Make Life Beautiful With Alyssa Rosenheck

Our Q&A with interiors photographer & author Alyssa Rosenheck

29 April 2021 -

Alyssa Rosenheck redefines what it means to live beautifully.

After her cancer diagnosis, Alyssa picked up a camera to explore creativity as a healing modality. Today, she is a celebrated architectural/ interiors photographer with more than 900 features.

On a national level, Alyssa has been recognized as a business leader, advocate, and the voice of the new South in outlets like Forbes, The Washington Post, InStyle magazine, and PEOPLE.

We were honored to be included in Alyssa’s new book, The New Southern Style, where she gives readers an all-access pass into conversations with and home tours of more than 30 creative entrepreneurs, from artists to designers to musicians to James Beard-nominated chefs.

Today, we’re excited to share her story and feature her as our latest guest in our Make Life Beautiful Series.

Alyssa’s beautiful home via @alyssarosenheck

What was your very first job — ever?

Many people don’t know this, but I went to college on a tennis scholarship. My first job was a summer coaching position at IMG Academy (formerly known as Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy). I would coach during the day and train in the evenings and on weekends. I’ll never forget the day I was in one of the smaller gyms on campus, running on the treadmill. I looked up and noticed guys across the gym were staring; I immediately panicked and checked if everything was covered up. Big sigh, YES! Then I looked to my left, and Serena Williams was running on the treadmill next to me! She smiled at me and jokingly told me not to outrun her; I smiled back and told her she was incredible.

It was that type of energy bringing me back each year — a smile and a nod that we can work hard for the things we want. I loved being by the ocean every summer, and my coaching position allowed me to have the financial support I needed to get through college.

Tell us about your journey into the creative industry. When did you realize that you could turn your passion into a career?

The journey into creativity is filled with twists and turns for so many of us, and my story is no different. I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2014. During this time, I was working for my second Fortune 100 company as a spine sales consultant in the medical device industry. My cancer diagnosis provided a certain level of stillness I hadn’t experienced until that point in my life. As a result, I picked up a camera for the first time as a healing catharsis and simply read the manual. Showing up for my creativity during this challenging time was a powerful form of prayer and healing. I was 32 years old, and I knew I could use my newfound creativity for good, for connection, and for community.

One of our favorite moments from Alyssa’s home via @alyssarosenheck

Photo via @alyssarosenheck

I entered into the interiors and architectural photography space seven years ago with a strong foundation in business and a fresh set of eyes on the digital landscape. My main goals were to provide editorial-inspired galleries to my clients and to show a return on their investment in my services by garnering exposure and new clients for them. This allowed me to pioneer a new way of doing business in the industry. I started to see the synergy behind my process, and this was when I knew it could be a sustainable business.

Since then, I have considered myself a creative entrepreneur of sorts. In addition to being a photographer, I am a stylist, storyteller, speaker, and the author of “The New Southern Style”. I continue to find ways for creativity to be sustainable alongside community and healing.

From the Gram



If you could go back in time and give your young creator self one piece of advice, what would it be?

If I were my younger self, I would teach her to listen to herself above anything else. I would teach her to stand tall and be brave. I would teach her that her truth is her power — that creativity and courage will set her free.

A view of Alyssa’s stunning dining room via @alyssarosenheck

Where do you find the most inspiration for your work?

One of my greatest inspirations comes from the window seat on a plane. Normally, this means I am traveling to a scenic location for a client collaboration. When I am writing, I am often inspired by the “thing” that is pulling at my heart; it’s almost as if it chooses me. I am currently exploring the relationship between pain, resiliency, and creativity with a passion project. And for my personal photography projects, I am forever inspired by stillness and the sea.

A beautiful sea shot via @alyssarosenheck. 

Creativity for me is soul work. It requires deep inner work to commit to an idea and birth it into the world.

Alyssa Rosenheck

What does your creative process look like?

For me, creativity has technical, spiritual, and healing components.

Step one is what I consider the “Creative Compass” phase. This is the “how” behind the creative medium that speaks to us and how we master it. This phase is for exploring techniques, your intuition, and your curiosity, all in order to innovate. This phase asks, “How do I move this creative train, and how do I make it my own?” This phase is a healthy companion if you’re going through pain, a challenging season, or wanting to rediscover lost parts of yourself.

Personal example: creativity saved my life. When I was diagnosed with cancer, I picked up a camera for the first time and simply read the manual. I showed up for my creativity every day — taking small steps, learning new techniques, adopting new programs to support my work, and eventually, developing my own style of photography. Creativity was my compass during a very painful time and allowed me to process my feelings around having cancer. This phase can be applied to anyone going through a challenging season in their life and will yield growth, understanding, and newfound creative skill.

A beautiful kitchen nook from @alyssarosenheck.

Mood boarding via @alyssarosenheck.

Step two is “Energy Management”. This is the fuel to keep the creative train moving. There is a myth that creatives are immune to burnout or difficult times. A creative mind is a calm mind, and this phase is founded on practices which yield peace and stillness and prevent burnout.

Personal example: I have spent years fine-tuning the levers of my schedule and the pressures around my businesses, speaking engagements, book, and passion projects. I adopt energy management here vs. time management. I invite IN the projects, people, things, and places that give me life, light me up, and yield tremendous joy and energy. Meanwhile, I release and LET GO of the people, places, and things draining me of my time, energy, and creativity. I check in with myself  throughout the day to make sure I am in alignment. I adopt accessible practices that yield stillness and peace, such as meditation, yoga, prayer, breath work, reiki, painting, cooking, journaling, nature walks, and simply unplugging.

Creativity for me is soul work. It requires deep inner work to commit to an idea and birth it into the world. Creativity also comes with tension. This is healthy, and it is our responsibility to utilize everything we can to communicate our creative courage and our creative healing to the world.

A beautiful moment @alyssarosencheck.

What was the most significant business or creative challenge that you have encountered and grown from?

A recent business and creative challenge was converting an eleven-city, in-person book tour into a virtual book tour during the pandemic. All major publishers cancelled physical touring, and virtual book tours had never been done before. There was no structured blueprint for success. So, what does any entrepreneur do?! We accept the challenge, make it up as we go, pivot the marketing plan, take the bull by the horns, pray, and run full steam ahead. It brought many sleepless nights and required all hands on deck, but failure was not an option.

I am proud of the virtual book tour we pulled off, and words cannot even begin to express my gratitude and appreciation for the incredible humans who participated, supported me, and showed up. The message behind The New Southern Style — to honor community, ancestry, life pivots, and creativity — was just as impactful when shared virtually. We even turned this challenge into confidence, growth, and charity by allocating leftover funds to some of my favorite organizations devoted to young women in underserved communities.

One of our favorite shots via @alyssarosencheck

Alyssa via @alyssarosencheck.

What has been your biggest achievement? When was the last time you thought “wow, I can’t believe I just accomplished that!”

I am still in the “wow, I can’t believe I did that” phase. Writing and photographing my first book may have been more difficult than my cancer, especially when I can’t spell.

With more than 47,000 words, my book is meant to be read. It’s disguised as a coffee table book, but it is so much more. This is a project that will support you through life pivots, inspire your creative courage, and encourage you to be your own agent of change. “The New Southern Style” is a movement grounded in cultural change, community, and honoring and humanizing our differences through the lens of creativity. 

Alyssa via @alyssarosenheck

"We have to know where we have been to know where we are going, and for me, the vehicle is creativity."

Alyssa Rosenheck

We have to know where we have been to know where we are going, and for me, the vehicle is creativity. It is not the silver bullet solution, but it’s an expander to challenge old beliefs and bring everyone to the table. And it’s something we all have within us. I am living proof. Creativity tells us the truth about the world and connects us to ourselves and to our communities. I am sharing my photography of more than 30 home and studio tours alongside conversations I have had with artists, chefs, designers, makers, activists, and authors. I am documenting how a paint brush, a camera, a chef’s knife, a poet’s pen, and all kinds of creative tools can connect us in a way that transcends division.

Alyssa’s bedroom space via @alyssarosenheck

Which upcoming project or endeavor are you most excited for?

To be fully transparent, I am most looking forward to slowing down slightly. I really enjoy taking my time with creative projects and I am in the birthing phase right now with a few that hopefully we can discuss soon.

A beautiful shot from @alyssarosenheck

Alyssa’s dining nook from @alyssarosenheck

Date Posted
29 April 2021