Name: Veronica Austin
Title: Content Creator & Video Producer
Current Location: Brooklyn, NY
Favorite quote: “I know I’m different, but I don’t think about it.” -Nina Simone
Veronica Austin is a creative. After grad school, she worked a variety of film projects until she decided to go for it on her own. Her film career also lead her into the beauty industry, leading her to be recognized as an influencer. She’s endured highs and lows, and persevered, and looks to leave a legacy of exposing injustice through her films. We #COSIGN her for following her path and working toward spreading her message.
Check out our Q&A with Veronica Austin below as we talk about being Afro-Latina, advantages of attending film school, how Brooklyn has shaped her as a creator, and more.
Who is Veronica Austin?
I’m an Afro-Latina video producer and content creator born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. My mother is from Puerto Rico, my father was a mix of a lot of things: African, Native American, and European. I refer to myself as Afro-Latina because the latter is a mouthful, ha! I love film-making and analog photography, and am passionate about creating content that gives space to people of color.
How did you got into becoming a director, producer, and video creator?
I went to undergrad for television and film production and once I graduated I ended up getting stuck in a retail job that was very unfulfilling. I’d been there since I was 18 and I was approaching four years with the company and I told myself that I was going to apply to grad school, and if I got in I would finally quit. Fast forward a few months later, and I got in to grad school. After completing my program, I worked on countless sets from television shows, digital branded content, feature films, and commercials, but you can only do so many of those as part of the crew where you’re still unfulfilled creatively. So that’s when I started to create my own content and direct my own projects.
Do you believe that attending film school gives you an advantage over self-taught creators?
In certain aspects I do think that attending film school gives me a slight advantage because it taught me so much production wise, but more importantly it taught me perseverance. Grad school was hard for me not because my courses were difficult, but because it challenged me creatively. It challenged me to think outside of my means and create by any means necessary. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a lot of support from faculty and it made my cohorts and I even more driven to figure things out on our own.
How has Brooklyn shaped you as a creator?
I was born and raised in Brooklyn, and I love telling people that because these days it seems to be rare. I’m constantly inspired by my surroundings and I consider myself very lucky to have grown up in a city like Brooklyn because of how much there is here culturally. I’ve watched neighborhoods gentrify, I’ve watched people who are not even from New York try and change names of neighborhoods to make them more “marketable,” but what I love most about Brooklyn is that no matter how hard they try to erase the culture that is here, it’s not going anywhere. I think that’s really inspiring. Growing up in such a culturally rich city definitely shaped me as a creator, and I’m thankful for that.
Your Instagram states you’re 1/3 of the Broken Glass Kids. What are the Broken Glass Kids and who are your other two counterparts?
The whole truth about the Broken Glass Kids is that it’s a “Bob’s Burger’s” reference. In one episode of “Bob’s Burgers,” the kids, Louise, Gene, and Tina, talk about forming a band called the Broken Glass Kids. My boyfriend and I thought it was amazing and so fitting as they’re a group of misfits, so we decided we’d call ourselves the Broken Glass Kids. It’s a silly inside joke between us, but ultimately if I ever get around to forming my production company, I’d definitely call it the Broken Glass Kids.
Why haven’t you started your own production company yet? What do you believe is stopping you?
I have truthfully never been proposed this question. When I think about it, nothing is really stopping me.
Would you consider yourself a beauty and style influencer? Who are other beauty and style influencers/creatives that you #COSIGN and admire their work and why?
I honestly get so awkward when people refer to me as an “influencer” because I’m just being myself. I create content that makes me happy, and I’ve been lucky enough to build a small following that likes the content that I post, so I guess by definition that makes me an influencer. I have tons of influencers and creatives I admire! A few I love are @alissa.ashley, @thegreylayers, @tezza, and @feralcreature. I really admire their ability to put quality above all else. They don’t just post to post, and even if they do, it does not show. Creatively, these women are ahead of the curve and I’m always in awe of their content.
What was your aha moment when you knew that you also wanted to enter the beauty industry?
I don’t know if I had an “aha moment” actually. I have this vivid image of myself growing up where I had a book in one hand, a paintbrush in the other, a camera around my neck, all while twirling around in a ballerina outfit. My father was an artist, so I was always around art and doing something creatively and I think that the beauty industry definitely falls into that category. I’ve always expressed myself through makeup whether it be my extravagant Halloween costumes, drawing on heavy black eyeliner during my emo phase in the early 2000s, randomly painting my face for a photoshoot, or whatever the case may be. When it comes to being in the beauty industry, I try not to limit myself or allow people to put me in a box, and I think that has definitely helped me grow as a creative. I’m happy I never said yes to a box because now I can live outside of it.
With new beauty products constantly being released how do you make the decision to #COSIGN a new product?
As I’ve gotten older, I’m paying more attention to ingredients and brand reputation. I think it started with my hair products where I was starting to become more conscious of not using sulfates, parabans, and silicones in my products. It gradually started to spread to my skincare, and my makeup as well. I’m also really passionate about supporting small businesses and POC owned businesses. In addition, it’s important to me that a brand care about representation and inclusion; I will not stan for a brand that has 10 shades of vanilla in their foundation range and want to call that “Inclusion.” All of these things have become deciding factors for what I will #COSIGN.
What are 5 traits you believe every successful creative must have?
D. Work Ethic
E. Be a risk taker!
You’re a pretty successful creative, what does the next chapter of your entrepreneurial journey look like?
I’ve been incredibly lucky to have the opportunities I’ve been granted over the past year, and they’ve all given me the drive to work harder towards my dreams. I’m hoping that in the next chapter of my journey I’m able to work as a director/video producer at a digital lifestyle company or brand like Refinery29, BuzzFeed, or Conde Nast, working on beauty and lifestyle content. Further down the line, I hope to start my own production company or digital agency where I can produce my own content that gives visibility to underrepresented groups of people. I want more POC in boardrooms, in writer’s rooms, as crew. I’m tired of being one of the only women on set, and one of the only— if not the only person of color.
As a creator what has been your darkest moment and how did you overcome it?
Being a creative is a constant up and down. There are days I’m so proud of myself, and days where I wonder why I didn’t pick a more steady or guaranteed path in life. I think that when my dad passed away a few years ago, I really lost my spark. It was, and still is, one of the most devastating things I’ve ever had to go through. My father was a musician in the ’70s and an incredible illustrator. He is the reason I am who I am today creatively. He was my biggest fan, and when I lost him I think I lost a little piece of myself. It never gets easier, you just learn different ways to cope. It becomes easier knowing that whatever I’m doing, I know that he’d be proud of me even if he isn’t here to see it.
Do you believe that you’ve gotten your spark back? What inspires you to create now?
I think that I’m working towards getting my spark back. Every creative project I was working on he was always so excited to see the end result, and I like to think that even though my father isn’t here physically to see my accomplishments– he’s proud of me. I create for myself, but I also create for him.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
In my production career, I’d say the biggest highlight was going into working in television and film full-time. I was offered a position working on a feature film called “Her Smell,” that I honestly couldn’t pass up. The cast was incredible— Elizabeth Moss, Cara Delevingne, Ashley Benson, Amber Heard, etc. Not only was it a badass female cast, but there were so many awesome women working on the crew. It was one of the most incredible, exhausting, stressful, and beautiful things I’d ever done. I had the opportunity to work on this analog project taking photos of the talent and the director and production team really liked the photos I was taking. They ended up using a lot of my photos in the credits and in other promotional graphics.
Blogging-wise, I had the opportunity to work with DevaCurl which was one of the first brands I started using when I started going natural. It became full circle for me that I went from barely being able to afford this brand, to becoming one of the faces of the brand in less than a year.
When it’s all said and done how do you want people to remember you?
I want the work that I create to leave a lasting impact. I want my work to spark conversations and break new ground. I know I won’t be doing that by making hair tutorials, but when it comes to my personal work I’m very passionate about pointing my lens toward injustices in our communities, prejudices, and creating visibility. I hope that when it’s all said and done, I can say that I produced work that had that message.
Last but not least, please list 10 entrepreneurs/creators you #COSIGN along with their IG handle.