I live between NYC and Manila. Manila has incredible energy, especially amongst the young creative innovators. When you’re in Manila you always feel like you’re on the brink of something really great, like you’re on a conveyor belt approaching something that has the potential to make real change. Some of the smartest, most informed people who have guided me through my career are based in the Philippines and each of them is so passionate about putting the country on the map as a leader in design and the arts. NYC needs no introduction – it’s the space that nurtures my creative side. My New York is the inside of a museum; quiet, individual and enriching.
When you’re in Manila you always feel like you’re on the brink of something really great, like you’re on a conveyor belt approaching something that has the potential to make real change.
It wasn’t a clear path, it’s in my nature to want to try everything and for a good minute, I was pursuing a career in banking. I worked multiple jobs and I’m grateful I did because each one taught me something I use today. True enough, I reached a point of numbness and I quit my job and booked a one-way ticket to the Philippines without knowing anyone. I started working in tv, familiarising myself with production and using the experience to try to shed my shy self. I then started working in the fashion industry because I was chasing this idea of story and its connection to an end goal – the consumer, the audience. I like to take an autodidactic approach to learning and picked up a camera and immersed myself in the many different elements of production, business, and the arts.
The term ‘creative’ is so ambiguous but so wonderful because your identity as a creative is directly related to your identity as a person – which means every creative has something unique to offer.
I’ve been very blessed to have been working within a creative space for the last 9 years or so, surrounded by amazing talent that I could constantly learn from – the term ‘creative’ is so ambiguous but so wonderful because your identity as a creative is directly related to your identity as a person – which means every creative has something unique to offer. You choose how creative you are and in what context. It’s a very malleable term and one that should be celebrated for its ability to shift and evolve. Still to this day because of the industrialism the pursuit of a career in the arts can be difficult for some to understand but it should be championed – this ability to imagine and reimagine. It’s a beautiful thing.
There are a lot of empowering stories that need to be told by women and that idea and potential is incredibly exciting.
Oh my, so many. I can’t pick one. I’d love to pick Naomi Alderman’s, Phyllis Chesler‘s and Zadie Smith’s brains. I would shadow Ava Duvernay and get the coffees on her set just to get close to seeing her work. I would love to work with auteur filmmaker Lav Diaz – he has done an amazing job of using cinema to empower the Filipino people. I would love to be in a room with Malala Yousafzai, Greta Thunberg, AOC, Michelle Obama, Joan Didion, and Gloria Steinem. So many I could go on…
I would look up to the women that transform, that rebel and evolve and because I grew up quite sheltered and from a small, quiet city I would find them in books. In stories and novels, I would search for the strengths in both the antagonist and the protagonist, because let’s be real – we can be both on a daily basis. Some of the books that I still remember today are those like Little Women, The Secret Garden, To Kill a Mockingbird and even Nancy Drew.
It can be challenging but also really enriching to engage in conversations about film with men – some are amazing and fully support women in the arts, others are dismissive and would prefer to talk specs with the man sitting next to me. It’s okay though, it’s not anything any woman in any field hasn’t already experienced. I look at it as a marker, a pushpin on the map of my own journey so when we’ve achieved what we want to we can look back at how far we’ve come. There’s room for everyone.
I am not where I want to be just yet but as long as I’m educating myself and committing myself to self-education I know I have something to offer.
Never stop being curious. Be obsessive, read, research, assimilate, immerse. The output objectively speaking is the vessel but the depth comes through knowledge and depth of understanding. I am not where I want to be just yet but as long as I’m educating myself and committing myself to self-education I know I have something to offer.
Videos and images courtesy of Kim Jones.
Special thanks to Colin Dancel and Huawei.
September 25, 2019