SUPERVIRGO

Only 3% of creative directors in the United States are women. That’s a very low number - but it’s not because female creatives don’t exist. They’re not being given chances.

I remember being 20 and showing up to a photography meet-up at my college. It was a roomful of guys who wanted to talk about how expensive their equipment was. One of them asked me if I was looking for my sorority meeting. I remember being 23 - going to a modeling agency to speak about test shoots. The first thing I was told was casting calls were on a different day. I wasn’t there to get signed. I remember being on an all-male set and a man jokes I should be in front of the camera. He probably thinks it’s a compliment – that I should be flattered, but if it’s a compliment; it’s a back-handed one. Put her in front of a camera because what does she know about being behind it?

My ah-ha moment came when I standing in a room full of men only to realize I’ve done almost every single job required to put this campaign together. I’ve been the stylist, the hair person, the manicurist, the art director, the photographer, the content marketer, the model. When I first started working, I was a one-woman show; because I had to be. Because a woman has to work twice as hard to get half as far. Because in order to stand in the same room as all these men – I had to learn seven people’s jobs.

I ignored it when I was younger, trudged on. But I’ve since come to understand that in doing so I’ve added to the problem. Be who you needed when you were younger, the quote says. I can’t trudge on any longer. What young female creatives need is to know they’re not alone. That when you stand – it’s not just for yourself, it’s for your sisters, it’s for the girl you were when you were 15, when you were 20, when you were 25. It’s for the woman you are. It’s for the woman you will become. 

Which is why I cannot wait to share with you the project I am working on with my dear friend Lauren Naylor, founder of SuperVirgo – a cool platform for female creatives to connect and create. Coming soon – watch this space. 

The takeaway? Yes, we are outnumbered. No, we’re not outmatched. 



A LOVE LETTER TO PARIS


A close friend of mine is about to head off to one of my favorite cities in the world. But he only has three days to spend it in. So he writes me and asks:

Is three days in Paris worth it?

My answer? Any time in Paris is worth it.

Loving Paris is probably the most unoriginal thing an artist could do. But I loved it long before I ever was an artist – and definitely long after. I was conscious of it as a child – this supreme fascination of a city I had only seen in the glossy pages of magazines and inside dusty history books. I saw a black and white photo of Kate Moss in a Parisian cafe and was never the same after. 

Maybe it was because I was positive I had lived there in a past life – if I had to guess, the 1920s amongst the American expats like Hemingway and Stein. Maybe because my favorite film of all times (The Dreamers) takes place in it. Maybe because my homeland used to be a French occupied colony. I’ve always thought of Saigon as a grungier, messier Paris – some streets are cobblestone, the motorbikes are aplenty, it’s culturally expected for you to smoke, the Vietnamese banh mi is served on a French baguette, and there’s even a replica of the Notre Dame. 

The truth of the matter is; Paris gets me. From the effortless well-dressed people to the copious amounts of wine consumed, to the small shops opened to the wee hours of the morning, to the sexual liberation; it just all made sense. I grew up a stranger in a strange land. And even as a child, entrenched in a small community that spoke the same language as my native homeland – I’ve never quite felt like I belonged much. But I felt it in Paris.

To date, this remains the only city other than Saigon that I’ve returned to numerous times. So Paris, here’s to you. If New York is my sister, you are my soulmate. 



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