Currently reminiscing on the hot, hot summer's day spent with T back in January as the bleak winter months roll in. I am laying in bed as the rain falls heavily down on my roof above, these colourful photographs blocking out any signs of winter blues.
A photographic love letter commending the Summer months of 2017/2018,
a messy accumulation of memories.
Angourie was someone that I've wanted to photograph for a while now as I had been reading her writings/work a few months previously and seen some of the films she had starred in. Partly also because the epitome of girlhood and the ideas evolving femininity has inspired a lot of my creativity lately, subsequently making me fall in love with the recently released take of Sofia Coppolas 'The Beguiled', in which Angourie was apart of. All these concepts of the special relationships between girls, the underlying support from women altogether and the magic that women can produce together only really came to me as an overwhelming wave of importance/realisation this year, but in fact I had been shown it my whole life through films, books and friendships.
What really sparked my imagination with Angourie however, was reading her essay about the portrayal of gender in the media, and ultimately how women in the art form of film and television are not represented equally to men. The examples of females in Hollywoods top films are commonly portrayed as wives, girlfriends and have been situated in less empowering roles. “Beliefs about women’s roles in society are influenced by the fact that movie watchers rarely see “a female superhero or a female professor or person who makes it through exciting challenges and masters them”, said Ellen Tejle, a cinema director in Sodermalm, Sweden said about the Bechdel ratings test. “The goal is to see more female stories and perspectives on cinema screens.”
In addition to the lack of women being employed behind the scenes (directing, writing, producing etc) of these films leads to the deprivation of gender bias in the nomination of awards. Which doesn't really add up as research has suggested that women buy 50% of movie tickets (sold in the U.S). Movies and media are only a branch of the gender inequality found in the stems of different industries such as politics, medicine and the military force. This doesn't have to be the societal standards though. Lets be the generation of improvement and empowerment. It all starts with change, action, education and sharing. and that can start now! As Emma Hall writes in her play, We May Have to Choose; ‘Whether it is gained from a book, a teacher, or a film, education is power. Power is unequal. Action is everything.
I thought Emma Halls quote resonated with me in particular, often you can feel stuck and unsure when it comes to taking action and spreading awareness of social justice issues, but what better way then to portray it through art/imagery. Angourie I believed to be the perfect muse of this series, as she is a female in film herself and on screen that I found to be incredibly inspiring, not just for her talent but for her insightful mind and thoughts. From the very first moment of meeting her, and our onward hours I could tell she was the sort of person who just reflects goodness, light, warmth and beautiful words. I thought to myself most of the afternoon; "our world needs more people like you!".
"MOVIES CAN INFLUENCE CHANGE IN OUR SOCIETY, AS WELL AS COMMENT ON ITS CURRENT STATE. I THINK IT'S SO POWERFUL AND BEAUTIFUL, AND I FEEL SO PRIVILEGED TO BE A PART OF THIS STORY TELLING".
I think we can both agree that film is one of the most powerful art forms created, from your perspective, what impacts do you believe movies have on society and our world? The fantastic thing about a movie is that it can drive our world forward to a better and more accepting society. We can dream the impossible, and create worlds in which anything can happen. Movies are both a reflection of our culture and a cause of it. Isn’t that amazing? Movies can influence change in our society, as well as comment on its current state. I think it’s so powerful and beautiful, and I feel so privileged to be a part of this story telling.
The Beguiled by far has to be one of the most visually beautiful films I have ever seen all year. It must have been pretty amazing to be a part of. What was the most memorable part of the whole experience? The most memorable thing about it was definitely living in a corset for almost two months! All of my costumes had to be worn with a corset. It’s a very odd feeling to be sitting in a chair playing candy crush while wearing a corset and 19th century clothing!
Is there a dream role of yours that you’ve always wanted (or want) to play? I’d really love to play Emma in an adaptation of Emma, by Jane Austen. It’s one of my favourite books, and I love all the film and miniseries versions of it! Clueless too, as it is my feel-good movie.
Do you find that you are more drawn to playing characters that have similar traits and notions to you or do you prefer to put an act on for someone completely different to yourself? I think as an actor it’s always fun to play someone very far removed from yourself. You get to pretend to be something you’re not, and play around with it. However, I think it’s also easier to play someone similar to myself, because I can understand the character’s motives and actions better. It’s always fun to do a mixture of both, I think. And no matter how different the character’s life is from mine, I always try to pick out similarities and find things to relate to.
The cast for the Beguiled was (almost) all female. Having worked with icons such as Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst and Elle Fanning and then being directed by the feminist idol herself Sofia Coppola. Was there a sense of empowerment on set? Definitely! It was wonderful to be surrounded by women, especially because the film industry consists predominately of men. It was a very comfortable and calm environment. I think everyone really felt at home on set. We also only had two shooting locations, so I think that added to the magical community.
Fast forward to 2027, where do you picture Angourie to be in that time? Hopefully celebrating my 26th birthday, surrounded by loving friends and family, and lots of dogs!
What’s the best advice you have ever received? I feel like I’ve received lots of good advice! I remember my mum telling me not to ‘be myself’. She told me to not ‘be’ anything, instead I should just do things, and that will make me who I am. I’ve never forgotten that. I don’t have to necessarily be anything, I just am, and I’ve done that by making things happen.
"IN THE TIME IT TAKES TO MAKE A MOVIE, WE CAN CHANGE WHAT THE FUTURE LOOKS LIKE".
You have probably asked a million times already (I’m sorry!), but what was it like being in a film that was directed by Sofia Coppola? Was it as dreamy as you had imagined it to be? So dreamy! The atmosphere that Sofia created was beautiful. We’d always block the scene in a dark room with no lighting, and then when we came back, ready to shoot the scene, it was filled with soft light coming through the window, glowing candles, and a smoky haze. It was very dreamy! It made it so easy to get into character, because the atmosphere was so real.
Where do you hope to see the film industry for females in 10 years’ time? Hopefully a lot more inclusive! More diverse casting, a wider range of stories, and more recognition of small, independent films.
As we have both previously discussed, there is still an in balance of gender equality currently in the film industry. Coming from someone such as yourself, whom has broken into the industry as a young female, in what ways do you believe we can help minimise and diminish the inequality? Action! Spreading the word is always good, but making things happen is even better. Unfortunately, it’s really easy to feel helpless while in the midst of such a big issue, but simple things like making a donation or volunteering are great. And use your voice and influence! Together we’ll all make things happen.
What is one book you believe everyone should read in their lifetime? When I was younger, I was really inspired by the book ‘How to Be an Explorer of the World’ by Keri Smith. I think I got it when I was nine years old, and it really opened my eyes to the world. It’s not a novel, it’s more of a guide to exploring your environment and the people around you.
As you have been a part of quite a few films this year from Spiderman Homecoming, Jasper Jones and The Beguiled, what exciting things can we expect from you in the coming months? I’ve recently finished filming a movie called ‘Every Day’. It’s based on a book for young adults, and it will be coming out early in the new year. I’m really excited for this one!
I also saw that you were invited to Miu Miu show at Paris Fashion week, what a dream! Your dress was so beautiful. Do you find the fashion and film industry ultimately overlap in different aspects?I definitely think they overlap! One of my favourite things about starting on a new film is discovering the costumes my character is going to wear. The way we dress is such an interesting part of our identity. It’s art and movement and architecture all in one.
"MY MUM ONCE TOLD ME SHE HOPED THAT MY HEART COULD STAY SOFT. A SOFT HEART IS SO IMPORTANT IN THIS WORLD".
I discovered Emma through Facebook, due to a friend of mine sharing a post about her journey of rescuing these two cows. She wrote a detailed letter to the farmer, who at that time had possession of the creatures that she simultaneously fell in love with in a field. Emma then received a phone call stating that she was welcome to become their new guardian and could lead them into a new chapter of their lives. They are now named Malayla and Elira which translate to lover of freedom and compassion in Filipino.I remember reading this post thinking that it was my last reminder from my transition into cutting out animal products, and since then i have always wanted to photograph Emma as she marked such an important segment of my life.
Often we can overlook these animals that form the agricultural industry as we are raised to believe they are merely purposed as milk machines, egg producers, plucked or skinned for fashion use hooked from our seas and then lead to cruel butchery. All in order for their breast milk and bodies to be served in our supermarkets and plates today. Many of these animals have been restrained from experiencing love, kindness or affection unlike our domestic animals. If you wouldn't eat your dog or cat, then why would you eat a pig or lamb?
Female cows in particular are stuck in a cycle of being artificially inseminated, and in some cases have their new born calfs taken away for slaughter (veal, if you are a male) or put back into the harsh reality of milk production if you are born female. The consumption of dairy and meat is not only having a harrowing effect on these animals, but also on our health and our planet as agriculture has been proved to be the leading factor in climate change.
But it doesn't have to be this way, each individual has the chance to change this, so why wouldn't you choose the compassionate choice?
Animal rights is something that I have always been passionate about and wanted to explore through photography, but felt the need to execute it in a way I thought was best in terms of spreading the vegan message. And in this case, to photograph the delicate, special relationships between humans and animals. I've always felt hesitant in sharing my opinion on such a controversial topic through social media. Not because of the fear of being slotted into the 'vegan' stereotype that I try so hard to change, but due to the fear of hearing that people would choose their tastebuds over a creatures life. My thoughts changed however after meeting Emma, and experiencing the affection and love from all the animals who share a home at the beautiful Liberation Sanctuary. Their silence worth putting a voice to. This visit and series is a friendly reminder to me why I became vegan in the first place, and why I was advocating the rights of our fury friends.
Welcome to the series where I share fragments of Emma frolicking through the mud filled fields with her cows Malayla and Elira, to the shared moments of glimmering love between Willow and Claude (her baby lambs). All intertwined with the mess of weetbix which the animals scrambled over!
"ONCE I GOT INTO THE MINDSET OF THINKING ABOUT THE VICTIMS OF MY CHOICES RATHER THEN WHAT TASTES OR EASE I WANTED, I KNEW WHAT THE RIGHT THING TO DO WAS".
How do you usually introduce yourself to new people? Or who do you want people to see you as? First and foremost, I would like people to see me as a kind, passionate and strong person.
Veganism really is a journey, and after being vegetarian for four years, going vegan was something that’d always been lingering in my mind. I remember seeing your post about saving the cows and putting them into a sanctuary which made me tear up so much, from then on I was like “fuck it I am going vegan, this is too much!”. Was there a last straw for you which made you take the next step into eliminating animal products from your life? Reading that about how the story of my cows helped you go vegan made me tear up! That makes me so, so happy! I think that when I wasn’t eating meat anymore, but was eating dairy and eggs, for a while I knew it was wrong, but I kept making excuses for myself, reasons why I couldn’t do it because it would be too hard. Once I got into the mind set of thinking about the victims of my choices, rather than what tastes or ease I wanted, I knew what the right thing to do was. It’s easy to be committed to veganism once you think properly about the suffering your actions are causing every single day.
Best advice you’ve even been given? When I was hurting a lot in the past because of some past trauma and mental health issues, my Mum told me she hoped that my heart could stay soft. A soft heart is so important in this world.
On your Instagram, it is noticeable that you are very much a physical activist, involving yourself in programs, marches etc.. Do you have any suggestions to people whom want to take veganism to the next level and spread the message even more? Most cities have a Save Movement group. For example, if you search up Melbourne Chicken Save, or any other farmed animal save, these are groups that do demonstrations, slaughter house vigils and fundraisers for each animal. These are a great way to get involved. You could see if there is an Animal Liberation group near you, you could look into the Animal Liberation Front if you are interested in rescues. If there aren’t any groups where you are, make your own! Veganism is spreading and you can help it grow even more.
You are a working model, which means a lot of your work is based around your appearance, how do you rise from moments of insecurity or comparison to other women? Especially on days you are working behind the camera? Whenever I don’t get a job in modelling, I make sure to not think of the person who got the job as ‘more beautiful’, but as what that client was looking for. There are so many different kinds of beautiful and so I should not feel lesser than another model that gets a job over me, who looks completely different to me. I am aware though, that there is a lack of diversity in the modelling industry, but from being in the industry I can see that there is progression in that sense, though there is more change needed.
If the whole world were listening to you for the short time of 5 minutes, what would you say? Ah! I think I would want to squeeze in so many things, but that wouldn’t actually be very effective. I think I would start more generally, speaking about peace and kindness. Everyone should treat everyone with love and compassion. From there, I would go into more detail about how your actions must follow this idea and that you cannot be entirely loving and compassionate if you eat animal products, buy sweat shop made clothes, don’t try to reduce your negative impact of beings living far from you, not just who are right in front of you.
What are some misconceptions of veganism that you’ve noticed since transitioning? Many people still don’t realise the cruelty of the dairy and egg industries and think that veganism is just an over the top version of vegetarianism. To that, I would suggest searching up Eggs Exposed and Cow Truth.
I have seen on your social media that you are a passionate animal rights activist but also very much into speaking out for woman’s rights. Do you find that these political movements ultimately intertwine in some ways? I think that if the world was not speciesist, we would see that we must help all beings. When I say all beings should be treated equally, I don’t mean that a pig should be allowed to vote, but treated equally in accordance to their ability to suffer – as all beings can. In this way, females, both human and animal are often abused due to their feminine body. For example, dairy cows are forcefully impregnated, have their baby taken away from them and hooked to milking machines for longer than they naturally would milk, before the whole process starts again. This abuse of female autonomy could be considered a feminist issue if people did not see animal females as less deserving of a life free of suffering.
Why is feminism/ equality important to you? Men and women are of course different, but not so different that we deserve different rights. People of all genders should be treated equally. We are all deserving of the same rights. I think that sometimes feminism gets a bad name because it focuses on women when there are men’s issues too, but here’s the thing: women are treated as lesser than men, so we must be lifted to equal to men before we can raise both genders up, or there will always be a disparity. Also, so many men’s rights issues are based in the patriarchy, in a society that has a toxic idea of hyper masculinity that does not allow for any ‘softness’ from men, as that would be perceived as feminine, which, due to the lack of respect for women, is perceived as inferior.
There are occasional days that I have the notion that I am not doing enough to contribute to such an important and passionate movement, and I know other vegans experience this too. Is there anything you do to get yourself out of this slump, or when you hear rude remarks about your lifestyle? Remember each life you save! Every year that you are vegan, you save around 200 animals. That is amazing. Even when it does not feel like there is wide spread change yet (though there is definitely a huge increase of vegans!), remember that those animals that did not have to die for your three meals a day, would be forever grateful.
What are your main tips for people transitioning into veganism? You don’t have to go vegan overnight, I didn’t. Take time if you need, but ultimately set veganism as your goal as soon as you can. I spent so long talking about the reasons I couldn’t go vegan, so long making excuses. Stop thinking of reasons you cannot go vegan and begin thinking of reasons as to why you should! Inform yourself about the issues related to veganism. It is easy to be vegan once you consider the victims of your actions, rather than the tastes you might miss out on (though vegan alternatives are so amazing!)
What were the best changes you experienced since going vegan? Knowing that three times a day, at meal times, I am choosing peace.I can also look at animals and feel no discomfort; I know I am not hurting them. Also from a more self centred perspective, I feel much better, more clean in my body.
"TO YOU IT'S A MEAL, BUT TO THEM IT'S A LIFE IN ITSELF".
Ultimately though, living a life without animal products is not difficult compared to the impact you have when taking up the lifestyle.
HERE ARE SOME INFORMATIVE DOCUMENTARIES (THAT CAN BE FOUND ON NETFLIX AND ONLINE) AS IT'S ALWAYS IMPORTANT TO EDUCATE YOURSELF WITH THE FACTS:
- Forks over Knives
-What The Health
WHY A PLANT BASED DIET IS BENEFICIAL FOR YOUR HEALTH:
VIEWS ON HOW A VEGAN DIET CAN DECREASE OUR INDIVIDUAL IMPACT ON CLIMATE CHANGE:
VEGAN TIPS, STARTER PACKS AND RECIPES:
Réalisation translation: Styled By, Made By.
PLEASE DON'T FORGET YOUR BACKSTAGE PASS, KNEE HIGH BOOTS, FILM CAMERA, LIP GLOSS, OR PASSPORT BECAUSE THIS GIRL IS GOING PLACES. She has an ever-growing record collection, all her answers are either found in books or hidden in lyrics and her cure for sadness is to take a quick trip downtown to the local flower OR vintage market. She tells people to always live there life like they are in a film (a Sofia Coppola one in particular), which means to take advantage of any passing scenery when the perfect tune comes on the stereo. That also involves singing at the top of your lungs to every song, including ones on the karaoke machine. Be passionate about everything, engage yourself in politics, smile at strangers, speak french, learn bass guitar and join a girl band. This girl has the world at her fingertips.
A little something different on the 35mmclub today, I wanted to direct and style my own shoot but switch positions so I was in front of the camera this time (so thankyou to Millie for making my dreams come true!). I am not sure if this will be a consistent thing, or just something for fun.
Anyhow, for my birthday I purchased this Réalisation silk top and have fallen in love, I feel like a 70s Stevie Nicks! I love there whole concept about each individual item becoming a staple in peoples wardrobe and a timeless piece that you can forever go back too. Hence, why I thought I would dedicate a shoot to the top. Réalisation is quickly becoming my favourite label.
Styled and directed by Steph.
Photography by Millie.