Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Jessica Zanotti

Photo Courtesy Of Jessica Zanotti

WHERE WERE YOU BORN AND RAISED AND WHERE DO YOU PRESENTLY LIVE?
I was born in Orange County, California and am currently living in the OC again temporarily. Taking a break from my 10 years of living in Los Angeles.

WHAT DID YOU WISH TO BE GROWING UP AND WHAT ARE SOME ANECDOTES FROM YOUR CHILDHOOD?
Growing up I was a gymnast and wanted to be in the Olympics. But then I got sick of gymnastics and I honestly can't recall any real dream after that until I went to college. In college, I wanted to become a magazine editor. As a child, I was incredibly stubborn and shy. I recently learned that I told my family that I would not speak a word in pre-school, I would only speak once I got to kindergarten. And apparently, I did just that. I didn’t utter one word the entire year in pre-school. The teachers came to my house because of this and I would speak to them there but not at school. My mom thinks it was a control thing, I didn't like people pushing me. Still don't. Working on it though.

WHY VISUAL ARTIST?
I don't like putting myself in a box, conformity and saying I’m one thing doesn't work for me. I call myself a visual artist now because it’s broad enough to fit a lot of titles under its umbrella. I am a wardrobe stylist, set stylist, art director, and creative director. I’m about to take on an interior design project. I love setting up pretty dinners. I am a creator and love taking on new projects and challenges. I have a feeling I'll be picking up a camera soon. I would love to try costume design someday. The possibilities are endless. Creativity is in my blood and an essential part of my life. My mother is creative and great at drawing and crafting. Her mother was a pattern maker and sewer. And her father had the most beautiful calligraphy.

HOW DID YOU PREPARE FOR YOUR LINE OF WORK?
I went to The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising and majored in Merchandise Product Development. I worked for two years in clothing production for Elizabeth and James and realized sitting at a desk and creating time and action calendars was absolutely not for me. I quit and started interning for fashion magazines and PR companies. At my internships, I met stylists and started assisting them on jobs (I didn't even know styling was a job at the time so it was a cool discovery). That progressed and I began assisting big stylists full time on all sorts of jobs: fashion editorials, commercials, advertising, celebrity styling. Working with all kinds of stylists and in all realms of styling taught me a lot about organizational skills for shoots, introduced me to PR showrooms and designers, and the logistics/politics behind it all. Something no one can really prepare you for though is finding your own creativity and voice. When I branched off on my own that became my journey. It took a lot of trying new things, exploring, and pushing myself through the doubts. In a way, I’m still on that journey but have become far more confident in my work. I've relaxed into my vision and I’m starting to see the payoff.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE A DAY IN THE LIFE OF?
It's always different, every single day. Every couple weeks there’s a new project. If I'm styling a shoot, it's researching and reaching out to designers, setting up pulls, driving around all day doing pulls, being on set, or doing returns. If it's art direction or set design, Im typically scouring thrift stores and Good Will's. I’m always on Pinterest creating mood boards when I concept a shoot, that's the beginning of any project for me- creating a mood board. One day I may be writing for my blog. One week I might be shooting myself for a Pinterest campaign. Always different. Things that are non-negotiable in my days are yoga and meditation. And tea. Lots and lots of tea.

WHO OR WHAT HAS INFLUENCED YOU THE MOST?
Grace Coddington. I have always admired her work and her strong yet playful personality. In “The September Issue”, I love how she talks shit to Anna Wintour and isn't afraid of her. It's amazing. My friends are very inspirational and influential as well. I’m surrounded by so many creatives who continue to make amazing things and fight for their creativity/vision and the life they want. It's so inspiring to be around. Visually what influences me the most are movies, art, and travel. Traveling is so important for my creative growth. I visited Italy for the first time four years ago and it remains to be one of my favorite places in the world. There's something about it that moves me straight to my core. It inspires me more than anywhere else I have traveled to.

DO YOU PURSUE ANY SPECIFIC THEMES THROUGH YOUR IMAGES?
I don't actively pursue specific themes, as much as specific themes are part of who I am or what I’m going through at the moment. Femininity and feminism seems to be a theme that remains consistent throughout my work though.

WHAT MOTIVATES YOU?
Creating the life I love for the wellbeing of myself and those I love.

WHAT DO YOU DO FOR LEISURE AND PLEASURE?
Yoga and meditation. Reading. Journaling. Hiking. Vintage Shopping. Wellness retreats. Travel. Dancing.

ON A FINAL NOTE?
I'll leave you with one of my favorite quotes by Ira Glass. I always look back at this quote when I hit rough patches while growing in my creativity: “Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”

If Loving Is Wrong

Photo Courtsey Of Erin Benach 

I've had several friends, family members, staff at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and a lawyer, yes! Michael Klarman, explain the complex system of segregational and Jim Crow laws existing in The South, pre-Civil Rights Movement. Although The North had its own set of convolutions pertaining to African-Americans, "You could be high but not close", in contrast to The South where "You could be close but not high"; black and white folks the Confederate States of America, both ante and postbellum had a history of living within proximity. This "communal" living in turn gave birth to its own set of informal rules adding to the confusion of what was considered legitmate in the eyes of the people. Be close, but don't you dare get married, was the order of the day.

It's in this unsettling setting that couple, Mildred Jeter (Ruth Neggar) and Richard Loving (Joel Edgerton) find themselves in the true to life drama, "Loving" (2016), when they in 1958 drive to Washington D.C. to get married, fully aware that they're violating the Racial Integrity Act of their home state Virginia. Shortly after their road trip the newly weds are hauled off to prison where they face a 25 years sentence for their defiant deed.

Mrs. Loving is expecting when the couple is conditionally exiled after the judge suspends their stipulated punishment. The birth place of their first child marks their second act of open resistiance and subseqeuntly heralds their third.

Written and directed by Jeff Nichols, the period piece "Loving" is a pitch-perfect movie that moves you without ever raising its voice. Every abuse and agony is implicit in the characters' silent and subtle gesticulations, including the antagonists', too. In one scene at the county jail, Sheriff Brooks, played by Martin Csokas, almost empathetically excuses Lovings's swirling ways based on the fact that his father didn't know any better.

However, past events do not excuse the fact that Brooks is a racist separationist because his father probably was one, too.

"Divorce her?" Loving ponders when informed in a local bar that he, unlike his black peers, has a choice and an easy way out of his predicament.

"Tell the judge I love my wife."

Richard is right.

Friday, December 2, 2016

The Costumes

Illustration By Erin Benach

Friday, November 25, 2016

Rules?

Image Courtesy Of Jamie Nelson 

There are none.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Jasmin Savoy Brown

Photo Courtesy Of Jasmin Savoy Brown

WHERE WERE YOU BORN AND RAISED AND WHERE DO YOU PRESENTLY LIVE?
I was born in Alameda, California, raised in Springfield, Oregon (though I sometimes tell people I’m a New Yorker because I feel that in my heart), and currently I am shooting in Wales, UK for the next three months but I have a home base in Korea Town in Los Angeles.

WHAT’S UP IN YOUR CITY?
Not sure what's up in Wales to be honest. I just moved here three days ago! But in Los Angeles, lots is up. I'm very proud of my city. It's progressive and forward thinking, full of love and liberation. I am surrounded by beautiful souls - artists, activists, homemakers, business people, several different ethnicities, religious beliefs, sexual orientations and identities... All of these incredible and different people inhabiting a shared space. It's quite extraordinary.

WHAT WERE YOUR CHILDHOOD ASPIRATIONS?
I always knew I'd be an actor/singer. As a child, I also dreamed of being an astronaut (I still dream of venturing into space, and plan to one day), becoming a teacher (I still love teaching), having a family (definitely on my to do list), falling in love, and changing the world. As I've grown older, the aspiration of changing the world has felt more a dream than an aspiration, especially with what's happening in the world lately - but I've come to realize changing the world must begin small scale. If I can make someone smile today, or better yet, show someone love, I’m changing the world. Love gives way to love gives way to love. It will make it’s way all around the world and back again.

WHY ACTING?
It's in my bones. There is nothing else to me on this earth that compares to storytelling. If I couldn't be acting I may as well not be alive. Dramatic, but true. I love that I get to say all of the things I want to say but don't have the courage to in real life. Acting has made me more courageous. I love that I'm given a glimpse into the minds of people - giving me new perspectives and a deeper pool of love. Acting has made me a better person. Through acting I get to be everything I want to be but don't have time for. Acting lets me play! And I love touching people, making them think, and making them laugh. Acting lets me share my experience with you.

WHAT IS YOUR PROCESS?
I read the script several times over, research everything I don't know and everything I should know more of, find the places in me that are the same as the character, and the places in me that are different, and then bridge the gaps. I then create memories and backstory, history for the character. I don't say a single line without knowing what it means in plain English, knowing what it means to her, knowing what it means to me. I spend time with her alone in my room, and on walks, and drives. And then, I show up on set, breathe, and let it all go.

WHO DO YOU RANK AMONG YOUR FAVORITE THESPIANS AND WHAT GENRE OF FILMS ARE YOU MOST DRAWN TO?
Of course, the great Heather Headley and Audra McDonald. I recently saw Heather in “The Color Purple” on Broadway - it was the best show I’ve ever seen. Extraordinary. I fell in love with Danielle Brooks that night! I already love her in “Orange Is the New Black”, so to then see her as ‘Sofia' blew me out of the water. She killed it. And while we're talking about “The Color Purple”, you all already knew Cynthia Erivo is fierce. I am most drawn to sad, dark, depressing, slow films. Ha! As well as the underdog rising story, and the coming of age story. Some of my favorite films are “Love and Basketball”, “An Education”, and “Stand By Me”.

CAN WE TALK ABOUT “THE LEFTOVERS”, HOW IS IT WORKING WITH THE CAST?
Working with the cast of “The Leftovers” is an absolute dream. I feel such an opportunity doesn't come around all that often. Not only is everyone exceptionally talented, they are all kind, loving, giving, hilarious people. Nothing compares to that cast and they have my heart.

AND YOU’RE ABOUT TO EMBARK ON A NEW PROJECT BASED ON THE FICTIONAL LIFE OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, WHAT ASPECTS OF SHAKESPEARE’S WORK APPEALS TO YOU THE MOST?
I love that Shakespeare's work was so feminist for his time - he had an extensive number of female characters, many of whom were strong, fierce, either independent or working to be so. I'm in awe of his mastery of language. Every line of dialogue is a line of music — speaking the words feels like eating chocolate or singing a beautiful song.

HOW DO YOU SPEND A DAY AWAY FROM WORK?
I create a day of work.

WHAT IS A FUN FACT ABOUT YOU THAT PEOPLE MAY NOT BE AWARE OF?
My middle name (Savoy) is a brand of toilet paper!