In celebration of International Women's Day 2021, themed "ChooseToChallenge", we are so thrilled to feature Vanessa Caitlin who is a self-taught fashion and commercial photographer. Her interest in photography grew while producing documentaries in Melbourne, Australia where she spent most of her formative years. Her passion has brought her too many places including Milan, Nepal, Paris, Seoul, Shanghai and Tokyo.
Why do you choose to do what you do?
It was a dream of mine since I was young to do something creative in a digital space or work for a magazine. I always worked towards these goals. Until one day I started doing it, working for a publication as a creative for digital!
What were the challenges you faced when starting out in your field? What challenges do you continue to face right now as a woman in your field?
The digital space is quite male dominated and I admit that I have “softened” my emails by adding smiley faces or including “just wondering” to prefix my sentences in order not to come across too harsh or be viewed as a b*t*h. I have actively stop myself from doing this now. I am quite a straightforward person in real life, thus I do not see the need to beat around the bush on email.
Separately, I have found it difficult to get people to take me seriously as a young Asian female in certain situations. In some sense, having a youthful is not always a good thing. Subconsciously, I felt the need to put on makeup. Recently, I have come to the realisation it was my way of trying to look more mature, which is quite ridiculous when I think about it. We all should be valued based on our merits and capabilities not for anything else. I am still growing and learning of course, but I will never apologise for my gender again, be it in words or my actions. Do not get me wrong, while I do face these challenges, I have been very blessed to have met lovely and supportive people in my line of work, and am very grateful for that.
What is ONE thing you’d like to share with women in your field, or women in general?
Do not be afraid to speak up and share your opinions. We have to be the change we want to see and lead by example.