The director gives us a peek of her life in front of the lens!
Ava DuVernay is gracing the cover of InStyle Magazine, discussing the intersectionality of beauty and the work.
DuVernay is a celebrated filmmaker, giving us poignant and timely films that explore the intersections of race, Black life, social justice and Black futures, such as Selma, 13th, A Wrinkle in Time and When They See Us.
Recently, DuVernay posed for the cover of InStyle magazine, by beauty experts Dr. Kari Williams, on hair, Adam Burrell, on makeup, and Chrisean Rose, who served as photographer for the shoot. DuVernay then sat down with InStyle’s editor-in-chief Laura Brown, to talk about her work and how she’s making sure to still find the beauty in it, even in the midst of so much chaos around the world.
“I feel like I’ve made it through something. We are still in the pandemic, and it’s a tough time. I’m clear about the things that are important to me now and prioritizing things…When you put a sense of labor on top of something you really love, you need to be able to divide the love of it and the labor of it. I was able to focus so that I’m doing less of what I don’t like and more of what I do like. That’s a fortunate and privileged position, but I’m in it. I’m treating myself better, from a health perspective,” said DuVernay.
As a director, it was important for DuVernay to make sure that she’s seeing her film all the way through, not only showing up on set, but when it’s time for press runs and interviews. For her, it’s all a part of the making of the film, selling it by being the face and making sure as many eyes see it as possible. She credits her gift of showmanship to her mom, who she feels was one of her beauty idols growing up.
“[My mother] ...she was a stunner and still is. She had me when she was 18, so she was a young mom. When she would pick me up from school, she’d walk in with hot legs, boots, leather, red lipstick. She had an incredible body, a body I’ve never had. I was super nerdy - I’m the same now as I was then - and I thought, ‘That is the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. I’m never going to be as pretty as my mommy.’ I knew my mom was the prettiest, and it made me proud,” DuVernay recalled.
Still, she had to develop her own identity, learning how to transform her conservative style little by little as she matriculated up through high school and got to college. While DuVernay still doesn’t think she has the fashion eye, she knew that her hair was a way to make a statement and something she could play around with as an extension of her own beauty.
Naturally, when DuVernay made the transition from a veteran publicist to an award-winning filmmaker, that same beauty extended onscreen.
“It’s magic that I can conjure emotion through my work. The design and the writing and the direction can make you feel something. I pick what I want to get out of the scene, and through music, color, performance, and words, I’m able to manufacture and change how you think. I can be in your head, and I love it,” said DuVernay.
While the house of DuVernay is certainly thriving, the famed director said she’s always looking for ways to get better, in her own life and in her work. Whether it’s opening herself up to meeting new people or continuing to figure out how to create change in the industry, DuVernay is all about reimagining place and space for those most marginalized. For her, it’s that level of consistency that’s going to bring longevity in this industry.
“That idea of continuing and being here in 10 years…It’s being able to go beyond the moment and become a movement in and of yourself…Consistent isn’t the sexiest word, but it’s a sexy thing to be,” said DuVernay.
DuVernay is featured in the March 2022 issue of InStyle, available on newsstands and for digital download on February 11.
Photo Courtesy of Chrisean Rose/InStyle Magazine