Whurl Gurls: Interview with @mintkarla

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I can’t believe I only recently realized you went to school for film and production. It makes so much more sense now that your photos are all cinematic masterpieces! How do you feel your background overlaps into your life & instagram?

Aw, thank you for the compliment!  I’d say it comes from having a terrible memory combined with a love of storytelling.  I’ve always kinda been an overdocumenter anyway (you should see the shoeboxes of film negatives in storage chronicling my life from ages 16-27, before I got my first digital camera), but when I had my first baby it went into overdrive, as it does for most people.  I think memories are essential, and I strive to document them in a way that feels emotionally real looking back, which is a balance of real moments manipulated into a fake composition.  It’s definitely life creating art creating life but some of the best things are.  I don’t really care to be just absorbing rather than making something, because I feel that I do both absorb and create when I am documenting, which helps me experience certain events in a more heightened way.  Shooting is almost how I process what’s happening to me, if that makes sense.  I’m sure it’s rooted in control issues somewhere, lol.

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Do you ever feel pressure to pose / be super cute and vintagey? If so, how do you deal with that pressure?

These are good questions!  You know, I don’t really feel alot of pressure to be cute!  I’ve just always really enjoyed clothing.  It has such a transformative power over your mood.  I was just talking with a friend about this recently but I vacillate constantly between these extreme modes—productivity / laziness, sleeping all day / not sleeping at all, eating whole foods / surviving on garbage—and I’ve always been that way for some reason. For me it’s either extremely gross marathons of not showering in disgusting food-covered rags or wearing coordinating vintage ensembles with my kids to the grocery store, just because.   I have no idea why but there’s very little in-between, haha.  But one of the great things about clothing is its ability to elevate you to where you want to be mentally;  how we adorn ourselves can be a healthy form of expression and creative control when perhaps we need it the most. Moms reeeeeeeally need to feel good about themselves.  I’m even more thankful for vintage after having kids; the cuts and the fabrics make you feel fantastic the way new clothes just can’t.  I will say though that I do feel pressure when shooting in public, but only if I am the subject—it suuuucks being on display, right? So of course like many I prefer be behind the camera most of the time.  But I guess to be a character in your own story, sometimes you have to do things that intimidate you, you
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How did you get into vintage? And when did you start collecting vintage clothes for your future children to wear?
I got into vintage in sixth or seventh grade—we couldn’t afford new clothes much anyway, and I mainly had hand-me-downs as the youngest of five daughters.   There was this great thrift store called D.A.V. in Lynchburg, VA where I’m from, and I used to go and find the most amazing pieces.  Just…nothing like what was in stores.  In the 90s when the 70s was cool I was thrifting for boys bellbottoms,old man plaid pants, and polyester button-up shirts (though as early as ninth grade I started to dabble in dresses) and now that I’ve embraced my feminine side I wish I could go back in time to the golden era of $1-fill-a-bag thrifting and actually thrift all the amazing vintage dresses that I missed at that store!  Good grief, little Karla didn’t know what she could have had!!!
I was newly married when I bought my first-ever kids vintage piece.  It was a Lacoste tennis dress for a 2-year-old.  I didn’t even want kids at the time, because I’ve never been one of those maternal types (though I was surprisingly open to the idea after becoming engaged—I think that has more to do with your partner being awesome than anything, because you can actually see it working when you’re with a dude who’s enabling and selfless and awesome), but I could’t resist!  How lucky it ended up that not one but TWO little girls get to wear that Lacoste dress. ❤  Kids vintage is really so much fun, like dangerously fun…it takes your collecting to a whole new level.
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What obstacles do you face as a woman director / editor in the industry? And doing all of that in Atlanta, GA?
I think most creative folks learn that to have any sort of life outside of what they do, they have to combine things.  The desire to document is compulsory but the desire to make things amazing for no reason probably has to do with frustrated creativity.  There’s so much I want to do and don’t have time for right now, professionally and otherwise, that I just end up using myself and my children as subjects in my own story.
Women face so many obstacles in the film industry!  Honestly the mom struggle is the hardest, especially when we have half-formed careers.  You just can’t do it all below a certain pay grade.  I can do little films and video projects here and there but I can’t get to where I want to be right now and be the primary caregiver for my children (James works full-time).  The school schedule complicates things, as well.  I’m happy to freelance from home, it is important for me to connect with my girls….and James has a very understanding work which is great when I can pick up shoots and take off for a few days.  Child care is one of the fastest-growing industries in this country because women are starting to get out there and kick ass, which is great, but our society isn’t set up to help families to find the balance between personal and work life, and it falls on womens’ shoulders the most to suffer in one or both of these areas.  I want to figure out how to get out there and kick ass as a mom of small children but real talk it is HARD, production work is so all-consuming.  I don’t want to have to wait another five years before taking the plunge on a big project. But I’m dying to make another feature film or work on a series or the next big thing.  It’s SO encouraging to see incentives for female directors making headlines with companies like Netflix.  Makes me think that I will be starting back into a more open world than the one I left.  Maybe I can actually get some meetings, haha.
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Do you have one very special piece of vintage? Either for you or Olive? Tell us the story!
I have a little polyester house dress that I have had since ninth grade and I still wear it all the time!  It is cream with dogwood branch printed on it and I love it because it reminds me of my home state of Virginia, whose state tree is the dogwood.  For whatever reason keeping pieces like that for so long brings me so much joy.  I’m already buying vintage that I feel like I can wear as I transition into old-lady-Karla, whose look I’ve already planned: I’m going to dye my hair black and cut it like Louise Brooks and dress every day like I’m going to an art gallery opening.  You know, when I’m not wearing wine-covered sweatpants.  It’s going to be fabulous.
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