An entrepreneur, an artist and an editor walk into a bar,” creative agency founder and native Miamian Farryn Weiner jokes over Zoom on a bright January afternoon. She’s wryly referring to herself (the entrepreneur) and the others on the call: her younger sister, painter Austyn Weiner, and her twin, fashion editor Amanda Alagem. The three powerhouse sisters are giddily riffing off one another—this, in spite of their copious personal press, being their first shared interview.
You might recognize Farryn from one of her ascending career accomplishments covered by Time (one of 2013’s most important Twitter feeds), Forbes (2016’s 30 under 30 list) or Elle, or from her Brides cover of her wedding in 2018, or from listening to either season of her podcast, Farrynheight. Perhaps you remember Austyn’s painted portraits of Cara Delevingne and Gigi Hadid, have worn the 2019 Each x Other collection patterned with her prints in silhouettes constructed using her own body, have visited her solo shows in Los Angeles, New York, Miami or London or have seen her work gracing the walls of the homes of Hadid, Anita Ko and Philip Niarchos, to name a few. And maybe you’re familiar with Amanda from the street style photos documenting her fashion week looks, or from one of the innumerable editorials she has produced in her tenure as accessories director (now contributing editor) at Harper’s Bazaar.
On this particular afternoon, the sisters are utterly alive in their own realities, each with dark, focused eyes. From her Frogtown studio in Los Angeles—amidst canvases she’s readying for forthcoming shows in Seoul and Milan—Austyn wears an oversized orange and navy striped polo shirt and delivers rapscallion responses with an elastic arm span. “I was very clearly the jester,” she says of their sisterly dynamic, impetuously tossing her blonde waves back and forth, every cell seeming to vibrate with reserves of creative output.
Across town, Amanda is at home with her two sons (Henry and Noah) and husband Jon, who is co-founder of the agency Harper+Scott, in a plush navy turtleneck. Her eye for jewelry is apparent in the charms layered on her chest and the large gold watch revealed as her hand delicately cups her chin. Her front row poise is exhibited in the strict part of her cleanly pulled back hair and anti-gravitational posture. Meanwhile, at Miami Beach’s Faena hotel, Farryn sits back in a sumptuously-sleeved white mock neck sweater, her chestnut hair cascading down shoulders that broaden with ease while her sisters take the floor then lean forward when she offers her perspective.
In their excitement, they respectfully defer to one another (“This sounds like a Farryn story” and “What Amanda won’t say herself is…”). Though it’s a public interview, their happy reverence is practiced, if not surprising. Successful families are often the fodder of great dramas, mythologized and stereotyped in many of the same ways as successful women: as catty, back-stabbing and Machiavellian in their scarcity mentality. It’s an all-too-rare opportunity to write about three sisters who stand shoulder-to- shoulder at great heights within notoriously competitive industries.
Amanda and Farryn were born to entrepreneurs Arthur and Sunny Weiner in North Miami in 1986, with a brother, Chris, who is 10 years their senior. Drawn to Miami by the glamorous energy of the 1980s, Arthur cultivated his fledgling luxury real estate business, Arthur Weiner Enterprises, while remaining a creative at heart. “My dad is a piano player and poet,” says Farryn. Sunny designed clothing for Ellen Tracy, Tommy Hilfiger and more. Four and a half years later, Austyn arrived. Amanda, recounting one of her mom’s stories, in which Farryn kicked in the womb while she remained peacefully still, says, “The three of us were ourselves since the beginning.”
Their father in particular pushed a work ethic that has shaped and nurtured each of their respective lives. “There was no option but to work really hard, be the best, figure out who you were… from as young as I can remember,” says Austyn. While they were invited to listen in on their dad’s business calls, they understood success as an expansive term. “Arts and culture were as important to my parents and their definition of growth as anything else was.” Experimentation was celebrated. Interesting was as valuable as right. Amanda honed her visual taste through art and Farryn found storytelling in performing. A natural observer as the youngest, Austyn felt an early ease around a camera. “Our parents did a great job at subtly defining each of our lanes so… we all had a place and a space to thrive,” says Farryn.
If their professional arrivals happened separately, they were nearly simultaneous. At the 2011 Michael Kors runway show, Austyn was photographing backstage. Farryn had sold the Kors team on the need for social media, becoming their first Global Director of Digital and Social Communications and bringing the show to Instagram shortly following the medium’s inception. Amanda, just about to be plucked by Harper’s Bazaar, was sitting in the audience. “Austyn had every right to be there. Amanda had every right to be there and I had every right to be there,” says Farryn. “The fact that we were sisters was actually the coincidence.”
There, Austyn met the supermodels who would become the subjects of her canvases, Farryn gained a reputation as an intrepid brand storyteller with her finger on the pulse and Amanda would land her self-proclaimed “dream job,” where her exacting eye would be distributed to tens of thousands. At a moment in New York when culture was shifting, their community was defining what it would look, feel, sound and taste like. “It was this exciting burst of real creative energy all around us,” says Austyn. “Everything came together and allowed us the opportunity to flourish and support each other.”
At music festivals, New Year’s Eve parties, on family vacations and through hand-written notes and group chats, their conversations grew to include stocks and travel planning, as well as personal and professional problem solving. “The things I’m tackling in my studio can be directly applied to, or solved through, some of the ways Farryn is thinking about expansion and business,” says Austyn. “There’s this weird smoothie of information that one might think would be useless that actually has let us serve one another.”
In pandemic quarantine, they relied on each other and their values. “When the going gets tough, the Weiners get going,” says Farryn, who launched into the storytelling medium of the moment, podcasts, and doubly expanded her currently all-women firm of the same name to include 30 employees over four continents, all with a leadership style she refers to as “older sister.” A coffee table book on mental health, inspired by one of the company’s Monday meeting rituals, is in development (Austyn and Amanda will both make an appearance).
Anyone who passed through Harper’s in Manhattan’s Upper East Side in the late spring of 2021 has seen journalistic footage of Austyn’s quarantine. Her Instagram stories stream next to the gestural canvases she produced while meditating on “survival.” She painted prolifically throughout the first year, putting on one of her most celebrated shows to date, “Head,” in the garage of her one-bedroom Los Angeles apartment, while acting as her own gallerist. “It’s when I realized I was really an artist,” she says incredulously. “It was the truest me I’ve ever been.”
With Farryn by her side, Amanda gave birth to her second son during quarantine and mastered the Herculean shift of crafting magazine-worthy editorials over Zoom. She and Jon relocated to Los Angeles, empowered by the freedom of remote work and encouraged by the flourishing creative scene.
You could call it all experimentation. “In our family, you say what you mean. There’s radical love and radical honesty. And I think that allowed us to be real in who we are,” says Farryn. Of course, having an entrepreneur, an artist or an editor on speed dial never hurts.