of the girls about their behavior, from a mother’s point of view. “Yes on season 1, I saw some behavior that disturbed me so pulled two of the young women aside and said something. What I had to remember was, they were grown women and also getting a check [so] I don't know if what I said really mattered to them. Hopefully it did.” She constantly has to check her motherly instinct. “Photography is my job, not my life, and when I’m on the set and I don't like a scene or how someone is acting, I always remind myself that I am blessed with the luxury of picking and choosing the jobs I take. I also will say something encouraging. Hopefully, it sinks in at some point.”
Rowena is one of those photographers who’s everywhere, though. She has expanded her business into management and currently manages rising singer/actress Brianna Colette. We asked Rowena for some motherly advice that she can share with young women who are rising stars:
“Be careful what you sign up for. In other words, have respect for yourself and don't sell yourself for 15 minutes of fame and a check. This quick fame may not be forever but the footage will. Whatever you decide to do, make sure it’s something you can be proud of when you look back. When they ask me how long I've been shooting and I tell them over 15 years, I want them to know that I am not still here because I sold out years ago [but] that I have integrity and I am respected in this business and good at what I do. That’s staying power.”