We had the good fortune of connecting with Tonya Kay and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tonya, what principle do you value most?
Authenticity. Contrived, faked and inauthentic performances, people and brands bore me. And you can feel that crap from a mile away. Authenticity just feels good. It confirms our humaness. When my audience sees my work, I hope they feel validated in being themselves as themselves.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I excel in and relish anything no one has done before. And I always joke, “I’ll do anything twice – just to make sure.” There’s something delicious about finding a solution to what everyone else sees as a problem. Solution-finding is very creative work! No one shows you how, so you’re the pioneer. I’d never seen a vertically-traveling single-take all-drone narrative film shot before, so I shot one (The Ascension of Ava Delaine, Amazon Prime). I had no idea how to make a movie during quarantine without seeing my actors or sharing gear – so this summer, I made the way (Band). And I gave a young wheelchair dancer, Luzi Skye, her first lines on national tv because that area needs pioneering, too, apparently (Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! “Curious Christmas”, The CW). I think the hardest part of being attracted to things you’ve never done before is if it HAS been done before, you lose a little interest. So the challenge there creatively, when working on a standardized gig, is to find where you can add some adventure to an otherwise tightly structured format.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’d take my friend cruising in my classic car to the ocean or the crest. We’d swing by Descanso Gardens, Friday jazz nights at LACMA, Second City Main Stage, Wild Living Foods, The Observatory in Santa Ana and Urban 728 Yoga for some hot yoga with Joe before ending up gazing at the legendary street mural work in DTLA’s Art’s District. Los Angeles has some very special niches, especially when there’s not a pandemic.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d like to shout out to Animal Defenders International, a grass roots ordination doing massive work worldwide. Follow and support them for their triumphs ending animal suffering in circuses, in laboratories and on set.
Mike Ditz Matt Odom Nick Dee Mike Ditz Gretel Cortez