Ashleigh Jadee, Director
From working with House of CB’s Conna Walker to commercial campaigns with H&M and video shoots with WSTRN and all your faves, Ashleigh Jadee is undoubtedly on the rise. This interview was taken from the first issue of RONIEBOND , keep your eyes peeled for the next magazine, coming soon.
How did you get into directing?
From really young I loved watching MTV’s Making The Video, I used to watch the music channels back to back and tell myself I’m going to make them one day. As I got older, I completely forgot about that dream. It wasn’t until I got my first Canon which had the video option on it, that I realised I knew how to film and edit, which sparked off me wanting to get into music videos.
I started assisting a director, which was the best way to learn as I was not only seeing the on set directing aspect, but the behind the scene like pitching ideas, the hours of editing and colour grading. It was a whole new world to me, but I knew I wanted to be in it. At the end of 2015 I was in studio shooting my boy a quick freestyle video. He had someone there who worked for a label, so I got my networking on and told him I want to be a director. He told me he had a video he needed and I accepted. After directing that video, I knew I had to continue.
I’d directed videos before that, but this was the real deal for me, as I had my own DOP and crew. When I was like 21 I directed a video called ‘Her Dearest’ by an artist called ySo, but I was so annoyed that it didn’t have the ‘Beyonce quality’, which really disheartened me lol. I then interned at Prettybird in Feb 2016, which is a production company based in London and LA. After my first week the boss asked me what I wanted, and I told her I’m going to be a director. She offered me to stay with them and within a year I was under their representation and I’m featured on their website alongside other amazing directors such as Melina Matsoukas, who directed and exc. produced HBO’s Insecure series.
What’s been the biggest struggle you’ve faced on your journey thus far and how have you overcome it?
Biggest struggle has been staying strong mentally, it’s not easy being a Director, let alone being a freelancer. I quit my job at 18 and have been self employed since, which meant I had to make a lot of sacrifices and miss out on things that people my age enjoyed or achieved. I had to build up self-discipline so that I would achieve as much as I have now & I’m still nowhere near where I want to be. But the same time, I feel that this was a major key to my journey & without theses sacrifices I wouldn’t be where I am today, or be as strong minded as I am. So even though it was a struggle, the bigger picture is worth it. Keeping that in mind always helped me overcome any difficulties I faced.
Who or what inspires you to be the best version of yourself?
It sounds really weird because I’m not a mother, but the thought of my future children always inspires me to be the best version of myself. When I think about them, it inspires me to be my best version for myself in the present. I’m always thinking about how I’m going to teach them & stuff, so I live my life being mindful of this, which ultimately keeps me in a very selfless place. I want to learn & understand from different perspectives which I see as preparing myself for both my best version for me and for them.
What was the last creative project that you saw that literally made you say “wow”and who was it by?
Kendrick Lamar’s All the Stars music video. That to me is a music video. Nowadays, everyone is doing the same old things so it’s rare that you see me actually be in awe over a music video. It was stunning! From the locations, meaning behind it to the vfx. 10/10 from me.
The other project was Nike’s Nothing Beats A Londoner. In terms of representation, they nailed it. Again like the Kendrick video, I was in awe, I still can’t stop smiling when I watch it. The fact it featured people like Skepta and Giggs is huge in my eyes, I was around when no one gave a damn about Grime. It’s amazing to see them as the stars, not even just across London but the world… I feel so proud to be apart of such a time!
What’s next for you? What are you most excited for?
Next for me is to tune into my business side as well as my creative side, I’ve started working on my own production company which I’m super excited to build. I’ve moved away from music videos and more into branded content, but this year I plan to get back into them. I’m not impressed by much I’m seeing from our UK music scene, so I’m going to change that.