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Interview with Jackie Lee, a Filmmaking Period Powerhouse

By Jackie Lee (she/her), Interviewed by Ruby Moon (she/her) from Team August | 11.22.2022

Introducing the filmmaking Period Powerhouse: Jackie Lee (she/her)

“Hello hello! My name is Jackie Lee (she/her) and I am a Korean-American, LA-based filmmaker.

My day-to-day routine varies every day, which makes life all the more exciting! One day you can find me production coordinating for a commercial, the next day you might find me at a coffee shop helping prep for a music video.

However, my passion lies in narrative storytelling and being able to bring stories of mine and my communities’ to life.”

How did you find your passion for storytelling?

“One of the earliest home videos of me as a baby is me crawling towards the camera, not to be in front of it, but rather to be behind it. From that point on, I was always considered the photographer/videographer of the family.

In elementary school, I discovered the wonder that is Windows Movie Maker and created the tradition in my family of making recap videos + slideshows whenever we’d go on vacation. That passion for storytelling has grown into something much stronger; it’s become a way for me to express myself, my thoughts, and feelings that only the medium of film can execute.

Through filmmaking I’ve been able to learn, not only more about the world around me, but also more about myself and who I am as an individual. The fact that I can say it’s my career is something little Jackie would’ve only dreamt about.”

Describe “Sebae” in one sentence.

Sebae is a Korean-American coming-of-age family dramedy that centers around 12-year-old Mina Moon who gets her period for the first time whilst celebrating New Years at her grandma’s house.

Tell us more about your short film.

“I think it’s a really beautiful thing to be able to reflect on who you were when you were younger, and many times when I think of my pre-teen self I just want to give her the biggest hug and let her know that these feelings she feels will pass.

I’m sure we can all relate to the feeling of being 12; how absolutely awkward and uncomfortable you felt in your body. All of the growing and changing made it feel even more difficult to settle into your own.

I made this film as an ode to that – a love letter to our pre-teen selves and something that I wish 12 year-old me could’ve seen when she was going through the same challenges that our main protagonist, Mina, experiences.

Not only does this film touch up on my own personal struggles growing up within my Korean-American culture, such as language barriers and mannerism misunderstandings, it also is a statement piece on the stigma and (lack of) conversation about menstruation within Korean/East Asian culture. It pays homage to those who’ve ever felt like an outsider in their families, their culture, and even their own bodies.”

Do you have a funny period story? Or a first period story?

“Oh boy. The first time I got my period was on a family road trip during the holiday season. We were on the road for hours at a time, and during what I thought would be a usual bathroom break pit stop, I found myself staring at blood on my underwear in a gas station bathroom in the middle of nowhere.

I’m very lucky to have an older sister who made all of these bodily changes and milestones not feel as scary as it might’ve been had I not, but I’ll never forget how awkward I felt afterwards in the car.

No matter how much comfort or consolation you get, nothing will prepare you for when your body decides it’s time to shed for the first time.”

How does menstruation currently exist in your life?

“In the fall of 2021, I was diagnosed with Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD). It took almost a decade to realize that the emotions and physical symptoms I was feeling during and prior to my period were actually not common. For me, it was such a big “a-ha” moment of realizing how much I invalidated and dismissed my own pain.

I feel like women today are already ridiculed and criticized for being emotional for showing even an ounce of feeling, well, anything, and I found myself conforming to these social and gender stigmas towards myself.

For me, finally speaking up about my symptoms to a professional and being told that there was something I could do to lighten these symptoms was such a life changing moment. It was an act of self-love and care, and also a moment of empowerment and reminder that my voice can only be heard if I, myself, speak up and allow it to be heard.”

How did you hear about August?

“Actually, while I was in the pre-production of this short film, my good friend Jade referred me to August and thought it’d be a brand I’d personally love.

Not only did I fall in love with August and their brand, but I also fell in love with their company’s mission and purpose of destigmatizing period talk.”

Why does August resonate with you?

“August resonates with me not only as a female-forward brand, but also as an AAPI-led company as well.

Nadya and her trailblazing team at August inspires me to speak louder and more truthfully to my own ethos and beliefs.”

What advice would you give to younger menstruators out there?

“Something I wish younger me would have known is that it’s okay to meet yourself at whichever point in life that you’re in. Honestly, everyone is too busy thinking about themselves and how they’re being perceived to other people that that’s the least you can do.

Also, you deserve to accept yourself for everything that you are and to love the absolute SHIT out of yourself!”

Thank you Jackie!

We’re so inspired by this Period Powerhouse and her passion for filmmaking.

Keep up with Jackie @jackiee.lee and her film production @sebaethefilm!

Are you a Period Powerhouse with a story to share? Join our community at THIS link and let us know!

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