#SheInspiresMe with Jennifer Lopez & Other #TIFF2019 Highlights
Sing! Dance! Act! Thrive! Podcast Episode 023
Sing! Dance! Act! Thrive! is back after a short hiatus with a solo episode. The Toronto International Film Festival is happening right now and I was thrilled to attend Twitter Women’s #SheInspiresMe panel featuring Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu, Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhart, and Writer/Director Lorene Scafaria of the movie Hustlers.
Hello and welcome to episode 23 of Sing Dance Act thrive!
It is great to be back after a little Aug hiatus. I have created a new website at singdanceactthrive.com where I will be adding lots of articles and resources for performing artists in addition to it being the new home of the podcast. All previous episodes now have full transcripts and a few past guests of the podcast will be contributing articles including a series from Meisner acting coach Adrian Griffin, music biz and radio promo tips from Andrea Morris and her assistant Jessica Moore will be teaching us all about social media marketing. I will be contributing articles on publicity, marketing, personal branding, and entrepreneurship.
Since it’s been a while since I released an episode I thought that I would keep this one short and tell you all about my TIFF highlights.
The Toronto International Film Festival is happening right now and I was thrilled to attend Twitter Women’s #SheInspiresMe panel featuring Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu, Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhart, and Writer/Director Lorene Scafaria of the movie Hustlers.
#SheInspiresMe is an initiative dedicated to elevating and amplifying women in every industry and around the world. One of the moderators Dr. Stacy Smith shared the statistics that in the top 100 films of 2018, 33 erased black women altogether, 54 erased Asian women and 70 erased Latinas and it’s even worse for other marginalized communities, LGBTQ+ and people with disabilities. While only 4% of female directors were represented in the top 100 films, we know from research that female directors are the solution and they change everything.
On Role Models & Mentors:
Jennifer Lopez: Lopez credited being surrounded by a lot of women in her family and her mom instilling in them not to depend on anybody, to be independent and that they could be or do anything. “I think that’s why I’ve been able to do a lot of the things I do, and also I don’t keep myself in a box,” she explained, “I think people say, ‘You were a dancer, you can’t be an actress.’ ‘You’re an actress, you can’t be a singer.’ ‘You’re a singer, you shouldn’t produce.’ ‘You’re an artist, you shouldn’t go into directing.’ And even beyond that, branding and marketing yourself and becoming your own worldwide brand. I felt like that was something that was all within the realm of possibility because of her.”
Keke Palmer: Palmer has looked up to Queen Latifah since she had her first role at 9 years old in Barber Shop 2 as Latifah was very supportive of her. “We had a conversation when I was 17 and she said ‘Keke I’m not just saying it to say it, it’s your work ethic, I see what you are doing, and I want to encourage that,’ she taught me a lot by her behaviour towards me, she taught me how to be to others.”
On Having An Almost All Women Cast & Crew:
It is almost unbelievable that Hustlers was shot in only 29 days and it was only eight months between getting the film green-lighted and the theatrical release. Writer and Director Lorene Scafaria explained, “It’s nice when women are in charge, because it leads to hiring, obviously, a lot of women, but it’s also when you hire men who are willing to work for women, they are different kinds of men.”
Jennifer Lopez: “It’s great to work with all women, there’s a shorthand, you feel very comfortable at work. I’ve done, I don’t know how many movies, many, many, and I’ve worked with a lot of men, mostly men directors, mostly men crew, and it is a boys club. It most definitely is. And you are the girl on the set. And when you have all women on a set, it all becomes now more evened out, especially when there’s a woman director because that’s who’s calling the shots, really, and when you have all women producers then you are really talking something special. Women get shit done…fast!”
Constance Wu: “For me being on the set with all women really just felt a type of freedom to be myself. I think so often I’m in these situations where it’s primarily men, patriarchal society that we obviously are and I feel like I have to either act like I’m one of the boys to get respect or I have to play cute and unassuming to even stay in the room. And when that dynamic changed and it was all women, I felt like I don’t have to act like one of the boys, I can just act like me.”
On opening night I got to see Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson And The Band documentary directed by 26-year-old Toronto filmmaker Daniel Roher. Oscar winners and Executive producers Martin Scorsese, Ron Howard, and Brian Grazer, made an appearance on stage with Robbie Robertson after the film. The film is based on Robbie Robertson’s memoir Testimony and tells his story from his early life to the creation of legendary roots-rock group The Band.
Some of the parties I attended were OVO, Blue Ice Pictures, and Mongrel House. Another highlight of TIFF is networking and gifting lounges. I visited NKPR’s IT lounge where guests were treated to hair and makeup touch-ups from OGX and Bobby Brown and a special gift from Swarovski’s Tarot Magic Collection. I absolutely love the necklace that I received and will be wearing it proudly.
One of my favourite places to visit during the festival is the Out There with Melissa DiMarco Networking Lounge as the team is so welcoming and I always meet interesting people. One of their sponsors was Robert Mondavi winery and they had this fantastic Cabernet Sauvignon that was aged in used bourbon barrels.
Upcoming shows will feature the fabulous Bif Naked, actor Mathew Wilson, live performance coach Tom Jackson, UK Musician and producer Dave Randall, and more.
I still have a few interviews left to air from the Collision Tech conference, however, both Akon and Christopher Leacock from Major Lazer are returning to Toronto for the Elevate tech conference this month so I’m hoping to score a one on one interview with them or at least get more content to add to their episodes.
It has been interesting checking the stats on who is listening to the podcast with the top 10 countries. While the majority of listeners are in Canada and the US, I was surprised to see that next in line was France and Spain. Following those are Taiwan, Japan, China, Philippines, UK, and India. Where are my UK and Australian friends?
I would love to hear from all of you listeners no matter where you are from. Have you joined the facebook group yet? Head on over to dianefoy.com/facebook and join. What about a review? I don’t have any reviews…I’d really appreciate it if you could rate and review the podcast on apple podcasts. Or reach out to me directly by email or on social media @dianefoypr
If you are enjoying the show, please share it with your fellow artists and performers.