by Anesha Collins
Have you ever heard of Queen Bee Syndrome?
It’s often associated with females who are very focused and passionate about what they do regardless of their profession, and it often comes with negative connotation.
As a female cinematographer, I’m here to tell you that you can be a female in a predominately male-driven field, and still operate in a professional manner while promoting yourself like a boss.
Below are six guidelines (or ‘how to’s!) that you can apply no matter what industry you’re in.
These are the standards that I created for myself and have followed throughout my career. They've opened the door to working with amazing people and organizations and have provided me with a few of the best learning experiences that a four-year program could never teach me.
Let’s get started:
Whatever You Think You Are, You’re a Professional
This lesson is one of the most important you could instill in yourself because your mindset can be your biggest barrier, especially in a competitive field of cinematography.
When you view yourself and your work as professional, it’s so much easier to make better decisions as a creative. Your persona will orchestrate how others treat you, even if they have a skewed mindset because you're a female.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to be stern all the time, but it does mean that when you carry yourself as a boss in your creative field, you're treated as one.
Act Like a Lady and Think Like a Creative
I bet you thought I was going to say to “think like a man." Nope!
Believe it or not, I’ve been told on more than one occasion that I "shoot like a man." My response is always, “cool, I'm doing it wearing heels.”
You can own your femininity, be yourself, and still be an amazing creative.
Thinking like a creative will prompt the men within your field to see you as just that: a creative.
Be Confident (“You Go Girl!”)
This piggybacks on maintaining your professionalism but takes it a step further.
While you’re out there being the amazingly-dope professional cinematographer or artist that you are, you need to walk in confidence.
Be confident in what you do!
Continue to study your craft, never stop practicing, and always be willing to learn more. These three elements will help you build your confidence while maintaining a healthy sense of humility.
These three elements will also help you produce quality. Who would be ashamed to promote their work like a boss when it’s excellent?
Get Out There and Take Accountability for Your Progress
Start networking especially if you’re afraid.
All it takes is a few uncomfortable networking opportunities for you to break through your fear.
I've been the only female on the set of a music video for an artist signed to major record labels and was it frightening? Nope!
I stayed true to myself and contributed as a creative.
Look at it this way, no one was born with the knowledge they have; someone taught them what they know or they learned it along the way. This is also how you promote your skills or your business and get to know people within your niche who can teach you more.
Find Virtual Influencers (Be Inspired)
This is probably one of the more exciting standards of mine to share because the discovery process will shock you.
When you see how phenomenal these women are you will love it.
Start by searching social media or google for female cinematographer or what ever your craft may be. They are out there.
Here is a small sample of the female cinematographers who inspire me: Hannah Lux (Director), Ava DuVernay (Writer, Producer, and Director), Melina Matsoukas (Music Video Director), Emma Lynn (Wedding Cinematographer)."
Look these ladies up and let that spark a flame. Their work is phenomenal.
Develop a Daily Motivational Routine (Be Motivated)
Every morning between 9:00 a.m-10:00 a.m., I listen to two people to get my juices flowing: Gary Vaynerchuk and Patrick BetDavid.
Not only are these two both gifted at what they do but they are both positive seeds who have motivated me to do and explore some of the things I’ve done in my creative career.
Gary Vaynerchuk is great for self-awareness and straight-forwardness for your creative soul. Patrick BetDavid is excellent for branding, marketing, and business-focused education and decision-making.
There you have it. The best thing you can possibly do to promote your creative work is to be your own best advocate. Follow these principles and you're well on your way there.
Anesha Collins is a well-recognized photographer and cinematographer based in Central Florida whose works have been featured in The Huffington Post, The NFL, MunaLuchiBridal Magazine, HowHeAsked, Borrowed & Blue, Pretty Pear Bride and more.