In our continued series of interviews that ask about what issues women still face in the industry, we spoke with Tiffany Frances, Director at Valiant Pictures, about her own experiences. Frances is a Taiwanese American writer and director of narrative film, commercials, and music videos. She loves to create character-driven, dramatic storytelling with lyrical visuals, and explores stories about women, marginalized voices, and finding surreal moments within authentic situations.
What barriers do women still face in our industry and why are they still there?
I can only speak from my own experiences, but I feel that women and non-binary folks face several barriers from a systemic and institutional standpoint. I’m glad the discussion is more open now; but generations and generations of women before didn’t necessarily have the safe space to speak out against issues like blatant sexism or harassment or equal pay. Today our issues are more underlying; there’s a lot of performative talk but the actions aren’t matching up. I still think that the simple act of trusting and hiring women in positions of power isn’t as common as it should be.
How should we tackle an issue such as equal opportunity, not solely for women’s equality but across the entire DE&I spectrum?
Great question. The true act of listening to those who belong in the DE&I spectrum is a first step. Second, implementing stronger, specified measures for those who haven’t had the same types of entry points is the next. Third is to simply hire women, people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, persons with disabilities, etc. in positions of power in key decision making and pay them equally. Instead of talking about it for so long or creating whatever extra steps it is for us to get there, just do it. Just HIRE.
How would brands react if their ad strategy was created and produced by a majority male team?
I cannot speak for brands but perhaps they might feel the creative and strategic perspectives may be limited.
What experiences did you have joining the industry?
I fought for my voice and work as an AAPI woman to be noticed over years and years of what a lot of underrepresented people experience in this industry. Not being seen, boys’ club, tokenism, performative gestures, microaggressions, being underestimated, you name it. There wasn’t a lot of support for us before. It’s getting better now, but it really takes people up at the top to help carve out opportunities for us.
Who inspires you the most and why?
The underrepresented folks around me who are challenging the system and fighting the good fight. The men who do recognize their position of privilege and are actively using their power for good.
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