- Words Notion Staff
As part of the brand's 80th anniversary initiative championing 80 Mexican artists shaping culture through their craft, meet Cecy Young.
To celebrate their 80th year as one of the world’s best-loved Tequila brands, Tequila Don Julio – a company known for its heritage, authenticity and strong identity – is spotlighting 80 Mexican artists.
From musician Sofia Reyes to activist Saskia Niño de Rivera and fashion designer Victor Barragán, each of the creators share a passion for their craft, a drive to push boundaries, and a pure love for art that grounds their ambition – qualities that reflect the spirit and mission of the brand’s founder, Don Julio González.
“I have always proudly expressed Mexican heritage and identity through my designs, using these to challenge the preconceptions and stereotypes around what it means to be Mexican.” says Victor Barragán. “There is so much incredible talent coming out of Mexico right now – the Tequila Don Julio 80 list is proof of just that.”
“I am incredibly proud of my Mexican roots and heritage, and the core of who I am,” adds Sofia Reyes. “Tequila Don Julio has been the staple tequila in my family and my culture for generations so I couldn’t be more honoured to be partnering with a brand that is helping to drive our culture to bigger places. ‘Por Amor’ is my life’s mantra and to be included alongside other Mexicans who also have so much love for what they do, is a remarkable recognition.”
The initiative is part of the brand’s drive to make a positive cultural impact on the industry, their audience and wider creative fields. Beyond championing creatives, the Tequila Don Julio Fund has pledged one million dollars over four years to charities whose missions support the communities that have helped develop the spirit and core of the brand.
As part of the project, we meet Cecy Young – image maker, photographer and AD for beauty. Based between Tokyo and Paris creating for the likes of Gucci, Cecy’s distinctive style is informed by storytelling, inspired by people, place and exploring different cultures.
She fills us in on how she got into photography, being honoured by Tequila Don Julio, and what’s next.
Hi Cecy! Could you tell me a bit about your background – perhaps starting with how you found photography as a medium in the first place? And what then led you to fashion and beauty photography?
Back in college I started trying different mediums in art school; I started experimenting with painting, but I felt I was terrible at it. I then discovered photography because my dad gave me a film camera and I got into developing black and white film. Little by little I started using photography as my main medium, and I got fully into fashion photography by the end of college.
Your work is beautiful, especially the visuals with brands like Gucci where the clothing melds perfectly with your dreamy colour palettes and aesthetic. Is there an aspect that usually excites or draws you to a project?
Yes – the people and places, travelling.
I feel like your stills have a very strong sense of narrative and storytelling, is this something that’s important to you?
Yes, I work in the field of fashion and beauty, although lately I moved to beauty. I find it more important where the product is not the main point but there is something else more connected to reality and life as well as documentation of people and places.
Where are some areas you find inspiration? And are they ever unexpected?
I mainly find inspiration from details and light. Travelling gave me a different perspective for places, people, and architecture but I think at the end is all about showing fashion and beauty in a different perspective.
Congratulations on your inclusion on the Tequila Don Julio 80 list! You’re based between Tokyo and Paris, so do you feel like photography is a creative means through which to connect with your Mexican heritage?
Thank you! Yes definitely, Mexico is a country filled with colour and emotions. I think a lot of my fixation with colour comes from my Mexican heritage.
How did it feel to find out you were being honoured in this way?
I was very happy to hear that I’m considered to be in this list with such important people!
The list is an important celebration of the immeasurable impact that Mexico and Mexican individuals are making on modern culture, craft, and creativity around the world – are there any creatives on the list you admire or would like to work with?
I admire everyone! But I would love to collaborate with Sofia Elias. She has a very special eye and her brand is always finding new ways of communication in this digital saturated era.
It must be incredible getting the opportunity to travel so often, does experiencing the different environments and cultures spark creative output for you?
Absolutely, I feel the most in awe when I travel and my eyes get delighted when I see different realities of this world. Traveling has made me realize also about my own country and how much I love Mexican culture.
What do you miss most about Mexico when you’re away?
The food, the people, nature, the weather.
Is there a project of yours you’re particularly proud of, or you feel epitomises what you want people to take away from your work?
I particularly like my editorial projects in Japan because it was all new, and in some projects, I had a lot of freedom with location and I was provided with very well-organised productions. Also, my travelling photos that I sometimes post to Instagram are some of my favourite personal work.
I understand that you prefer working with film over digital cameras, is there an aspect to film photography you’re drawn to?
For me it’s mainly about the texture and colours, but there is also the physicality of the medium and not knowing exactly how the photo will look so every time is a surprise!
Looking forward to the rest of the year, are there any projects you’re looking forward to – or a subject you’d really like to shoot?
I’m working in a book based on my travels to Japan, but due to the pandemic it was paused. I hope I can keep doing it this year.
See Tequila Don Julio’s Celebrating 80 page for more.