L.A.-based style and culture writer Steffie Nelson 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 ‘90s, eventually becoming a staff writer at VH1.com. To this day, her appearance as a dancer in a Cat Power video after she wrote a feature on the band remains a career highlight.
In 2003, taking her personal yoga practice to a deeper level, Steffie became a certified teacher and began to incorporate spiritual and metaphysical ideas into her work. She wrote for 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, a publication that is still among her favorites and to which she still contributes.
Pursuing a lifelong dream, 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. She was a contributing editor at Hollywood Life, and in late 2011 she joined Pasadena Magazine as Editor in Chief, a position she held until 2013. Other notable projects include writing the text for Warhol Factory X Levi’s X Damien Hirst, a limited edition coffee table book celebrating the fashion collaboration between Levi’s, the Andy Warhol foundation, and British artist Damien Hirst.
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 an L.A. Times feature about The Source Family, a 1970s Hollywood cult, while simultaneously doing a trend piece on contemporary healers for a lifestyle glossy, that Steffie began to think of these stories as points on a continuum that had profoundly shaped the city’s identity. She named this Cosmic Los Angeles, and from there a book idea was born. After devoting much of the past year to researching and developing the proposal for Cosmic City: A Century of Seeking in Los Angeles, Steffie is pleased to share it upon request.
When she is not at her desk, Steffie often hikes with her rescue chihuahua, Daisy, in the hills near her home in Echo Park. She escapes to the desert whenever possible.
photo by Piper Ferguson