“I am inspired by the women who are not afraid to let their wild side shine bright!”
Read an exclusive interview with Livia de Paolis, Circle Member and acclaimed film director.
we caught up with livia following the exclusive circle screening of her new film, Lost girls, and Q&A led by our media circle…
You are a valued member of the Circle. Can you tell us what motivates you as a Global Feminist and when you first became aware of gender inequality?
Thank you! I have lived in three different countries thus far and have travelled quite a bit, so my general attitude and gaze always tends to be directed towards a global perspective. My feminist identity is inevitably rooted in the country in which I spent most of my adult life, which is so far the US, as that’s where I first became most aware of gender inequality. I moved from Rome, Italy, to New York in my very early twenties and I immediately noticed how much more freedom and opportunities were available to me as a young woman. That’s when I really started to notice how gender inequality had impacted my life and most likely the lives of my mother and my grandmother. I then attended a TED Women conference in Washington DC in 2010 and after that I started identifying myself as a feminist and committed to do my part as best I could. I am deeply aware of how lucky and privileged I have been in terms of education and the type of women and men I surround myself with. This makes me deeply aware that in much of the world gender inequality is far greater than I have had to experience. This motivates me to bring awareness and do my best in helping the women and girls that are struggling in countries where they are still denied basic human rights.
As a creative person and a film Director you have a fascinating job. Can you tell us what inspired you to create and direct the highly acclaimed recent production ‘The Lost Girls’?
I do love my job and feel very lucky to have been able to work creatively. I read Laurie Fox’s novel back in 2003 and the book deeply touched me and greatly contributed to create my ‘feminist’ awareness even though I didn’t identify as a feminist then. I first decided to adapt the novel in 2014 after finishing my first feature film. The Lost Girls had been my favorite book for the last decade so I decided to reach out to Laurie and see if she could grant me the right to adapt it. It has definitely been a journey and I think the shift we’ve seen happening in the film industry in 2017 with the #MeToo Movement brought more interest to women’s stories and hence to The Lost Girls. My desire to make the film came years before so I was lucky to have the script ready when the film industry was ready to value and pay attention to this story.
How do you bring your feminism into your daily life?
I guess you could ask this to my boyfriend – smile. He gets a bit of education every day and so do all my male friends. I think it’s important to help men understand issues they haven’t had to think about, so they lack awareness when it comes to gender equality. I also try to pay attention to the way I relate to other women as I firmly believe that we are stronger together and that we will all experience a leap forward by just being kinder to each other – in each and every way we can.
Can you tell us who inspires you and why?
I am mostly inspired by the women in the public arena who are not afraid to let their wild side shine bright. I recently watched a documentary about Tina Turner, and I found it immensely inspiring – her resilience, her relentlessness in dreaming big against all odds and her uniqueness. I guess for reasons I don’t fully understand I tend to be very inspired by women in the music industry who have shown a commitment to themselves as women alongside their unequivocal great artistic talent and professional achievements. I’m thinking of Madonna and Jennifer Lopez and of course Annie Lennox, Founder of The Circle, who is at the very top of this list.
What message would you give to other women and allies who want to become activists and global feminists with The Circle?
I would strongly encourage them to do so as they will meet a fantastic group of women who are committed to making a difference. In my experience the women I have met through The Circle are some of the best people I’ve met in my life, and they have also been genuinely supportive and immensely kind to me – I think that says it all.
How do you relax at the end of a busy day?
I practice gentle yoga and meditate regularly and that’s really the base of my self-care. If I have time at the end of the day, I like to cook a meal and maybe listen to an inspiring podcast or just some music. But what I find the most relaxing is just a nice hot bath, that always works for me.
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