Teaming up with the ‘Queen of Grime’ herself, Lady Leshurr, Nike marks the release of the Force Is Female collection. Lady Leshurr, a former BEAT coverstar, and her all female team conceptualised the creative journey – from image making to styling to hair and nails, for the Birmingham born rapper’s seventh “Queen’s Speech”.
Two years ago, the opening shot of Lady Leshurr’s first “Queen’s Speech” was a close-up of a Nike Air Force 1 shoe – and number seven in the series of independently produced, honest and witty freestyle videos not only continues to establish her as a leading voice in UK culture, but highlights her continued love of the empowering shoe. On set for Lady Leshurr’s ‘Queen’s Speech Ep.7’, we talk to art director Sophia Tassew.
After dropping out of university at 19 to create her own artistic path, self-made art director Sophia Tassew has been making waves in London with the launch of a series of personal projects which focus on feminism, grime, U.K. rap and arthouse cinema.
What’s the best part of your job, day to day?
I think it would have to be doing what I love. My job title is literally a Creative so every day I’m constantly pushed to think of something new. It’s fun at times but it’s a lot of hard work.
What woman would you want to do hair / make up / nails for the most?
I’d have to say the art direction for a NAO video definitely. Her talent is incredible but I think her songs can translate into so many different visual pieces. Her style is different too, It would be a dream to team up with her.
What was the best part of having an all-female team?
Being free I guess. Everyone just gets it, it’s weird, in a good way. Everyone feels a bit more approachable, it feels more sister like instead of work or a chore.
What’s the biggest difference between being on set with men and being on an all-woman set?
I’m not sure why but everything seems to move a lot faster. We’re able to have a laugh but the work is taken very seriously. It’s like getting ready for a night out with your girlfriends. We all help each other out, we easily point out something if it doesn’t look right. It all helps.
Do you find that when crews are assembled, a lot of people making the decisions don’t think to include women? How does that affect the product being made?
A woman’s touch to certain projects can really make the entire thing become better.
What can men be doing more of to support women in video/image production?
Make noise about the ones who are doing some cool projects, no matter their follower count or experience. As long as their potential is evident and the work is good we all deserve credit. Also recommending female friends, family or anyone you know. You don’t know what could come out of it.
Celebrating women creatives and diverse creatives is very ‘trendy’, how can the industry – on a big level and small level – work to keep that momentum going?
Don’t just talk about it – do it. I feel like diversity has become a marketing tool for a lot of brands. I see tons of articles and very few initiatives to tackle the lack of diverse talent in creative spaces. I also think the top dogs see diverse talent as some sort of risk when it shouldn’t be. Some of the best ideas and work come from people with raw talent and different backgrounds.
Have you ever experienced sexism on set?
There was this one time I was at a shoot with 2 other girls, shadowing a female creative director. We were on set and I had a go assisting the male photographer. He suggested that we get in front of the camera and pose. Maybe “bend over or something” – it was horrible. Our creative director had a go at him and spoke with us after. They were an important client so it’s tricky to decide on how you react in certain situations.
The Nike Air Force 1 ’07 collection is now available in women’s sizing on the Nike App, nike.com and at select retailers