L.A.-based writer and editor Steffie Nelson recently edited the essay collection, Slouching Towards Los Angeles: Living and Writing by Joan Didion’s Light, published in February 2020 by Rare Bird Books. She also co-authored Judson: Innovation in Stained Glass, published in March 2020 by Angel City Press. Throughout her career as a style and culture journalist, Steffie has contributed to The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, L.A. Review of Books, W Magazine and many others, bringing a curious mind and a refined eye to her subjects.
Raised in the suburbs of New York City, Steffie graduated from SUNY Purchase with a degree in creative writing. A love of music led her to journalism, and she ardently covered the indie rock scene of the late ‘90s, eventually becoming a staff writer at VH1.com. In 2003 she took her personal yoga practice to a deeper level, becoming a certified teacher and beginning to incorporate spiritual and metaphysical ideas into her writing. She contributed to wellness-oriented magazines including Yoga Journal and was also associate producer of the documentary feature Yoga, Inc., which premiered at Toronto’s Hot Docs. In 2004, she worked as an associate editor at The New York Times Magazine, launching the style magazine T.
Steffie moved to Los Angeles in 2005, where she has continued to write about spirituality, fashion, art, food, entertainment, beauty, books, architecture and design for almost all the city’s major publications, including Los Angeles Magazine, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, C Magazine, GOOD, and LA Weekly, where she was a founding member of the Style Council blog. In late 2011 she joined Pasadena Magazine as Editor in Chief, a position she held until 2013.
Throughout it all, she has continued to explore L.A.’s esoteric side, interviewing yogis, shamans, commune members, artists, authors, scientists and historians. It was while writing a feature about The Source Family, a 1970s Hollywood cult, and simultaneously doing a piece on contemporary healers, that Steffie began to understand how profoundly mystical ideas had shaped the city’s identity. From there, a book about what she calls “Cosmic Los Angeles” was born. She continues to develop Cosmic City: The History of Seekers in Los Angeles.