We had the good fortune of connecting with Xanthe Pajarillo and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Xanthe, we’d love to hear about a book that’s had an impact on you.
“Origin of Inspiration” by Samuel Adoquei. If you’re a creative, add this to your collection. It’s my bible. There’s a chapter I bookmarked where he discusses his childhood. One of the leading causes of death in his town were dangerous currents at the beaches. If you found yourself caught in one, and you kicked and fought it, you could end up drowning. But if you stayed calm, went with the flow of the waves, and waited for the right moment to swim out… you had a fighting chance for survival. This is the metaphor he used for our lives. We must accept what we cannot change and make use of what is happening. Otherwise, we’re like zombies… sleepwalking through life. It has gotten me through difficult times. It’s a beautiful book. If you plan to buy it, please support your local indie bookstore and find it there.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I write and direct female-driven horror. Most recently we finished Thrall, a found footage exorcism film that was shot entirely virtually. The virus didn’t allow us to shoot in person. We could have felt bummed and lost, but instead we embraced the challenge. It was an all-female on set crew and a rewarding and trying experience, but 100% worth it. We trained the actors and sent them all of the equipment, costumes and production design. At the end of the day, it made us better filmmakers. I’m still learning everyday, but the lesson is to always be resilient. And a little kindness goes a long, long way. Most know me as the “McRib Girl” for my song “McRib Blues” and the speech I gave to the Santa Clarita City Council, however. I also recently released a short film / music video hybrid about Ryan Gosling. The story follows a Mormon girl who travels to his movies in a dream state. These can be found on my website or YouTube channel.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
This question makes my wee heart heavy because it’s a reminder that many events are no longer active. Where I would take someone would depend on their personality, so let’s use my real best friend for the question’s sake. Her name is Mercedes… hey lover! (Just kidding, Brett.) First, Mercedes and I would have pizza at Chuck E. Cheese and have an intensely competitive game of skee-ball. I’d suggest we attend a puppet show at The Bob Baker Marionette Theater, to which she might say “that’s not my thing.” We’d hike to the Hollywood Sign, perhaps on horseback because she’s a major cowgirl… literally, when I went to her childhood home she had a freaking cabinet full of horse figurines. That evening, we’d go mosh at Emo Nite, or do a Cinespia horror screening at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Lastly, we’d go to the rooftop bar Mama Shelter, where I would cry to her about how much I love quokkas over a glass of lemon drop martini.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I cannot stress the gift of mentorship enough. There are so many people to thank, but I’ll limit it to four. Their advice and support influenced me in a profound way: Jibz Cameron AKA Dynasty Handbag (dynastyhandbag.com), Nicole Panter (IG: @poseyp), Dr. Rebekah McKendry (IG: @rebekahmckendry) and Daniel Noah (Twitter: @_danielnoah_). Everyone worship them and follow their accounts… they’re amazing. If I could combine and summarize their advice together it would be: don’t waste time feeling sorry for yourself, you don’t need anyone’s validation and always be working on the next thing. They all said this more eloquently, of course. If I find myself straying from a goal, I replay their voices in my head and it brings me back on the right path.
Billy Moon, Rebecca Xu