Tell us why you're the best applicant in under 50 words
I view the world differently. Not because I’m an artist. Because I grew up in two vastly different cultures. I lived in multiple countries. My upbringing forced me to learn quickly how people’s minds work. And that’s a skill set I believe is invaluable as a creative working with companies.
Give us your bio in under 500 words
I am a Serbian-American sound designer, actor, and theater artist specializing in experimental and devised work. I graduated with my BFA from NYU Tisch School of the Arts with honors in Drama. Along with experimental forms, I have had extensive training in traditional music and classical text. I love to find the intersection of traditional language and conventional musicality with modern theater and the use of the “everyday” in order to create a unique theatrical experience.
I draw my inspiration from work that tests and bends the boundaries of form. In this spirit, I often find myself asking the question “what makes the least amount of sense?” My goal as an artist is always to disrupt and raise the question, “why don’t we raise more questions?”
I believe art’s role is to be a reflection of the times. As both a queer artist, and a daughter of immigrants, at the heart of my work is bringing untold stories to light. The disenfranchised often have the most interesting and complex stories to tell. Using both personal experiences, and shared experiences from many different communities, the primary focus of my work is to give the disenfranchised a platform to be heard.
1. What's the most courageous thing you've ever done?
I am writing this at the young age of 24. I first left home at 18. In those 6 years I have now uprooted my entire life twice. Accounting for the scope of mankind, perhaps it doesn’t seem so courageous. Surely people move around more than I do. And then there’s the people who jump in front of bullets to save loved ones and live to tell the tale. But it’s by far the scariest thing I’ve done. I think what gets in the way of most people achieving their goals is complacency. It took years for me to build my life in New York. But slowly over time I made my friends, I secured my income, and figured out how to navigate the arts scene. And that’s ultimately why I left. I felt like I had figured out how to live in New York. I was quite comfortable and due to my level of comfort, I would catch myself coasting on auto pilot. So I moved to DC. A city that I had never even visited and certainly didn’t know anyone in. But a professor once said that she enjoyed living there and it reminded her of Europe. I thought I might like that and packed my bags. Do I enjoy it more than New York? It’s hard to say because I’m still in the phase of building up my community here. But I certainly don’t regret moving and it’s helped me refocus on my goals as an artist.
2. How are creativity and innovation related?
Innovation, in my opinion, is more closely linked to outcome. Innovation is the result of creativity. A new way of doing things, a new artistic creation, a new product. Creativity is more about the way of thinking, the process over product. But I think the two are indubitably intertwined. You can’t have innovation without creativity and creativity’s purpose is to lead to innovation.
3. Why do companies need clarity and creativity?
Any company, whether it offers a product or service, could have the best-in-industry product. But if that product is not reaching the target audience, the company ultimately has nothing. The consumer is what gives companies their power and influence. And clarity and creativity are the ways to connect with audiences. Any successful brand in today’s market has specificity in who they are trying to reach, clarity in what their brand is, and have marketed themselves in a way that appeals to consumers to create brand loyalty. Take Wild One for example. Wild One is a brand that sells dog walking kits, toys, and specialized non-GMO treats. Wild One prices their items slightly over what you’d expect to pay at a pet store, giving you that sense of luxury and exclusiveness. And in their marketing, you see subtle nods to Away Travel and Dagne Dover, luggage companies that have in recent years built up their audiences quite rapidly. There’s no official partnership but they are capitalizing on brands that have already built that loyal audience and are appealing to their users. “Look, this dog leash is also a matte green and could match your backpack you own from another company. That will make you look put together and people will think “what a successful young professional who has their life together.” The clarity of who exactly is going to use this, what job do they do, what kind of dogs do they own, what other products are in their home, has let them rise as a purveyor of dog supplies over companies who have been around far longer. Their creativity has cut significant time out of the building brand awareness phase.
4. You have 30 minutes of free time. What do you do with it?
I have a 7 month old German Shepard puppy named Salem. Perhaps it may sound cliché to say that I spend any free time I have playing with her. But I believe one of the greatest tragedies of this world is that no matter how miraculous the things around us are, whether it be the natural world, or the feats mankind has managed to accomplish with urban planning and infrastructure, these things become commonplace to us over time and lose their wonder. Salem doesn’t suffer from the same jadedness that myself and the rest of humanity faces. To her, everyday is the greatest day ever had. The same kibble she eats for every meal: “The best meal ever served on this Earth.” Chasing the tennis ball for hours, running back and forth: “What a fun activity that never gets old.” Watching her discover the world is teaching me how to look at the world with wonder and curiosity again.
5. What is one risky and bold goal in life you have? Or, if you could dedicate your life to solving one problem, what would it be?
If I had to pick only one problem I would dedicate my life to financial literacy. This is something that wasn’t taught to me at all in any school. This is something that my parents didn’t have a good understanding of by virtue of coming here as immigrants with no money and no financial education. And while I don’t believe money can buy you fulfillment or happiness, it does have the power to wreak havoc on your life when you’re working with negative amounts of it. As an artist, it can also cause a tremendous amount of stress that becomes reflected in your work unnecessarily. While I don’t have all the answers, I’m actively working to educate myself and make up for what wasn’t taught to me in school. I would love to set up a program, or work closely with an existing one, dedicated to teaching underprivileged youth about financial management because it does have the power to transform your life and in turn your work.
6. Explain your creative process
My creative process is generally dependent on what role I find myself taking within the creative team. I’m usually hired either as an actor or sound designer, occasionally as both. Either way the first step is always to get a solid foundation behind the psychology of what we’re doing. I always want to know what it is I’m trying to say. And I don’t marry myself to that. If throughout the process our work takes on its own life and we discover that our message is actually something entirely different, I like to adapt to the natural flow. But a beginning purpose is fundamental. From there I pull inspiration from other work, both visual and auditory. If the work is referencing real life people or ideas, then this would also be where I pull as much research as I possibly can. And then my favorite step of the process. I’ll shove all the furniture into a corner in my apartment and cover the floor in giant rolls of paper. I’ll start with one word that I view as the central theme and then do word association until the entire paper is filled up. I don’t do this for theatrics, I’m generally the only person who ever sees this step or knows I’m doing it. I’m a visual learner. Despite working in mediums that rely heavily on how audio and words associate with images, my brain actually works in images. The mind map is usually when ideas start free flowing and then the experimentation comes. I take my favorites and try them out. And then keep what works and keep going back to the drawing board for the bits that don’t until everything comes together.
7. What is the best advice that you have been given?
“The second you think you know everything, that’s when you actually know nothing.”
My favorite college professor said this to me. He was referring to Lady Anne’s character arc in “Richard III,” but the words had a profound effect on me. I realized that once we become complacent, that’s when we stop striving to make a change in our lives and the lives of the people around us. Once we believe there is nothing more we can learn from this world, nothing we can improve, that’s when we stop growing. And in my eyes that’s a death sentence at any age.
8. What is your definition of creativity?
Creativity is the ability to look at the world through many different perspectives and use that to influence change. Be it anything from an invention that makes people’s lives easier, to a different approach to problem-solving, to a visual piece of art which reflects the culture back to the audience. It is the ability to see things differently and apply that succinctly and intelligently to something new which adds to society.
9. What 10 songs are on your favorite playlist right now?
Top 10 in no particular order:
1. “Haunt” by BANKS for its use of nature sounds, real instruments, and MIDI software seamlessly combined
2. “This Is What It Feels Like” by BANKS because the studio production and mixing is unparalleled (bonus points for how it sounds through headphones)
3. “Miss Nothing” by The Pretty Reckless because it was my favorite song a decade ago, throwback to simpler times
4. “Arsonist’s Lullaby” by Hozier for the best lyrics written into a song
5. “Seven Devils” by Florence + The Machine because Florence Welch sounds like an angel, it’s simultaneously haunting and uplifting
6. “16 Shots” by Stefflon Don - if you ever need to feel like a beast and like you could conquer the world, this is the song
7. “Vlajna” by Predrag Zivkovic Tozovac - reminds me of home but not in a way that makes me sad I’m not currently home, instead it makes me want to celebrate where I’m from
8. “Eyes On Fire” by Blue Foundation because I feel like it encapsulates 2020 very well
9. “Cold War” by Janelle Monáe because of its ability to ground you
10. “Hunter” by Pharrell Williams because Pharrell’s falsetto is quite impressive and every good playlist needs a little bit of funk
10. How do you want people to remember you?
What this world seems to be constantly in short supply of is compassion. I would like to be remembered for my warmth. As a daughter of immigrants who didn’t learn English until the age of six, I was constantly made fun of in school for speaking broken English or mispronouncing words. As an out and proud queer woman, I’ve had friends and family turn their back on me because they couldn’t accept my sexuality. What’s important to me is that I don’t use the way the world has treated me as an excuse to harden my soul but rather inject more empathy into my communities. I believe everyone is struggling in some way and the most helpful thing is to uplift one another instead of tearing each other down. My hope is that the legacy I leave behind is one of kindness and caring for friends, family, and strangers alike.
Passport is valid for next 12 months
Yes, both mine are valid for the next year
Which country issued your passport?
Dual - United States and Serbian passport
Have you been convicted of a crime and/or a felony? If so, what was the offense? State the city, country, and date.