Working in a creative industry is something I’ve been passionate about from a very young age. For as long as I remember, I’ve been obsessed with the film and tv industry, the way it works, and those who contribute towards making it so special.
I’d spend a ridiculous amount of hours in my early teens watching interviews with film directors and actors, so much so that my head is still filled with pointless information about pretty much every film from that era.
My teenage dream job was always to work in the cinema. I just couldn’t imagine anything better than being surrounded by new movies every single day which I not only got to see first, but for free!
It was in 2011 that this dream was realised, when I started working at the Vue cinema in London’s West End during the BFI Film Festival. It took a good two years of working in the cinema to realise it wasn’t the dream job I’d anticipated, but nevertheless, it was a good way to earn money and be surrounded by film during university.
I soon came to realise what really pushed me in the direction of media from a young age wasn’t the film or the tv shows, or even the photography, but the people behind them; particularly, the female creators.
It goes without saying that the teams behind the Film & TV industry have been heavily male centric in the past. However, that has been slowly changing for some years now, and I feel fortunate to be living in an era where we’re seeing possibly our strongest, most significant shift in creative culture and representation within that culture. Being part of an all female design team, it is a truly inspiring thing to witness and be a part of.
As we approach International Women’s Day, we’d like to highlight some leading ladies that have inspired both our work and creative flare over the past year.
Phoebe Waller Bridge
I first discovered Phoebe’s work with her groundbreaking comedy series ‘Fleabag’. For me, this encapsulates a rare form of artistic honesty, and I’m obsessed with this kind of dry-witted comedy. I can’t help but relate to characters throughout the series despite them not always being the most likeable.
Our female lead, ‘Fleabag’, talks to the camera throughout; addressing the audience in a clever and engaging way which never grows tiresome. It’s been a long time since I’ve really enjoyed a British TV series but this got me straight away and I can’t wait to see what Phoebe does next.
I vividly remember watching the Academy Award-winning Wasp (2003) during my second year of university. The 23 minute film connected with me in a way that no other short had before. The British working-class aesthetic was so relevant to me and even though I did not realise it at the time, the fact that it was directed by a woman had made a lasting impression on me. Andrea Arnold influenced the rest of my scripts at university and encouraged social realist activism within my own film-making.
I remember feeling so happy to finally watch a relatable, relevant coming-of-age film, that was written and directed by a woman. Lady Bird (2017) was beautiful, funny and poignant; add to the fact that this was a directorial debut, Greta’s work received strong critical acclaim. It’s important for there to be films in mainstream cinema written and told from a natural female perspective. When young girls are able to see relatable, imperfect and unfiltered versions of females on the big screen it resonates with them and encourages individuality and female empowerment. Greta is a great example of this and is hopefully leading the way for future aspiring female directors.
I actually wrote my entire dissertation – ‘The Rise of The Ladies: An exploration of female Representation of Women in Hollywood’ about Dunham’s hit series ‘Girls’ in my final year of University. At the young age of 33, Dunham has already achieved so much in her career as an actress, writer, podcaster, director and producer. ‘Girls’ wasn’t even the start but, for me, it was where I discovered Dunham’s work. You’d be right in saying that Dunham isn’t for everyone, but I continue to find her work fascinating, thought-provoking, and refreshingly honest.
I’m quickly learning that a lot of my creative inspirations stem from the Comedy genre. Such is my admiration for Kate McKinnon, that she has the rare honour of being a constant in my ‘Five celebrities you’d have as a dinner’ guest list. You’re welcome, Kate.
McKinnon is best known for her work in the cast of Saturday Night Live, as well as films such as ‘The Spy Who Dumped Me’ and the all-female ‘Ghostbusters’ remake. It’s pretty much impossible to watch Mckinnon in anything and not crack a smile. Her quick-witted humour and creative, comedic imagination place her amongst the most sought after comics on the planet.
After an incredible 2019, Jodie Comer is now a global, household name known for her award-winning performances, great sense of humour and all-round charming scouseness. It’s great to see a scouse girl making it big; adding to the city’s ever-growing list of working class heroes. Jodie was made for the role of Villanelle in Killing Eve and has quickly become one of the most empowering female characters we have ever seen on screen.
I first came across Sorelle when I attended the ‘Power of Video’ conference in Belfast a couple of years back. If you’re not following her on Instagram (@sorellamore), you should be. Sorelle travels the world working as a photographer- running the global ‘Advanced Selfie’ network. Her photography is bold, beautiful and fearless; inspiring people to be brave, expressive and body confident. Sorelle also has a YouTube channel where she not only shares a lot of travel videos but also photographical insights such as ‘How To Pose in Photos’
It’s no doubt that Reese is the Queen of Instagram and pretty much the busiest woman in the business right now. Whether she’s starring in films, writing, creating, running her book club, appearing in YouTube series or fangirling over Beyonce on Instagram, her passion is a driving force behind her success. Working on 100 projects at once is very much what we love seeing as creatives, and watching someone like Reese surpass expectations so consistently is inspiring.
Aisling has had a strong presence on British TV for a number of years now but, for me, her recent tv series, ‘This Way Up’, has been an introduction to the type of rich portfolio we can expect to see from the Comedian moving forward. The show tackles tough and complex situations, such as mental health and relationships, with a level of respect and integrity rarely seen in mainstream media. It is in the writing of the series that we gain some insight into Aisling as a person- her values, thoughts, feelings, and her ability to express them in her work. Needless to say, she’s very talented.
Aisling has recently been spreading her talents across the pond, working with Paul Rudd on Netflix series ‘Living With Yourself’ which we definitely hope to see more of!
At just 25 years old, Saoirse is the second youngest four-time Oscar nominee ever. Since the age of 13, she has been demonstrating her phenomenal acting ability throughout a number of films, whilst simultaneously managing the fame and continuing to lead a somewhat normal life outside of the spotlight. She is aware of how vulnerable young people can be within the industry and even mentors and protects young actors who she meets on set. She is a vocal advocate for the #MeToo movement and often speaks out in favour of equal pay between all genders.