PROJECT - MAW - Moms At Work
Over the summer I had the pleasure of meeting, photographing and interviewing Falguni Lakhani-Adams. She is an Emmy Award-winning producer, writer, wife, and awesome Bad-Ass-Mom of two, living in Venice, CA.
Here is my interview.
Tell me a little about your current job and position.
I'm a TV and video producer; my current project is a hybrid scripted/unscripted series called "Valley of the Boom" created by Matthew Carnahan for Nat Geo TV.
How long have you been doing this?
I've been in the television/documentary business for 17 years and counting.
What attracted you to this career?
In my former life I was an attorney, and I chose that career path with a goal of helping domestic abuse victims. I still think about that path and have worked in other ways towards that goal but for me the legal system wasn’t a great fit. A friend of mine encouraged me to look into broadcast news; I think his exact words were, “I think you could be the next Barbara Walters”. Well, clearly that didn’t happen! But once I got into producing I started to love it and I haven’t looked back.
Is this career path harder for a woman, especially a mother?
I don't believe there is ever a perfect career choice for a parent, mother or father. I think we try so hard to find what we call "balance" but the truth is as a mom I’ve learned to just be more efficient. When I get to a project, I'm hyper-organized, I bang it out and I go home to be with my kids. I try not to answer work emails or calls during the few hours I have with my kids before bed. Most of my bosses and managers have been supportive but I made sure to set my own boundaries. When I was a new mom, I was always so paranoid and never said no to anything. I would say I've learned that when you are doing good work, people appreciate it, even if you have to sometimes say, “No, I’m not available this weekend.”
How old are your children and are they supportive of what you do?
I have two enthusiastic children, a delightful young boy who is 8 and a 5-year old daughter. I try to discuss what I am working on with my kids so that they feel a level of attachment to the outcome of my work. They are very supportive.
How do you balance your job and your family and find time for your career and what are your biggest challenges?
I'm not certain I'm ever really balancing anything that well but I try to give the breadth of my love and passion to everything I do. When I'm with my family they know and feel my energy with them and when I'm at work I try to give my all as well. I think one of the biggest challenges for women is to not be so hard on themselves when trying to find "balance" with their career and their family. My husband is an equal partner in parenting and that helps a great deal. My husband is my greatest champion and support. He's a true partner in every sense of the word and a great parent, spouse and friend.
If you weren't a producer, what do you think you would be doing?
I would probably be working for the United Nations as a diplomat or open an eclectic store on Abbott Kinney, or maybe become a psychic. ;)
Do you have a mantra or saying that helps you get through tough times?
Yes, I tell myself everyday that I have the Midas touch and everything I touch turns to gold.
What are your future goals?
I hope to continue to excel in my career but would love to circle back to my initial career goals to support the women in my community who don’t have the resources or freedom to stand up for themselves. I believe that when women like me can take our knowledge and apply it with heart and feelings, we can achieve real change. I hope to continue to be a force in the lives of young women and help them achieve their goals and grow with confidence and support.
It’s hard to believe but the Holidays are around the corner and my weekends are already filling up. Book your Custom Portrait session Now.
I am offering different package options. Contact me for details.
UPCOMING SPECIALS & EVENTS - Kids Holiday Mini Sessions And Custom Portrait Sessions, Contact me for details or a free consultation.
I’ve been having an awesome time meeting and photographing so many talented kids. Follow me on Instagram to see all of my current work. Contact me for session details on kid’s headshots, custom portraits, model and dance portfolios
How are you feeling during your pregnancy? Do you feel sexy or do you feel awkward? If you answered awkward, remember your baby bump is beautiful and you're glowing. So put on those sexy heels that you pushed to the back of your closet...well at least wear them around the house or while your sitting on the couch and believe that you are a goddess!
I had a great time creating this beautiful portrait for this boy and his family. He was such a pleasure to work with, so well mannered & polite.
If you're looking for a creative portrait of your child contact me for details and rates. The holidays are coming up and my weekends fill up fast.
Los Angeles Photographer Denise Demarest Launches
Project MAW, Moms At Work
I am always looking for ways to challenge myself especially when it comes to my creativity. Last fall I was in creative rut. After I reconnected with an old friend and heard her story of how she found equilibrium between her music career and her role as a mother I was extremely impressed and honestly a little envious.
I have always had a deep sense of respect for moms who are not only able to maintain their passion careers but are able to successfully balance those passion careers with their family responsibilities. As an artist and mom I know how hard it has been for me to find that balance and I wanted to hear more stories from other moms so I created a new project for myself called MAW, Moms at Work.
Since last fall I have connected with many Badass Moms, took their portraits and heard their stories. This week in honor of Mother’s Day, I am finally launching my project.
My first mom is Sheila Darcey, aka @sketchpoetic on Instagram.
When I first discovered Sheila’s page on Instagram, I not only fell in love with her sketches but also with her words. Sheila adds a beautiful quote or poetry from her heart to accompany her daily posts. Here is my interview with Sheila Darcey.
“Art is my daily form of meditation.”
How much time do you give to your art daily?
Thirty to forty-five minutes a day is my rule of thumb for my morning sketches. I also try to do it around the same time each morning. It helps to condition my mind and body to view it as part of a daily routine and not a recreational activity.
I also try to find at least six to eight hours a week to work on larger pieces or facilitate collaborative art sessions. While it seems like a lot of time to devote to myself, it simply replaced old habits. I find that art fills me with a different type of fuel. One that relaxes my mind, fills me with self-love, and puts me in a state that transcends time.
How do you balance your job and your family and find time for your art?
Balance for me is about being rooted and grounded in one's self and not giving in to the expectations of what others have placed on you. As long as I'm feeling balanced as a whole, then my family, for the most part, feels the same. It’s not about whether I'm doing it all or having it all, it’s about whether my time away from my family is purposeful and or meaningful.
As for the golden question of “How do you make the time?” the answer is different for everyone. For me, it was my understanding of why I wasn’t allowing my art or something I loved to be a priority in my life. Once I figured out this answer I focused on unblocking and letting go of my old habits. Instead of spending 30 minutes on social media, binge-watching Netflix, or whatever I used to do to escape, I turned to my morning sketches. This daily practice evolved into more, and continues to this day. Focusing on the WHY is always the best place to start.
Is your family supportive of your creativity?
Absolutely. My husband and daughter are artists in their own right. They have always encouraged me to draw or paint. I would dabble on occasion, but never seriously got in to it. It wasn’t until I was ready to embrace this part of myself again that I really listened. Even in the business world, creativity is a highly regarded trait. It’s not that I wasn’t being creative each day, it’s that I was neglecting the artist within. Anytime we neglect an important part of who we are, the people around you are affected in some way. I can confidently say that since returning to my artist roots, my home life is the most grounded it has ever been.
When did you first discover you were creative and had a passion for the arts?
It started at a very young age. I knew it was a natural gift and something I loved to do. It was also my haven through difficult times. I remember drawing to escape my thoughts and fears. I also drew to make others happy. Gifting art has always been something I have been passionate about.
Gifting art, I love that idea. What do you hope to accomplish with your art?
The intention of my art is to unlock others, to make it accessible and to serve as a catalyst for change. I want people to connect with the process as much as the outcome, to create without over-thinking or analyzing, to create without fear, to create without expectations and to create because it’s fun. It’s about being in a safe place to quiet the mind and spark the child-like curiosity we sometimes lose in our busy lives. Ultimately, I hope my art inspires and brings light to the world. We all need a little more of this in our lives.
What advice would you offer new moms on how to balance their passion careers with motherhood?I think as women, and as moms we need to free ourselves from feeling the guilt associated with putting our needs before others. Each stage of motherhood brings about new challenges and adventures. It is hard enough navigating the waters of parenthood without adding self-judgment or extreme expectations into the mix. Don't get so caught up with trying to be the perfect mom especially if it means giving up on what makes you, you.
Balance isn't about equal distribution of time and energy, it’s about feeling grounded in one's self. I know it’s easier said than done but try to find that passion in your life that connects back to YOU. And, if you haven't heard it in awhile, let me be the one to say it, "You're worth it!” Once you see it, those around you will see it too.
Thanks for reading my first MAW Project interview.
If you are a Badass Mom who would like to participate in this project, or if you know a Badass Mom who may be interested, you can contact me at email@example.com
After Mother’s Day, 2018, I will be posting more awesome moms on the 15th of every month. To follow my journey on project MAW you can join me on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/demarest_portraits/?hl=en
or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/DeniseDemarestPhotography/
or follow me monthly on my Blog http://www.demarestphotography.com/blog/
It's such a treat to be able to listen to music and capture the beauty of dance with my camera. Here are a few images I created recently of the lovely Evan.
Here's just a few captures of a wonderful photo session with this beautiful girl. Headshots and model shots for her portfolio.
A wonderful Pregnancy Portrait Session with this beautiful mom to be.
He loved the artist Magritte and he imagined an apple on top of his head.
It's been a busy spring and I keep forgetting to post this portrait of adorable Adele. We had a fun photo session capturing her natural giggle as she read one of her favorite children's books. Originally I had an idea of her sitting on a high wall with blue sky and clouds in the background. I photographed her sitting on a bench in my studio and later I searched for the perfect wall but I just couldn't find one that I liked. Finally a few weeks later while traveling in England I found the spot where Adele could be placed and the lighting was perfect. Viola! The two images worked perfectly together...the magic of photography.
A wonderful portrait session with these twins...
This image was the first in my series, "If You Give A Kid A Book". You can find this image and the others to my series in my Conceptual gallery. This series is dedicated to all of the children out there who love books.
Remember…Time Travel Exists when you read a book. Happy Reading!
I’d like to thank all of the authors who contributed their stories to the creation of this image, but there are too many to list. So, with the help of my model here is our short list:
J.K. Rowling, Rick Riordan, Lemony Snicket, Suzanne Collins, Neil Gaiman, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Judy Blume, Brian Selznick, Trenton Lee Stewart, Roald Dahl, Norton Juster, Gary Paulsen, R.J.Palacio, Jerry Spinelli, Stephen King, Anne Rice, Neil Gaiman, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Shakespeare, Cressida Cowell, Madeleine L’Engle, L. Frank Baum, Beverly Cleary, A.A. Milne, Astrid Lindren, Lewis Carroll, & Dr. Seuss.
What a gorgeous day to be in Malibu with a wonderful girl and her beautiful horse!
This was such a fun “Tales of Whimsy & Wonder” portrait session. A few of my model’s favorite things are, horses, music and butterflies. I couldn't get the horse in the room, so I created this wonderful image with butterflies and her piano. Titled: Flight of the Butterflies.
I fell in love with this little guy! Such a sweet boy, and he has some skills on his ukulele!