How long have you been directing music videos?
What music video was the most influential in your decision to become a director?
Missy Elliott’s “The Rain.” I was just a kid and had never seen or heard anything like it in my life—the imagery, colors, the choreography. At the time I had an obsession with recording videos on VHS, so I recorded it and watched it over and over again. I’ve always been silly so Missy’s antics resonated with me. I felt like I was watching an animated black girl superhero, but she was a real person dancing around in a garbage bag, so of course I wanted to dance around in a garbage bag. I wanted a Jeep. I wanted to make videos like that.
Who is your favorite director?
I love the works of Michel Gondry, Spike Jonze, Melina Matsoukas, Ava DuVernay, Gina Prince-Bythewood, Hype Williams, Alfred Hitchcock, Chris Nolan, Wes Anderson, Floria Sigismondi, and more.
How do you describe the aesthetic of your visuals?
At the moment, it’s quirky, colorful, and offbeat, in a cinematic sense. I love beauty, fashion, symmetry, and negative space, but I also enjoy defying conventions. I love unusual narratives.
Which of your videos are you proudest of?
The video I shot for Bosco, “Castles.” The budget was challenging, but it was a fun collaborative effort. I incorporated ideas I’d been wanting to shoot for years, and I directed, edited, and produced it, so I was just happy I pulled it all off.
What is the greatest challenge that you’ve overcome in your career?
Trying to convince artists, labels, and brands that I’m a great director without the actual work to back up my claim [laughs]. Basically, you need to already have great videos to get opportunities to make more great videos. That’s the conundrum that I’ve faced in the past, and still do, to some degree. Luckily, I’ve worked with some cool people along the way who believed in me and my ideas enough to give me those first opportunities.
What’s your advice for women who are pursuing careers in fields in which they are underrepresented?
Stay focused on the work—nothing else matters. Be amazing at what you’re doing because you’re going to have to be better than the boys to even be considered, unfortunately. Ideas come and go, so don’t get hung up on ideas you’ve had that somebody else executes, come up with more ideas. Really hone your craft, pick up transferable and technical skills—for instance, if you want to be a director, learn how to edit, shoot, or color grade. Get your skills up—you’re going to need them.