Vashtie Kola is perhaps the epitome of someone who simply followed their passion despite how offbeat it seemed to others and funneled that passion into a successful brand, lifestyle, and career. She’s crossed career boundaries from video director, to designer, to party promoter, to entrepreneur. She’s the first woman to design a Jordan for Nike and who knows what’s next for this woman on the move. Take a peek into the agenda of this creative business woman as she builds her brand one project at a time.
What is a typical day like for you?
I wake up around 7 am. Possibly go for a workout, depending on how I feel. Meditate for 30 minutes. Shower/Get dressed to face the day. I sit down in front of my computer by 10am. I go through emails, update my blog and return phone calls. If I have a video to write for, I handle that first. Halfway through the day I’m working on Violette – upcoming schedule, account management, etc. I may leave the office for a couple of meetings, maybe dinner with my friend Stephen or Oscar – then home by 8 pm.
What is a not so typical day like for you?
A couple of weeks ago I took a 6 am flight to the University of Michigan to speak on a panel of filmmakers. Since I was in town, a local very talented photographer wanted to take my photos for fun-we killed two birds with one stone. I landed at 11. Rushed to the hotel for hair and makeup. 12:30 – meet and greet with students. 300pm – Radio Interview for student radio station with Teddy Ruckspin. 3:30-5pm shooting. 6 pm – 10pm Panel Discussion. 11 pm – 2 am 1992 themed party hosted by me. 9am the next day, 8 hour flight to Germany to direct a music video. Land at 7 am for a whole day of nonstop pre-production! I was so exhausted I couldn’t see straight.
How do you prioritize things? What is first on the agenda?
Usually whatever has the closest deadline. I hate to be late, so I try and get things done accordingly. Otherwise, Directing projects come first.
Do you have a motto that you live by?
“Nice and easy does it” – Frank Sinatra
How did that become your motto?
When I noticed that when I pushed and pushed to make things happen, I found myself nowhere and just exhausted. My biggest successes and high points come from not forcing things. Not to say that I don’t work hard, I work hard – I just don’t get worked up on having expectations. If it’s meant to be, it will happen.
When did you discover what you wanted to be in life and how old were you?
I was 11. I was just always overcome by visuals and knew I wanted to be an artist, but by 11 I knew it would be directing. I felt that the medium of film could reach a greater audience.
How do you overcome doubt?
I’m naturally an over-thinker and even though I’m human and I have doubts, I also have a bigger fear of missing opportunities. As an artist, I worry about not doing enough or being as creative as I can be. I guess my artist fears overcome my own doubt…
Do you remember a moment where you had to prove yourself, not only to other people but to yourself?
I think moving to New York City is a big moment. You either fly or die. To be independent in this city is worth noting. It’s like the song “if you can make it here you can make it anywhere!”
My website is HERAGENDA.com, with the purpose of inspiration and empowerment for females. How do you feel your work is perceived as a female in our society?
I hope it’s perceived positive. From female peers and blog readers, I get great reviews. I think it’s nice to see women doing things in unlikely places.
What is something that women today still need to overcome?
Wanting to do what they see other women do with no interest for that form. I think women need to be true to their interests and likes. If you’re good at sewing – then be a seamstress. If you’re good at baking, be the next Martha Stewart.
Who has inspired you?
Frida Kahlo, Lee Krasner, Diane Martel, Andy Warhol, Caravaggio, Alexander McQueen, My Mom – Patricia Kola and My sister Savitry Kola, Grace Miguel.
What is one myth of success?
That it’s all glitz and glamour. Its all hard, dirty work. If I’m not running on no sleep and no food to get work done, I’m in 0 below weather shooting a music video with no heat…while still having to be cordial and pleasant to the people I work with or see. The end result is what most people see, to get to that point is all work.
[Editor’s note: This interview was published on March 19, 2011].