IWD2019: Mahaneela on Mirroring Her Mum’s Energy in Her Creative Career
WORKING NOT WORKING
We’re supporting Balance for Better as part of International Women’s Day and celebrating spectacular female creatives on Working Not Working who need to be on your radar in 2019. We’re delighted to highlight 9 members who lead the creative conversation through both their careers and personal projects. This interview series covers the pursuit of professional creativity and the breakthroughs, accomplishments, ambitions, dreams, and lessons that follow.
London-based WNW Member Mahaneela is a photographer, filmmaker, and producer, as well as the founder of award-nominated music consultancy agency Cozy and co-founder of all-women collective and agency In Bloom. She has also worked with clients like Converse, Nike, Adidas, and XL Recordings, Below, Mahaneela shares how recreating her mum’s energy has been a catalyst in pursuing a diversified creative career, why working with her best friend helped produce her proudest career highlight, and why now is the time for her fellow creative women to challenge the system.
What was the catalyst for pursuing a creative career? What kept you going to get to where you are now?
I've been lucky enough to always be really encouraged by my friends and family to keep going, so I've always seen past whatever barriers and limitations there are and continued to plug away. I definitely get that from my mum; she is a really productive person and is on the go constantly. My brain has gotten good at doing multiple things at once and maintaining high energy. I think it helps that I'm super passionate about everything I'm doing, but I also always feel like my mum has shown me I have a lot of potential, so I am constantly striving to fulfill that.
What's your proudest creative breakthrough, project, or accomplishment and why?
I think my proudest project so far has been my music video I shot for Mick Jenkins in Jamaica. The reason for this is because my best friend Sade and I worked on it from the production side as well, and it was just amazing to be there in such a special place knowing it was all our hard work that got us there. It was definitely a proud moment!
What's the one piece of advice you'd share with fellow creative women?
Don't feel like you have to make yourself small or pander to old white men in higher up positions in order to be heard. You know exactly what you're talking about and you're doing what you're doing for a reason. Now is our time to challenge the systems set in place and make them better!
Pay it forward. Name a badass creative and tell us why they inspire you right now.
An amazing creative woman would be Clarissa Henry. Her GDS project is amazing and it's doing a lot for the representation of women in sport and in fashion. Clarissa is so driven and just gets on with it and thats why I am constantly inspired by her work ethic! You can turn around and she's just pumped out like 5 new projects and concepts, it’s incredible!
What would be your dream project or job?
I have so many dream projects to be honest. There are a lot of people I want to work with. I love Lizzo, FKA Twigs, Tierra Whack, Raveena Aurora… Basically black & brown women. Personally, I want to see more black/POC artists working with young black/POC directors. I want to work with African and South Asian artists and crews and really push myself as far as my concepts go.