Photograph: John Guider

Photograph: John Guider

Libby Callaway
Creative Consultant

After building a career in journalism and fashion in New York, Libby Callaway now calls Nashville home. Fueled by a passion for all things in good taste, she’s thriving in our city’s creative environment. More than that, she finds that the Nashville vibe just plain makes her happy.

What characteristics do you like most about yourself?
That I’m open minded, approachable, and I always return a phone call.

And what do you like least?
My ability to turn a molehill into a mountain. I’m a worrier. I have high anxiety, but I’m working on it.

What was the last book you read?
Anjelica Huston’s autobiography, A Story Lately Told.

Who would you most like to meet?
My grandmother on my father’s side, whom I never met. I hear these great stories about her, her big heart, and her tremendous sense of style.

What about you would most surprise people?
That I am shy, very much an introvert. So what do I do? I become a journalist interviewing total strangers.

What are you going to be when you grow up?
Well, if it all goes to shit today I know I can always sell vintage clothes.

Who has most inspired you?
I love Diane von Furstenberg. I love her whole take on life, creativity, and on being a smart businesswoman. We have stayed in touch since I left New York, and she has been a help to me. My sisters have also been a great source of inspiration.

Who is your favorite artist?
I saw the James Turrell exhibit at LACMA [Los Angeles County Museum of Art] earlier this year, and that was amazing. I love big installations. I love the fashion photographer Sarah Moon. Also the work of Richard Avedon.

What are you most proud of?
My reputation. A few years ago, someone interviewing me made the observation that if Anna Wintour is the Queen of Ice, then I’m a Queen of Nice.

Why Nashville?
I saw something in this community that I knew would build. It wasn’t going to be just about Music Row forever. Things were changing even when I moved here ten years ago. And New York was wearing me out. I noticed every time I came to Nashville I was happy.

What do you like most about the city?
I like the potential. The potential in the people, that anything is possible. There is a renaissance happening here right now.

What do you like least?
Nobody hates on Nashville like Nashvillians. But that’s changing. All the outside attention from the media has made people very proud to be here.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I wish that I wasn’t such a worrywart. My sister gave me a rock recently that she painted to say, “Keep calm: We’re just passing through.” I mean, it’s not like I’m curing cancer here.

Are you happy with where you’re heading?
Yes, absolutely, though I have no idea where that is.

What talent would you most like to have?
I would love to be able to cook, to really cook. A huge wonderful meal. And I wish I were more of a calm, confident host.

What is your greatest regret?
No big regrets. I’ve become good at following my gut, and it has served me well. Things have worked out for the best.

You have five minutes left to live; what are you going to do?
That’s a heavy question. Be with my sisters. There’s nowhere else I’d rather be.

What music do you like to listen to?
Lately I’ve been listening to Jason Isbell, but I generally like harder music, rock and roll. There’s a band from London called Savages that are awesome that I like. It’s hard, driving music.

What makes you the happiest?
Being creative and building my vintage clothing business has been uncompromisingly about me. You can’t get that all the time working for someone else.

What is your greatest extravagance?
Shoes! I don’t have children; I’m not married; no one keeping tabs on me—it’s a no-brainer. I’m basically pretty frugal, but shopping the end-of-season Barneys sale for Balenciaga boots at 75% off makes me super happy.

What other profession would you consider?
That’s tough. I’ve done everything I’ve wanted to. But probably interior design, which has always been something I love.

What film have you seen recently?
I saw American Hustle over the holidays and loved it. Amy Adams’ wardrobe was insane.

Contact libby.callaway@comcast.net

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