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

Image

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!

Image-1

 

 

 

Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: The Power of Music.

DSCN1883

Lately every time I hear two particular songs on the truck radio, one particular person comes to mind. My first big love. You know what I’m talking about. The one you’ll never forget. Ever. No matter how hard you try. No matter how many times you tell yourself you’re a fool to feel this way. A foolish young girl then. An equally foolish old broad now.

I’ve also learned recently that time has no affect on this kind of love.

Chances are, I might never have realized just how big a deal this guy was to me had I not bought a truck. And had that truck not come loaded with six-months worth of Sirius Radio. And in case you’re wondering, six months is just long enough to become addicted to the billions of stations Sirius carries. You name it; they’ve got a station for that. Let’s just say I’ve listened to a lot of good music over the past five years.

Last summer I discovered a station called The Bridge. This station features mellow classic rock and ‘70s folk rock. There’s a lot of acoustic stuff from guys like Jackson Browne and James Taylor. I had no idea I liked their music so much until I started tuning into The Bridge.

In addition to discovering a ton of fabulous old-new music, I’ve also taken a few trips back to another era in my life, all the while driving in this one. It was bound to happen. I’d hear a song or two that reminded me of him. Ones that would fill my spirit with doleful lamentations and serve as poignant reminders that even the passage of time and tornadoes, the heart simply remembers what the head discards with yesterdays old love letters.

The first song, the happier memory-maker of the two, is Paul McCartney’s Maybe I’m Amazed. I say this one is happier only because this song was from the beginning of our affair with love. Picture this. A darkened room lit only by a single candle stuck into the top of a Chianti bottle, the kind with the fiasco basket, with rivers of wax dripping down onto the table. This was a classic ‘70s mood-setter. Now tune your ears to this. He puts Maybe I’m Amazed on his record player and says, “This song is how I feel about you. I think of you every time I hear it.” Nice. I was intoxicated. Not only by his earnest declaration of love, that was beyond anything I could have ever imagined, but by the Chianti. I was seriously drunk. Which explains why I thought something like this, “I must be amazing if a guy as cute and popular and sexy as him, feels this way about me. And he played the piano just like Paul McCartney. How did I get so lucky?”

So Maybe I’m Amazed is the happy ‘in the beginning, everything is new and wonderful, once upon a time fairytale’ song.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWrGSa-Asdk

And then there’s Carole King’s It’s Too Late. Picture this. It’s the middle of summer. It’s stinking hot and humid in Northwestern Ontario. I’m pregnant with my first big love’s child. And we’ve split the sheets. As in gone our separate ways. Or more accurately, he’s gone touring and my heart has gone in about a million separate ways. Now tune your ears to this. The phone rings. I pick it up. Hear my first big love’s voice on the other end. My heart momentarily lifts to glorious angelic heights. “He wants me back,” I hopefully (and foolishly) think. Then he says this, “I thought of you today. That Carole King song, It’s Too Late came on the radio this afternoon.” I don’t remember a word he said after that. I just remember putting down the phone and lying in the middle of my bedroom floor on my back, staring up at the ceiling. And bawling my fucking brains out. My life was over. Of course, it wasn’t. It just felt that way.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5TxpJVKKQ8

Eventually I picked myself up off the floor and started the life that would lead to the life I have today. One filled with music. And love. And love of music.

There you have it. Drive time. Two beautiful piano songs accompanied by two bittersweet memories.

IMG_0175