IWD2019: Naomi Grant. “Don’t Think You Have to Shrink Yourself for Others to Be Comfortable.”
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.
WNW Member Naomi Grant is a London-based writer, filmmaker and content creator. She’s been nominated for a Positive Youth Award for upcoming filmmaker and Positive Role Model award at the National Diversity Awards. Below, Naomi shares how she found validation in her faith while finding her footing as a director and offers advice to fellow creative women. “You deserve to fill the space you are in right now, and don't think you have to shrink yourself for others to be comfortable.”
What was the catalyst for pursuing a creative career? What kept you going to get to where you are now?
My faith has been a huge catalyst for me. I took a gap year two years ago to discover who I really was outside of institutions that tell you who you are supposed to be. I honed in on what made me feel the most magical and that was coming up with ideas and bringing them to life. I knew film was something I've always wanted to pursue but thought the boots of a director were too large for me to fill. When you are young, validation from others is paramount, yet it is hard for people to encourage you to pursue a vision they do not see. So I found my validation in my faith, and still today it keeps me going; a creative career isn't an easy road, yet it provides me something firm to anchor onto.
What's your proudest creative breakthrough, project, or accomplishment and why?
My proudest breakthrough project is Future First, because everything about the making of that short film felt like it was destined. Everyone on board was aligned with a common goal and dedicated to the single story. Everyone believed in the project, and it is amazing to see what that type of energy resulted in. It's been a year since Future First was released, and it has won two awards, screened at multiple film festivals, and played on Community Channel TV! Outside of that, the audience response always warms my heart; it's amazing seeing your art translate and watching other people connect with it on a deep level.
What's the one piece of advice you'd share with fellow creative women?
Do not be afraid to be assertive. As women we try to be very accommodating at all times, out of fear of being negatively labelled. I've directed on sets with an all-male crew and learned that some men don't like being told what to do by women, but that has nothing to do with me or my job. Everyone on set knows their specific role, and I've learnt that I cannot be accommodating to people's egos. It is important to know that you have acquired the role you are in now due to hard work and diligence; you deserve to fill the space you are in right now, and don't think you have to shrink yourself for others to be comfortable.
Pay it forward. Name a badass creative and tell us why they inspire you right now.
Renell Medrano is a photographer from New York. I've been following her online for a number of years now and have watched her grow from strength to strength. She has a very specific way of shooting that makes every photo seem as though it is a still from a movie, and it could tell a thousand words. I also love how cool and effortless she looks on set!
What do you want to see more of in 2019?
In 2019 I want to see more equal representation on screen and behind. I want to see more stories, from different kinds of people all over the world. There is so much power in storytelling, and I believe the platform should be used to raise voices that are marginalised, and promote positivity.