Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Interview with Girl Warrior Gina Hole.

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Today we raise our fists high and put our hands together in celebration of our Feature Girl Warrior, a true Renaissance woman, Gina Hole. With more than 30 years of experience in the photography, film, video and commercials industries, Gina is the founder and Producer of THEY Produce in Vancouver Canada.

What makes you a Girl Warrior?

I’m a female entrepreneur, ex artist, business owner, agent, producer, director, volunteer, political voice, advocate and mother of four productive and independent teen & adult children.

Tell us a bit about THEY. How did that come about? Why THEY?

I began my career in 1981 as a professional makeup artist in fashion, film and celebrity. Before there were makeup schools we learned on the job and from magazines, but as well I learned from my Transvestite and Transgender friends, so really I learned from the best! Back then I would see and hear the news about hate crimes, homophobia and racism and it always dumbfounded me as, within our ‘fashion bubble’– a gay black man was considered iconic, like Andre Leon Talley, whom we were massive fans of and had huge respect for — and so I just could not comprehend that someone like Leon could walk down a street at night, even in ‘out’ Vancouver, and get beat up or even killed.

Skip to 2003 when I decided to open an agency representing professional artist, I began branding the agency I needed a good name. I had always found it interesting (and a bit irritating) that when I used to be working as a makeup artist on set, and the Creatives, directors or AD’s were talking about us the makeup/hair/wardrobe/etc. teams, and we would always be referred to as ‘They’, as in, “after They do the touch ups we’ll roll camera”…and I’d look around and think, “who is THEY? It’s only me, Gina here and I’m standing right here!”… This happened almost daily on jobs for over 2 decades, so it popped into my head instantly. Then I looked up the term in the dictionary and I was blown away to read that it was defined as, “an androgynous term for ‘he’ or ‘she’ “, as in “when THEY did my makeup…”. This was perfect, as it was an homage to my Trans friends in the 80’s that taught me to be a fearless artist (and attach lashes that do NOT fall off!) as well as it was my own personal inside joke and nod to my past career experiences. I am very proud of the gender-neutral name.

What has been your biggest challenge running your own company?

My biggest challenge at the very start was tackling an industry in Vancouver that had never had professional agency representation before for artists, models yes, but artists no, so in a way I pioneered representation of this nature, but it did not come without it stresses at the start! I am honored that all these pro’s in the city, all of the very best in Western Canada, put their portfolios in my hands and said, “okay Gina, rep me!” But I’m nervous as this has never been done and some photographers told me they’d “NEVER book me again if I join!” So these Pro’s that had been handling their own careers for 10+ years all of a sudden put their trust in me. When I think about it now, 14 years later, I am still blown away that they put their trust in me and I am forever thankful for that. To this day we still represent over half of these same artists that have been with us from day 1, or very shortly thereafter.

What obstacles have you overcome and walls have you broken down?

I feel as a strong, independent woman, I face obstacles everyday in business, even today in 2017. I see a few men still not being comfortable with a woman leader, I have sat in meetings in banks and with lawyers where they turn to my husband and start talking directly to him…this always makes me chuckle, as my husband stops that person and says, “you need to be talking to her”, and then I do all of the negotiating.

There are walls every day and obstacles, but the secret is to know who YOU are, keep your head held high and keep on going, or, my other favorite term, grow a set of women balls! That means be tough and believe in what you are doing’ even if no one else does, follow your heart.

Tell us about your passion project?

My passion project is my documentary I am producing and directing. I am following a young Transgender boy through his journey from transitioning from girl to boy. I am a year and a half into it, following him before he started his testosterone shots. I will be mostly likely another year and a half before I’m done and my hopes are the outcome is the documentary will help other trans or questioning kids.

What would you tell your younger Girl Warrior?

Oh soooo much! I suffered from so much anxiety as a child, was always fearful of the unknown and worried about being bullied because of my last name (“Hole”…can you imagine?), but somewhere deep down I always managed to find my power, I just always moved forward no matter how utterly terrified I was…and this theory has carried me through surviving a 35 year career in the business — even in Hollywood for 5 years — plus diving head first into directing a documentary. I NEVER set out to say, “I’m a director” but rather saw an opportunity that came to me and I didn’t say “no”, in fact, the basis to everything I do is never say ‘no’ (within reason and not illegal!), as you may loose out on something amazing. I have also learned that everything is “do-able”, everything!

What would you say to the next generation of Girl Warriors looking for inspiration?

I see anxiety rampant in teens and youth today, perhaps it is as simple as being over anxious to ‘instantly reply’ to every sort of social media ping and text that comes in. I’m not sure about that as I’m not an expert, but what I do try to say to my teen daughters and sons in their 20s is, ‘you do not have to answer immediately!”… and that advice is coming from someone whose whole career as an agent is to answer everything immediately so we don’t loose booking and money!

Who is/are your Girl Warrior hero(s)?

Gloria Steinem (who wrote a book about her own anxiety all the while being the face and leader of Feminism in the 70s)

Barbara Streisand (Another anxious woman who ignored that and pushed through to become an Academy Award winning actor, director, producer and of course, over coming her stage fright to be one of the best singers & performers in the world…we also have the same birthday!)

My Trans and LGBTQ friends and mentors from the 80s, the ones that taught me to be a perfectionist, and who we also lost to Aides, I am forever grateful.

What’s next?

Raising funds to finish my documentary so we can shoot in New York for the ending plus get my trans subjects into the studio to record their amazing music that we will use for the sound track.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Still welcoming projects that come in via email, text or land in my lap…and my answer to all of them is “yes, and how can we do this the very best it can be done!”

Also I’m not going to lie, I also see myself, and my husband, traveling more together and with our family, and having a great gin and tonic in as many different destinations that have gin!

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Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: We Marched.

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Girl Warrior. Sometimes a Girl Warrior’s gotta do what a Girl Warrior’s gotta do. Here’s my story.

On January 21, I did something I’ve never done before. Something so deeply marrow wrenching and profound that I believe it has changed me. Irrevocably.

I marched.

Shockingly it took decades for this to happen. If ever there had been a quintessential time, surely it was during my budding feminist years in university. But no, I did not march. Not even then. Truth is, I don’t even recall there being any marches in our neck of the woods. But then again, we were pretty backwoods. The university’s claim to fame at that time was their male-oriented Forestry Program. Says it all.

My feminism came in the form of a monthly subscription to Ms. Magazine and a huge secret girl-crush on Gloria Steinem. I read it in my room and kept my thoughts to myself. Thoughts like, I don’t want my mother’s life; I want to get the hell out of this town; I want to go to Paris; I want a career; I want to write; I want to make a difference and be a part of changing things for the better, especially for women. But I also had thoughts like, I want to fall in love; I want a family; I want a nice home with two cats in the yard; I want to be part of a community; I want to teach and have a positive empowering impact on the hearts and minds of youth, especially girls.

Most of that happened. Not all at once and not nearly as quickly as I thought it would. It’s taken a lifetime to unfold and there have been many twists and turns, surprises and derailments along the road. I still haven’t been to Paris and I’m okay with that.

Up until my mother died sixteen years ago, for the most part, I was still that young girl in her room reading Ms. Magazine and keeping her thoughts to herself. But after she died, things started to change. At first it was a slow steady percolation, a burning and churning inside my head, heart and gut. Then five years ago, I unleashed my Girl Warrior spirit and spoke. And I wrote and I wrote and I wrote. Girl Warrior blog posts, Girl Warrior books and now a Girl Warrior production company and website.

With two strong ferocious daughters, a granddaughter and a daughter-in-law I learned close-up and intimately what courage looks like. Inspired by them, I was compelled to speak up and use my words to help bring about change, at least in my own small way. Now I focus all of my attention on the last two thoughts at the end of both lists that I created all those years ago.

Take all of that in for a moment. Then think about the horrifying spectacle of the current American political scene with the rise to power of the unqualified and unfit DJT & Friends. What you get is the perfect storm for this Girl Warrior. And the biggest reason in her entire life to march, shoulder to shoulder, and in support of her American sisters, and all women across the world.

The Women’s March was magnificent in its purpose, resolve and scope.

There we stood in the crowded overflowing square, side-by-side, one-voice-in-many, wholly united and carrying signs with messages like Nasty Women Unite, The Future is Female, Ally to All Slave to None Let’s Unite, Trump Violence Against Women, A Woman’s Place is in the Revolution, We Will Not be Silent, Women’s Rights are Human Rights, and I’m With Her. There we stood and joined forces with other women, children and men – all ages, all different stages of life, and diverse backgrounds and beliefs. There we stood fighting for a cause that touched all of us, affected all of us and was far, far, far bigger and more important than we imagined. And we knew it. We felt it on every level, and with every fiber of our collective souls. Now was the time.

And now is the time Girl Warrior to fight for all human rights, to respect our natural and fragile habitat, to remember our prevailing humanity, to restore our faith in each other and our shared decency, kindness and goodness, to extend compassion and grace at every turn, and most importantly, to grow our capacity to always love divinely in the face of ugly hatred.

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Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Take a Leap of Faith.

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Girl Warrior. Take a leap of faith. Especially in those pivotal moments that define the direction of your life, if not permanently, than for a colossal chunk of it. The make or break junctures. The pinpoint life-altering time that when you look back, you realize that, ‘this was when it all started.’

Don’t let this be the split-second that leaves you filled with an entire lifetime of regret.

Leaping can be scary. Fear of failure or change or the unknown can be overwhelming and shake your confidence. Rock your foundation. Make the earth move under your feet so badly that you’re knocked off-balance. Your equilibrium is quivering and quaking. That’s what fear does. But fear is only false evidence appearing real. Not real. Just pretending. A schoolyard bully that you need to show who’s the boss.

It’s paramount that you don’t allow doubt to seep into your thoughts, and then settle there like an ungracious house guest. Not even for a bit. Take a deep breath and jump in. Head-first. Feet-first. Nose-dive. Or ass-over-tea-kettle. It does not matter how, it just matters that you do.

If the faith in yourself is faltering, then jump with the faith that others have in you. Work with that. Seize their faith in you, embrace it and carry it in your heart and your mind until you see what everyone else sees.

You’ve got this Girl Warrior. You can do it. You know you can. Go ahead. Jump.

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Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Don’t Walk Away or Turn Your Head.

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Girl Warrior. Don’t walk away or turn your head when you see someone you find displeasing, disdainful or off-putting. Or worse. Repugnant. Repulsive. Revolting. The homeless beggar, the panhandler, the vagrant or vagabond. And especially, the shabby-dirty-raggedy-ass-down-and-out-nasty derelict, bum or bag lady.

Don’t inflict an egregious unkindness by pretending you didn’t see or that they weren’t there. Don’t turn this Human Being into one of the Invisible Souls. By turning away you are actually saying, ‘you don’t matter. I am better than you.’

Instead, lean into compassion, empathy, and understanding. And know this: but for the grace of God goes all of us, including you Girl Warrior. You are not above the fray and beyond reproach.

Instead, love the unlovable Girl Warrior. Love those who the world has discarded. Love those who have been cast aside, tossed out, left abandoned. Or worst of all, the ones we have given up on: the hopeless cases and the unfixable.

Instead, open your loving divine heart and express your beautiful humanity. Allow your natural tenderness to well up and occupy your spirit until it is filled to the brim and overflowing. Then take all of this abundant goodness and give this very personal gift to the one standing on the street corner, hat in hand. Or the one slumped against a storefront holding a cardboard sign with a scribbled message that reads simply, but oh so elegantly, ‘please help.’

Say yes, yes, yes Girl Warrior. Say yes, I will help.

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This post is dedicated to my beautiful and tenderhearted daughter Aimee who has taught me the true meaning of compassion and kindness; and to not turn my head or walk away from those in need. Her natural instinct is to always extend a helping hand. She’s an extraordinary and rare Girl Warrior.

 

 

 

 

Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Engage your Radical R Trifecta.

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Girl Warrior. Engage your Radical R trifecta – Rebel, Revolutionary, and Renegade. Especially during make-or-break times and crucial circumstances, the cliff-edge life-changing moments. This is when you will be well served to marshal your passionate determined ass-kicking spirit. The one that knows intuitively when to break the rules, break through the barriers, break the code, break the habit, and yes, at times, break the hearts.

Throw off the cloak of convention. Step out of the box of ordinary. Walk away from the pedestrian. Steer clear of the middle-of-the-road. Bury the garden-variety. Remove all things plain-vanilla, milk-toast and bland from your physical and spiritual diet.

And most importantly, don’t live a life that isn’t worth writing home about.

Live a stranger than fiction life Girl Warrior. One you have exclusively authored. A life that no one else but you could possibly conceive much less, write. Live a life that you are so jazzed about, that is so juicy and spicy and ridiculously overflowing with everything good and bad, ugly and pretty, heartbreaking and joyous, messy and meticulous, bitter and sweet, wonderful and scary, unpredictable and unknown, exhausting and exhilarating, breathtaking and beyond.

Living a rich ample life like this necessitates that you go out on a limb; you make big disruptive waves; you take risks; and do things differently. You don’t go with the flow. Or do the logical, the predictable, the rational or sensible.

And above all else Girl Warrior, you walk the high wire without a safety net. And learn to love it.

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 Photographs courtesy of Melissa Adams.

Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Make it Awkward.

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Girl Warrior: Make it awkward, especially in sticky difficult situations. Or during those times when your first inclination would be to cut your losses and walk away. Sometimes your first thought is the right thought. But there are times when you need to think again.

Stop, take a deep expansive breath and ask yourself this. How often have you let someone off the hook because you were too afraid?

Too afraid of confrontation. Too afraid of offending. Too afraid of hurting someone’s feelings. Too afraid of speaking the truth. Too afraid of making a scene. Too afraid of embarrassing yourself. Too afraid of making someone angry. Too afraid of your own anger. Too afraid of what others might think. And ultimately, too afraid of losing someone’s love or affection. Inevitably it all comes down to that.

Now stop again, take another deep expansive breath and ask yourself this. Is the answer yes?

If the answer is yes to even one of these questions, then it’s time to take a risk. Time to take a stand. Time to gamble and put all your cards on the table. Time to do what you’ve always wanted to do in previous compromising circumstances. And if you’re truly gutting the truth Girl Warrior, you’ve been here far too many times. Far too many times.

This is your triumphant do-over. This is your opportunity to speak up and speak your truth. Once and for all. Succinctly. Emphatically. Definitively. You will need to summon all the courage you possess because making it awkward isn’t easy. Walking away without making a peep is easy. Being a good girl who doesn’t make waves is easy. Playing nice is easy.

But don’t be a good girl in this situation. Instead go for the squirm. Make it downright uncomfortable and bloody inconvenient. Remind yourself that you are a bold and brave Girl Warrior. And remember, you aren’t taking this stand on your own. You have an entire Tribe of Girl Warriors behind you. Supporting and cheering you on.

So this time Girl Warrior, make it awkward.

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Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Don’t Settle.

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Girl Warrior. Don’t settle. Go along with, resign or reconcile yourself, stomach, swallow or submit to anything that doesn’t ring true to the bright and shiny person you are.

Don’t live a default life. A ‘learn to live with’ life. An involuntary life. Or worse yet, one that belongs to someone else. And you’re just going along for the ride. Sitting complacently, but maybe not so comfortably, in the back seat or sidecar. You belong behind the wheel of your own life, the one of your own making. Steer your spaceship courageously in the direction of your dreams. Not someone else’s. That’s your mission, your primary assignment here.

You only get to do this present-life thing one time, and one time only, Girl Warrior. And it is oh so very brief. So fleeting. A flutter of the butterfly’s wing. Yes, some things are eternal. Our souls. The tender memories of us. But this here-and-now Earth Walk, and all the glorious people, places and things that are gifted to us are here for such a woefully brief time. So don’t squander any of it by settling.

Don’t settle in. Don’t settle down. Don’t settle for. Anything. And that goes for the people in your life, the work you do, the place where you live, the man or woman you’re involved with, and most importantly, the desires of your heart.

Girl Warrior, don’t be afraid that if you choose not to settle you’ll be all alone. You won’t. Quite the opposite is true. You’ll be surrounded by your loving and brave Tribe of kindred spirits who also refused to settle for anything less than an authentic life.

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