For today’s HAPPO initiative, I asked Lindsay Worek, a student at Towson University whom I was very impressed by, to guest post on what inspires her and her career choice. She decided to write about film pioneer Ida Lupino. Read on to see why.
A pioneer is “someone who ventures into the unknown or unclaimed territory to settle” or “someone who opens up new areas of thought, research or development.” Ida Lupino (image: cosmorochester2′s Flickrstream, Creative Commons) is my inspirational pioneer figure.
Lupino was one of the first American female film directors. Not only was she unique in the industry because she was a female, but because her films were extremely controversial for the time period (1940s-1950s). Her films addressed issues such as rape, marital infidelity, pregnancy before marriage, murder, disability and maternal pressure on a daughter to succeed.
Lupino is a role model for professionals: she took risks, she took initiative and she wasn’t afraid to be controversial.
Ida Lupino was a risk taker. After she debuted in London as an actress at the age of 13, she moved to the United States to pursue an acting career. Lupino was often type-cast as a prostitute, criminal and/or generally bad girl. Her most notorious role was of a murderess in They Drive by Night starring Humphrey Bogart. Her scene is absolutely chilling to watch. Her ability to capture evil in this character is horrifying.
After years of being called “a poor man’s Bette Davis” and receiving less-than-worthy roles, Lupino took the initiative. She decided to start her own production company called The Filmmakers with her then-husband Collier Young. Instead of waiting for the perfect role, she took matters into her own hands. It was through this company that she produced, wrote and directed low-budget, issue-oriented films.
It is vital to take risks and take the initiative to survive in the professional world.
Lupino was not afraid to be the first. In this case, I am referring to the fact that she was the first female film director at the time. She didn’t make ordinary films, either. She was controversial and stood behind her creativity and her ideas.
Was Lupino a feminist? Her films blatantly portray controversial issues about women, yet she claimed that she didn’t want to be “too messagey” or “too preachy.” Lupino would even avoid the idea that her films were feminist. They often portrayed the mainstream patriarchal ideology. Quart* says that Lupino “visually portrayed defiance disguised as compliance.” It is a bipolar situation. There were gaps in what she said and what she did. She clearly was a brilliant woman but she would use self-depreciating language when she was asked about her work. I think Lupino knew that the only way to get what she wanted was to recognize and adhere to her place as a woman in 1950s society (whether she really agreed with it or not).
Ida Lupino was a woman who knew what she wanted her whole life. She was a fighter who never ever gave up or gave in. She called herself, “A terror- slaving long and hard to make things happen.”
This woman is an inspiration to me because I thrive to take risks and take initiative. I try to be the first and I am not afraid to be controversial and stir a great conversation. Lupino is the kind of pioneer that I hope to be as a professional. For more information, please follow @IdaLupinoFan or check out the official website: www.idalupino.com.
So, has Lindsay been bitten by the acting bug? This is what she said:
“I don’t necessarily want to be an actress. Lupino started her own company, which impresses me. I don’t necessarily want to start my own company but I would like to try my best and work my way up the professional ladder to eventually get to a high position that is well-respected.
I do absolutely love film and film production, especially writing. She wrote, acted in, produced and directed films so the fact that she accomplished all of those things is extremely inspiring (especially because she did it during a time where women didn’t do those things, except act, of course).
Throughout my career, I want to be able to express myself creatively. I would like to take risks and express my ideas. I want to venture into the unknown as she did and be unafraid. I want to stay determined, persevere and stay driven as she did, too.
Can you help this emerging PR professional find the right job? One in which her passion, drive and commitment are rewarded? And she’s a great writer, as you can see from her post. If so, please do contact her, either by leaving a comment below, connecting with her on LinkedIn, or sending her a tweet. Thank you!
*Reference used: Quart, Barbara Koenig. (1988). Women’s Directors: The Emergence of a New Cinema. New York: Praeger Publishers.