University of Texas at Austin alumna, Elizabeth Chambers Hammer, spoke exclusively with ORANGE Magazine on Monday about how she used her journalism background to become a culinary entrepreneur and influencer, and how she “made it” in the media world.
Story by Sophie Muir
Photos by Maya Coplin
“I learned how to communicate at UT, I learned how to communicate at the J-School,” says Chambers who graduated in 2004. “My foundation was found here.”
Chambers wears many hats: she’s a mother, tastemaker, journalist, and the owner and founder of the award-winning BIRD bakery. To some it may seem like she really does it all. When sitting down with Jacqui Briddell, ORANGE Magazine’s managing editor, Chambers talked about everything from self-care to sugar cookies, as well as her experience studying broadcast journalism.
“I think it’s a really beautiful thing that I can do news and cupcakes!” Chambers said with a smile.
Chambers’ Texas bakeries revolve around memories of her mother and grandmother. They are an homage to these incredibly strong, business-minded women in her life, she says. Chambers discussed her plans to open another BIRD Bakery in Denver, the city where she grew up and where her mother lives today, and shared with us her fantasy of high school students visiting her bakery instead of the local sandwich shop that was once her go-to lunch spot.
“I love the nostalgia, I love the story, I love the full circle,” she says.
With existing locations in both San Antonio and Dallas, Denver seemed to be the obvious choice for Chambers.
“I basically open wherever I have free childcare,” she joked, explaining that she has family in all bakery locations.
Chambers said she tries to dedicate at least two days out of the month to spending time alone with her husband - actor Armie Hammer - by getting away from their busy lives in Los Angeles. But when it’s time to work, Chambers told Briddell that she tries to be present when doing one specific thing.
“Give everything its time and its place,” she says.
In terms of personal brand building, Chambers gets it. Her Instagram, filled with family photos, luxurious vacations and award shows, almost seems too good to be true.
“I’m a control freak, I could never turn that over to somebody!” Chambers says about managing both her own personal and BIRD Bakery social media accounts.Be authentic, know your brand, know yourself.”
Chambers had attended the 2019 Oscars the night before and was now sitting in Belo Center for New Media reflecting on her time at UT just hours after she spent the night on an airplane from California to Texas.
“I think that a lot of times, especially as a college student, I want my whole life to be figured out,” Briddell says. “Having someone that did the same things that we’re doing now and seeing that they were okay and they were successful is super, super powerful.”
Although Chambers is a celebrity amongst many other titles, she gave advice like a mother, told stories like a journalist, and brought everybody their own longhorn-shaped sugar cookie as a reminder to follow their passions.
“Identify what you want,” she says, “and don’t stop until you get it.”