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What the most creative advertising idea you’ve seen recently?

The ad itself isn’t recent at all, but is so great, and I can’t believe I’ve not seen it until this week. I’m shooting in Prague as I write this, and the local producer took me to a bar in the city that’s owned by Ivan Zacharias. We got chatting about him, and watched his Stunt City ad for Rexona. I just love how simple yet hilariously effective the idea is.

Rexona – Rexona: Stunt City

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What website(s) do you use most regularly?

NSFW… I’M  JOKING! I’m not that much of a cretin. I mean, aside from Google and Gmail (which would be desperately boring answers but probably universal to many) I would say Rightmove. I don’t have to be looking to move, I just really enjoy snooping through all the photos. I like to see how other people live, imagine what I’d change if I moved in, and imagine swanning around my fake fancy apartment in my new fake life in, say, Bristol. Totally normal, right?! 

What’s the most recent piece of tech that you’ve bought?

I bought myself one of those steam diffusers. Does that count as tech? Because who wouldn’t want beautifully smelling peppermint, geranium or lavender scented tech?

What product could you not live without?

Those that know me could answer this straight away… Yorkshire Tea.

What’s the best film you’ve seen over the last year?

I’m a real sucker for the big blockbusters and I thought Steven Spielberg’s redo of West Side Story was such a visual feast. I was initially nervous about it because I adored the 1961 version so much. The 1960s choreography is just insane, and I was very pleased the recent version stayed true to the original dance and movement. I wasn’t totally sold by all of the performances, but Spielberg really brought the rest of the neighbourhood to life in a version that was’t really explored in the 60s version, and it was everything I’d hoped it would be - especially how the production design and cinematography worked in tandem so well.

What film do you think everyone should have seen?

Amelie [below]. Because the story is so simple and uncomplicated, and yet the visuals and the way the story is told is still as captivating as it would be if it were action packed and explosive. I love it.

What’s your preferred social media platform?

Does Pinterest count as social media? Basically my favourites are very visual. Instagram could be up there if it were a little less self-indulgent (but even I’m sucked onto the “look at my new work!” train every now and then). But I like that Pinterest is more about inspiration and ideas.

What’s your favourite TV show?

This is almost an impossible question to ask; I have different favourites for different moods, and even seasons. The American The Office is like comfort eating; it’s so easy and ridiculous, and never fails to make me laugh. My favourite watches in the last year (for so many different reasons!) have been Landscapers (for direction and vision), We Are Ladyparts (for playful visual storytelling), Motherland (for the hilarious scripts and unscrupulous and dislikable characters), and Sex Education (for story themes and positive impact).

What’s your favourite podcast?

It was The High Low, and I was devastated when it ended. For me it was the perfect balance of A) nonsense and crap and  B) interesting literature, culture, current events and shared female experience. I miss it! These days, I like listening to, almost exclusively, the British comedians on the Adam Buxton podcast. And his silly, silly jingles.

What show/exhibition has most inspired you recently?

I usually prefer graphic design and illustration shows, or maybe exhibitions revolving around makers: ceramics, pottery, textiles, that kind of thing. I’m not massively into typical 'modern art' exhibits. The absolute best exhibition I’ve ever been to was Art is Comic, in Brussels, at the MiMA. They were showing loads of amazing and funny, observant and social commentary artists: Brecht Vandenbroucke, Mon Colonel & Spit, Brecht Evens, HuskMitNavn, Jean Jullien, Joan Cornellà.

If you could only listen to one music artist from now on, who would it be?

Also impossible to answer because I would answer totally differently on any given day. My absolute favourites are The Staves [below], a folk trio of sisters from Watford. But then, do you choose something like this tactically? There’s so much more variety that you could get from, say, The Beatles, who are a classic favourite of mine. 

If there was one thing you could change about the advertising industry, what would it be?

I would change the expectation to work until you’ve nothing left. The hours can be crazy, and the shock and hounding I'm sometimes faced with when I don’t respond to an email after 6pm is insane. It’s a difficult industry to create healthy boundaries within, to take time off in, and to maintain a balanced work/social life in. 

I’d also change the way that a very small number of people speak to one another on set. It doesn’t happen so much anymore as the companies I work with work with ace crew members really but, as you might have spotted, I’m a young woman and I don’t think people are always expecting the **DIRECTOR!** to be a young woman. When I would arrive on set, I’d often get confused for other roles. I don’t say anything, because it doesn’t matter, and people figure it out. With some people though, you can see the exact moment they realise because the way they talk to me changes. Like, they know it’s not OK to be speaking to the **DIRECTOR!** the way they were speaking to me before, when they thought I was 'beneath them', like that’s even a thing. Really not cool… we’re all here as one team to create one vision, and it wouldn’t be made possible without every crew member involved.

Who or what has most influenced your career?

I would say there is and will never be a single figurehead that has single-handedly influenced my career. My career has been built by the help of friends, family and colleagues over the years, who may have supported me creatively, financially and emotionally. All of the incredible filmmakers I’ve loved following over my lifetime, all the crap, all the cartoons and books and pictures and stories I’ve seen and heard. My career is an amalgamation of all sorts of weird and wonderful nonsense that has stuck with me and bolstered my progression and learning.

Tell us one thing about yourself that most people wont know.

I have seven toes on each foot. Or do I? Ah, the wonderful mystery of life.

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