On My Radar: Shimmy Ahmed
The Fat Lemon director on her digital life support machine, a 'thigh-slappingly funny' film and why Instagram doesn't have all the answers.
What the funniest advertising idea you’ve seen recently?
The Vapour Max Nike spots directed by Eshan B; I think the culmination of relatable characters in London-centric situations with this supernatural element of your trainers leading you, always ready to go, worked well for the lols.
What website(s) do you use most regularly and why?
Wikipedia to get my facts right, and Medium, because I like reading and learning new things and hearing a range of opinions on different subjects.
What’s the most recent piece of tech that you’ve bought and why?
A CBD vape pen; it doesn’t write so well but works to helps to minimise the anxiety brought on by my overthinking.
What product could you not live without?
My iPhone; I travel alone a lot and without it I would quite literally be lost. It’s like a life support machine.
What’s the best comedy film you’ve seen over the last year?
Sorry to Bother You, directed by Boots Riley. I found this film thigh-slappingly funny. Exactly how humour should be used, I think; to highlight and poke fun at political and other serious issues, but done in such a way, that it (hopefully) makes the viewer more woke after viewing.
What comedy do you think everyone should have seen and why?
See last answer, and Anchor Man, because of all the very opposite reasons.
The dark humour in Very Bad Things has never left me and so deserves a mention too; things go from bad, to very bad to even worse, climaxing in the most nightmarish end. The performances by the cast, including Christian Slater and Cameron Diaz, are so believable and brilliantly funny.
What’s your preferred social media platform and why?
Instagram, because I like to watch - paradoxically, it’s also one of my least favourites. There have been times when I’ve gone so far in and for so long (in the name of research, of course) that you would think I was seeking the answers to the universe from it. In case you’ve been wondering the same, it doesn’t have them. I now limit my daily intake to keep it ‘healthy’.
What’s your favourite TV comedy show and why?
High Maintenance; it’s such a refreshingly brilliant and clever format, I absolutely LOVE it! It introduces new central characters every episode, the only real consistent being a chilled out weed dealer and the experiences around his line of work. It's excellently done.
What’s your favourite podcast?
Invisibilia is ace and looks at the things we can’t see, like personality, emotions and feelings. I love feelings and emotions and live deep in mine.
What show/exhibition has most inspired you recently?
Diane Arbus, In The Beginning, a photography exhibition at The Hayward. They say a picture is worth a thousand words and I feel any one of her photos is a whole story and then some. There is also a subtle humour through observation in her work that I find so inspiring, bringing humour to what could be deemed too real or mundane.
What’s the most significant change you’ve witnessed in the industry since you started working in it?
I would say the rise of women and wider representation on all levels within the industry, but I would love to see more, and not on a tokenistic level.
If there was one thing you could change about the advertising industry, what would it be?
The bullshit; I think you can make great content without the bullshit, you just need to be brave, smarter and less lazy and conventional about it.
Who or what has most influenced your career and why?
The need and desire to communicate ideas and tell stories, and especially those which include under represented people, places and narratives. Basically, attention seeking due to my abandonment issues.
Tell us one thing about yourself that most people won’t know.
I’m a Mulberry bag collection; The 'Shimmy' was created by Mulberry for AW 2009.
Finally, why did the chicken cross the road?
To show that he/she/they could do whatever the other chickens do... and with swagger ;)