We had the good fortune of connecting with Nicole Wensel and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nicole, do you disagree with some advice that is more or less universally accepted?
“Never leave till tomorrow that which you can do today.” As much as I love productivity & value a strong work ethic, I disagree with this well-intentioned statement when it comes at the cost of self-care and wellness. I definitely used to live this way in my early days in the film industry – a sentiment inherited from the patriarchal ways of thinking dominating the industry. And ultimately, while the illusion of hyper-productivity reigned, it held a lot of negative consequences for myself and others. When used as an excuse to push workers past the point of burn-out, sacrificing well-being in service of a bottom line, this way of thinking can breed toxicity in the workplace. I think the solution is simply to better plan sustainable action, balanced with time and space allotted for wellness. I think a more harmonious approach to workflow also inherently places greater value on the human element of business, which lends itself to more compassionate industry cultures, which in turn, have positive ripple effects when it comes to gender parity, diversity, and inclusion efforts.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Writing is my first love, acting perhaps my most passionate, and directing my most elusive. A lot of my early writing is my most personal, which I think is a sort of natural course for a lot of writers. I’m getting really excited now, however, moving into writing a female-driven Action-Adventure series. I’ve been compiling notes and scribbles on it for years, but am grateful to finally have space in my life to fully flesh out the first YA Novel – I can’t tell you how fun it is! I’ve always been into books that are also movies and have dreams about turning it into a studio feature one day (we’ll see!). My production company, Conscious Cinema Co., focuses on developing features that use the narrative storytelling format as a tool for social impact, drawing on entertaining genres like action-adventure, romantic comedy, and science fiction to tell stories that matter. I founded it based on the notion that the mass consumption of entertaining narrative feature films and the ability of these films to evoke empathy for individuals of diverse backgrounds is the gateway for huge cultural shifts and lasting positive social change, particularly when distributed alongside well-crafted social impact campaigns. Conscious Cinema Co. particularly focuses on the necessity of capturing these diverse perspectives behind and in front of the camera. I encountered many inner and outer challenges after being sexually harassed on my first screenwriting job in my early twenties. I am so grateful to get to do what I love now in a way that feels good to my mind, body, and spirit & love sharing the tools and resources I used to get here with others who are also on a healing journey. The key for me was prioritizing extreme self-care. The inner work I did gave me the strength to fight for outer change and practice resilience as obstacles crop up on the long road toward true social impact. Right now, I’m gifting anyone who might currently be struggling an Anxiety-Relief Care Package (you can download for free at http://nicolewensel.com). I also have a group program called The Empowerment Workshop, where I teach what I’ve learned along my own path of personal empowerment.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
These days, I live at the beach – nothing beats the beauty and magic of nature! My favorite place in all of LA is The Getty Villa. One of my favorite day-trips is to hit The Getty Villa, Pirate’s Cove Beach, and Duke’s for dinner & drinks overlooking the water. A perfect Malibu day :).
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I dedicate my shoutout to Malala. No one moves me as much as her! Every time I hear her story of taking a bullet to the head because of her belief in a girl’s right to an education (in a place where it was made illegal), I am reminded of how far we have to go toward gender equality worldwide. One of my favorite words in the English language is “feminism” because as Malala so beautifully reminds the world, “feminism is another word for equality.” Because there is so much internalized misogyny ingrained in our culture, it’s heartbreaking when others fear the term or misunderstand it, and I am so grateful for her efforts to remind the world that it’s completely inclusive, necessary, and gorgeous… and there is absolutely nothing wrong with calling yourself a feminist!