Film, TV and media producer Ashley Pacini is shining a bright spotlight on women in entertainment -- when she’s not busy sharing stories of those pioneering the path, she is producing edgy pieces like “Sex Talk With Natasha” and “Drunk Mormon Podcast.” Her award-winning projects focus on bringing female and marginalized voices to the table. We love that she blends humor with much-needed advocacy. She also loves donuts, which also makes her a lady after our own heart.
Ashley shared with us her belief that one of the hardest obstacles for women in the industry is getting representation. She began “The Reel Women,” which features a profile of a new female filmmaker each week. When she’s not busy in the studio, you will find her traversing LA -- seeing the sights and taking the best Insta pics along the way. As a well-rounded Belle En Argent Muse, Ashley celebrates collaborative projects, eating well, meditating, and living life fully. We can’t wait to share her interview with you!
We played Two Truths and a Lie with Ashley! .....You probably know the rules, but here is a quick refresher--Below, Ashley gave us two true fun facts, as well as one that's made up. See if you can guess which one is the lie! View the answer at the bottom of her interview.
I have two Master’s degrees. One from NYU in Cinema Studies, and one from Chapman University in Film and Television Producing.
I have lived in Rome, Italy, New York City and Toronto.
I have an identical twin sister.
What are your favorite social media handles to follow?
My little sister has Down syndrome so I follow, and love, the following on instagram:
Salt Lake City, Utah
Administrative and Operations Manager
When did you know this is what you wanted to do?
In college. I was studying film and I had only a few months before I was to graduate. I sat myself down to decide if there was anything else I would rather do. I combed through various grad programs, did internet searches on various professions, etc. At the end of the day I realized there was nothing else I'd rather be doing. So here I am.
What projects are you working on now?
Lots of little things that I can do when I'm not at work.
"Sex Talk with Natasha" is a program I produce with my friend. It's an ongoing experience where people can have access to an AASECT Certified Sex Therapist, Natasha Helfer Parker, that provides adult sex-positive education. Seeing a Certified Sex Therapist can run hundreds of dollars for a one-hour session so this is a cost-effective, hands-on approach to getting much of the help you need for an affordable, sustainable, ongoing journey. You can find out more information at sextalkwithnatasha.com.
I also produce the Drunk Mormon Podcast where an ex-mormon and a never-mormon get drunk and talk about people who never get drunk, Mormons. It's a fun, entertaining weekly podcast that you can find at drunkmormonpodcast.com
Lastly, I'm attached as a producer to several projects that are in various stages of development.
What is your dream project? Or dream collaboration?
That's a good question. I don't think I have an answer in that I have several dream projects and collaborations in mind. In addition, the journey is ongoing, so once I do one of those projects, I hope to always have another dream project that is being worked on.
If I had to choose, though, it would just be connecting talent with the resources they need to get their projects done whether that's money, crew, talent, etc. That's really what is so rewarding in this industry, seeing people work together and making their projects come to life.
What 3 accomplishments you are most proud of?
- Creating and successfully continuing “The Reel Women.”
- Graduating from Chapman University with several projects under my belt, including two TV pilots and a (completed) short film. These three projects were all produced, shot and edited within the same nine months of each other.
- Still working in the industry. Let's be honest, it's hard sometimes to even get the bills paid. So I feel like having successfully done that deserves recognition.
Who is your favorite character from a movie?
Connie from "Connie and Carla." Look it up. Watch it. Then you'll understand why.
Who is your favorite filmmaker/writer/director/producer/editor, etc?
Kathleen Kennedy, hands down.
Who do you admire and why? (this can be someone you know or a public figure)
Several people. Too many to list. Definitely several family members. I have lots of friends that I admire too.
As far as public figures, there's lots. But people like Ellen who do a lot of good are generally people I gravitate to. And she's hilarious so there's that.
What do you feel is the biggest hurdle for women and POC in the film industry?
Getting representation. The talent and skill is there but there is this unseen barrier. It's getting noticed by reps and getting that representation to level up.
Did you know in 2016 women made up only 7% of all directors working on the 250 top grossing films?
Ya, I know. It's ridiculous. That's why I started and continue “The Reel Women.” To at least show that there are women working, already, and they are ready for their shot. Let's get that percentage up.
Do you know women who aspire to be film directors?
Yes, of course. But I don't think they are aspiring, I think they are directors. They are hustling, networking and working hard on their projects. They just haven't had their moment yet of being in that "club."
What is one thing you wish you could tell your younger self? What is one wish you have for your future self?
I would tell my younger self to make health a priority. Eat well, exercise, meditate, etc. It will help much more in the long term.
For my future self, give it some credit. I might not be exactly where I want to be but at least I'm trying daily.
What's your favorite makeup item?
Chapstick. Doesn't matter the brand as long as the flavor is nice. I have one in all my bags, by my bed, at work, in the car, etc.
Which is the lie?
I have lived in Rome, Italy, New York City and Toronto. (I have never lived in Toronto, but I have lived in Rome and NYC.)