Larissa Lowthorp named among Women Who Inspire by Welum.com
This article originally appeared on Welum.com
by Editor in Chief Lizet Esqivel
WOMEN WHO INSPIRE is a collection of interviews with women leaders, with the objective to inspire other women - especially young girls starving for role models. With these interviews, we hope to give our viewers the courage to follow their dreams and help to overcome the obstacles in life just as they did.
Meet Larissa Lowthorp, a film director, producer, screenwriter, actress & model, a technology entrepreneur. She is the founder of several successful businesses including TimeJump Pictures and TimeJump Consulting. Founder of Fem(me)Power, an organization dedicated to helping survivors of human trafficking achieve lifelong success, stability, and autonomy via business ownership who splits her time between Minneapolis, Toronto, and Los Angeles.
Who is Larissa Lowthorp? Define yourself
Larissa is a wandering dreamer in search of adventure and inspiration. I love to create and bring more beauty and joy into the world. I love to help people achieve things beyond what they thought was possible, to see things from a different perspective. Film, fashion, and tech are the mediums I use to connect people with their innermost desires and potential, and inspire them to reach their dreams. I have a boundless curiosity and a natural optimism that colors my view of the world. I’m a problem solver and an artist at heart – the world is my canvas.
I knew you began in the entertainment industry in your childhood, how was that?
Working as a child actor was amazing because it allowed me to do what I loved and be part of a traveling troupe of actors. It was a wonderful experience. I learned so much and was very fortunate to have parents who supported this. There’s something amazing about the energy and vibration of a great performance when we really connect with the audience. Doing something that brought so much joy to others filled me with happiness.
My parents traveled frequently and I spent a lot of time in business meetings with them, staying quiet, learning to listen, to observe. I lived in a world of adults. My dad was often sick, and my grandmother was in a coma-I spent a large portion of my childhood in hospitals and hotels and I missed a lot of school. My imagination was my refuge and acting was a vital means of escape and expression. I think my parents believed that acting would help me to branch out socially.
"My imagination was my refuge and acting was a vital means of escape and expression. I think my parents believed that acting would help me to branch out socially"
Did you study something related to your profession?
More than anything, I consider myself to be a student of life. To be honest, experience has been my best tutor. I’ve studied theater and performance art, dance, anthropology, religion, advertising and interactive media both in university and independently. I’ve had the privilege of being trained by the top actors and models. My parents encouraged my exploration of anything I wanted to study; I spent my free time at the library and visiting museums. When I was a kid, I read the entire encyclopedia A-Z then read more about the subjects I was most interested in. My family gave me the freedom to experiment with my creativity in ways that other children many not have had. I believe that this encouragement opened the door for the wide variety of roles I’ve held. I’ll never stop learning.
You are a film, design, technology, and fashion creative who splits her time between Minneapolis, Toronto, and Los Angeles, with experience, spans advertising and marketing, publishing, human-computer interaction, user experience engineering, acting, modeling, and more. Your unique expertise has helped revolutionize the digital ecosystems for some of the world's most beloved brands. Briefly tell us more how you have achieved so many roles?
I never saw the logic as to why adults had to do only one thing for the rest of their lives. It wasn’t acceptable to me to settle for any one of my interests and throw the rest away. I decided not to give that up. I’m a firm believer in a universe of unlimited possibilities. The tapestry of my life has been rich and varied, and for this, I am supremely thankful. My ADD makes it difficult for me to be idle. There are common the themes that keep my attention throughout everything – they include people, beliefs and behaviors, connections, and a futuristic approach to life while at the same time remaining grounded to the Earth that nurtures the spirit.
I tried different things, and discovered a love and talent for some of them. I was ambitious from an early age and had set my sights on moving to Hollywood the moment I turned eighteen. Things went in another direction. I needed to find a way to survive during hard times. What followed took years of dedication, hard work, sacrifices, and a couple people who decided to take a chance on an unproven kid. At one point, I was working a full-time job, freelancing for multiple clients, and was in school full time. I never gave up - even when I had to put my passions on hiatus. The knowledge and hope was always in the back of my mind that one day I’d earn the right to pursue it – that’s what kept me going. I tried and I failed, and my successes made me strive for more.
You launched TimeJump Media, a full service digital and film/video production agency, what does your company unique?
What makes TimeJump Media unique is our heart and imagination. We read between the lines. The films we produce are, at their core, about humanity and relationships, the transformative power of love and the strength of the human spirit. We recapture the wonderment of childhood. I hope my films restore that sense of delight and infatuation we all used to have with the world. Why do adults lose that? We facilitate the creative process, provide innovative quality content, and imaginations returning our clients and audiences to that natural, abundantly creative state of mind, sets us apart and empowers our clients to grow.
Once I have a larger platform, I plan to use it to amplify my own voice and the voices of others who seek to better the world, to end enslavement and human trafficking, to strengthen communities and families, to end poverty, to provide free-flowing knowledge and truthful education. Poverty is like a cancer, and like cancer, it’s man-made and there are multiple cures.
What's the recipe for your success?
Success is a moving target - it’s meant different things to me at different times. Several years ago, I realized I felt unfulfilled. This caused me to take a hard look at where I was, and where I wanted to be. I made a commitment to change it and formed a plan of action to make things happen.
I don’t actually look at myself holistically and consider myself to be a success, because there’s always more to understand, more to do, new ways to reach out and contribute to the lives of others. I’m a flawed person and a continual work in progress – we all are. I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to call myself a success…the more I change, the more I realize I don’t know. At this point in my life, success is continuing to learn and grow as a person every day. It’s being able to tell God each night that I left the world a bit better and brighter than I found it each morning. Success is when you can honestly say that you’re happy with your progress, you feel fulfilled in what you’re doing, and you’re able to give back to others. It’s very important to stop, take a step back, and appreciate how far you’ve come. Success isn’t found in amassing superficial things such as wealth, accolades, or material possessions – those are all fleeting.
True success is when your heart is full of joy and gratitude, and you find yourself able to support, encourage and empower others in the way that only you can. Success is found from within, when you discover natural voice and ability to share your God-given gifts. Everyone on earth is born with this capacity. Those who learn to harness it are successful. Success having the motivation and determination to rise to any challenge overcome any obstacles and to have the courage to carry on in the face of adversity…never giving up hope.
"Learning not to take things too personally has been a trial. I’m an optimist, but I also take rejection hard – especially for things I’ve put a lot of heart into, and there have been times where it was hard to pick myself back up and keep going"
What is the reality of your day-to-day?
Every day is different! Some days are spent on the phone, coordinating with partners and agents, on set, at times I’m in rehearsals or auditions, or facilitating focus groups. It varies depending on my current projects. Sometimes I’ve woken up to discover I needed to travel unexpectedly later that day. Much of my time is spent reading and researching. I’m currently working as CCO for The Road to Vintage Fashion Show, which is premiering in Minneapolis this coming January. RTV is being produced by JahPenee (filmmaker, model, and director of MTM Agency-Minneapolis) and Farhan Chowdhury (Bangladeshi supermodel. The event is a black-tie celebration of 500+ years of global fashion, as interpreted by Minnesota designers. We have some very exciting top models and celebrity guests taking part.
I’m very appreciative and grateful that my loved ones make sure I remember to take time out for self-care and to rejuvenate. Sometimes I become so involved that I forget to do that and then I find myself burning out.
What do you love most about your job? & what is the most difficult part? What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned over the years?
I love the art of creative expression and storytelling via different mediums. I love being able to connect with people and help them reach new heights. The most difficult part of my job has been learning to accept myself for who I am, without turning into what society expects me to be. A big challenge has been dealing with constant criticism. Design is subjective, and entertainment is known to be a brutal industry. I’m a very sensitive and emotional person, and my feelings can be easily hurt. Learning not to take things too personally has been a trial. I’m an optimist, but I also take rejection hard –especially for things I’ve put a lot of heart into, and there have been times where it was hard to pick myself back up and keep going.
I love knowing that, despite the challenges, I’m working toward something bigger than myself. Via film and writing, I’m able to create experiences that connect people to their innermost emotions. My art brings something special and meaningful into people’s lives. Forging a new path isn’t easy, and few people will share or even see your vision – but despite, and perhaps because of, all the obstacles I’ve faced and sacrifices I’ve made, it will be worth it.
You founded FemmePower that is an organization dedicated to the support and empowerment of current and future female business owners, entrepreneurs, and micro-entrepreneurs worldwide, can you tell us more about how do you do it? What does it drive you to help?
My organization, which will soon be renamed to fully reflect the scope of our mission, is a resource providing aid to people from all walks of life grow viable businesses, establish reachable goals, and to challenge themselves to achieve more. We help those who need a supportive voice and are under-represented in business and in society. We strengthen families and communities by providing access to capital and resources, by building avenues to education and legal aid, their businesses can not only become part of the fabric of their communities, they have a toolkit for success that will carry them through life. In conjunction with this, FemmePower is committed to eradicating enslavement and human trafficking, which is an issue that resonates with me personally.
I have a vision for a network of trusted associates who can operate businesses by proxy for individuals looking to leave oppressed conditions, such as those nations who legally endorse control of women as property and commodities. We work hand-in-hand with crisis organizations to provide long-range aid to individuals and their families. We’re laying a network of roots throughout the world promoting freedom of education, free exchange of resources, positive change and growth.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
The short answer: Persistence and gumption. Specifically, I traded services for experience early in my career by taking on free projects, or did them for a lower cost than more established designers. Satisfied clients gave referrals that, in time, I was able to charge market value for. I bartered for things couldn’t otherwise afford with businesses that offered those services. You can read more about my approach in Ramesh Dontha’s fantastic new book, The 60-Minute Startup. This allowed me to advance my endeavors when I otherwise didn’t have the resources to do so. It solidified my reputation as a hardworking creative with a unique approach, out-of-the-box thinking and innovative eye.
"No matter if you want to do one thing or twenty – in order to succeed, it’s absolutely vital to maintain a sense of internalized balance and perspective, and not let the expectations of others weigh you down"
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Haha, what spare time? I don’t have much of it, but when I do, I love to travel and discover new places. I’m an introvert, and having a profession that requires me to be “on” all the time can be draining. Spending time with loved ones is very important to me. My favorite way to relax is by taking a hot bath and reading a good book – preferably historical fiction or young adult fiction, or esoteric writings on lost knowledge, cultures, and theology. I work in miniatures creating fairy gardens and creches, I draw, I write, watch movies and documentaries, read. I have a very sweet rescue dog who keeps me busy scratching his belly.
Otherwise, you can find me daydreaming and stargazing while I’m cooking up my next wild idea.
Many authors say women can and must strive to have everything – a shining career, blossoming family life and a perfectly balanced lifestyle all at once, others point out that– then women are placing unrealistic expectations on themselves if they believe they can have it all, I don´t know if you have kids and husband, so according to your experience, what do you think about these statements?
Social media and lifestyle blogs promotes an impossible standard of living that reflects a very privileged, one dimensional and bland worldview. Countless people don’t have the luxury to focus on anything but survival. The superficiality of aspiring to live a curated life strikes a chord with me.
As much as I’ll always be a vocal advocate for achieving one’s dreams and aspiring to more – the collection of every woman’s dreams and goals are unqiue to her, as unique and bright as the stars in the sky. Some women truly do wish to “have it all,” but others might experience guilt if that isn’t what they want, or feel like failures if they don’t excel at everything. Some have more traditional aspirations, and in today’s neo-feminist society, they’re made to feel ashamed or ostracized for it. Personally, I’m not married and don’t yet have children. Once I do, I’d love to be able to take some time out to be together with my family. It troubles me that corporate America is set up to be fundamentally at odds with raising a family.
I urge people to take the time to care for themselves. Everything comes at a cost – it’s important to be mindful of how you spend your time, your energy, your emotional resources and the people you allow into your inner circle. No matter if you want to do one thing or twenty – in order to succeed, it’s absolutely vital to maintain a sense of internalized balance and perspective, and not let the expectations of others weigh you down.
Until a balance is found, you’ll be unable to fully nurture any of those people and things in your life. When you’re able to care for yourself, you can better care for others: you become like sunshine and those you love will blossom and thrive in your light. The key is focusing your energy on the that which matters most, and shut out the noise doesn’t align with your goals and values. Women are empathetic, resourceful, creative and intelligent – it’s our gift to have the capacity to do many different things, and do them well, but there’s a real danger in stretching oneself too thin.
Be real, get your hands dirty, lift your face to the sun. Nobody’s perfect - social media never shows the behind-the-scenes of what people are truly going through. The false and manipulated images and framework that dictates this narrative is detrimental to society as a whole and devalues the vibrant palette of the human experience. Tomorrow is never promised, but by living your life to the fullest and committing to the things closest to your heart, you’ll have the emotional capacity to do the things that mean the most to you and your loved ones.
What are your plans for the future?
Well, the future never goes according to plan – but I intend to enjoy it! Maybe a trip to outer space. Who knows?
Everybody has had dark moments in their lives, what have you done to get out of that phase?
Maintaining an unshakeable hope and faith has seen me through many struggles. That’s not to say I’ve never doubted myself or questioned things (I have), but there’s something inside of me that never gives up. It’s seen me through the darkest of times. Continuous self-reflection is a crucial aspect to maintaining mental health and emotional wellness. My ability for ruthless introspection has allowed me to progress. There were times when I’ve been too socially anxious to leave the house, too depressed to get out of bed. It was hard, but the desire for change spurred me forward.
To shake myself out of a funk, I’ve got to do something. It can be small, as simple as reaching out to my mom, my sister, or my boyfriend, or snuggling my dog. Other times have been more drastic, such as taking the step to call a therapist or even to the extreme of quitting my job to follow a dream nobody else could see but me. Learning to trust myself and follow my instinct has gone far. There are certain themes that repeat themselves throughout our lives, and they’ll reappear in some fashion until we’ve learned the lessons we needed to from them.
Remaining self-aware, and knowing that I have the power to either take the easy route and accept things the way they are, or to take action and make a change, has been vital. Opening your spirit to true change requires accepting the chaos and consequences that accompany it – metamorphosis is a painful process. It’s uncomfortable and unpredictable and may force you to come face to face with ugly aspects of yourself. But it’s necessary for true growth. Each time I’ve done this, I’ve transcended to a new awareness of the strengths and potential that is present within me, and has led to far greater things than I could have imagined.
There is still the glass ceiling for women in the world: Fewer opportunities, jobs underpaid just for that fact of being a woman, etc. Have you experimented the glass ceiling? if yes, what are the biggest challenges you have faced and how have you overcome them?
In my experience, the glass ceiling is never obvious. There’s not a buzzer that goes off when you hit it. Corporations can intimidate employees from disclosing salaries to each other, which exacerbates the problem. It’s hidden in plain sight. Wage disparity and stagnation is justified by pointing to things like education or experience. This directly correlates to the motherhood penalty despite the fact that more women are earning degrees than men. Throughout my career, I’ve had to work harder, smarter, be more dedicated, have more passion and become more knowledgeable than others in order to achieve the same things.
It’s extremely important to note that the glass ceiling isn’t an experience exclusive to women. It occurs at a far higher degree by racial minorities in the USA. Anybody who doesn’t fit the accepted narrative and social construct of who should be able to succeed in the workplace is affected by the glass ceiling, regardless of ability, education, experience, or skill.
When I made the shift from working full time in corporate to executive consulting, I did something I’d never done before: I asked for the wages I deserved, and could justify with a proven track record of success. Upon having conversations with peers, I learned that my male counterparts earned a significantly higher wage – as much as 17%. Rather than questioning the system, I questioned myself, despite being equally, if not more qualified than higher earning male peers. My boyfriend is a major source of inspiration and advocate for my career. He encouraged me to ask for the wages I deserve and coached me in the art of negotiation. His advice, when I put it into action, helped lift the glass ceiling and, when paired with my expertise, exponentially increased my earning capacity.
I think women, on the whole, can be swift to downplay our achievements and to accept excuses. My hope is for women to recognize our inherent inner strength and beauty and elevate each other to new heights. Being strong doesn’t come in the form of being rude or condescending. Much of the message I hear in modern feminism is rooted in a misguided attempt to bring others down. No one has the right to do that. It’s divisive and counter-intuitive to the pursuit of justice and equality. The most inspiring and successful places I’ve worked had strong networks of dedicated, creative, smart women who encourage and inspire one another to be their best. These are the kind of people who will challenge and change the world. I’m very proud to count strong and inspiring individuals among my friends. There are people in my life who have overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles, faced fear and failure head-on, and have risen from hardship to work toward accomplishing incredible things.
"Focus on building quality relationships, and cultivating soft skills as much as you possibly can. The ability to collaborate with others and willingness to learn with an open mind will take you far and provide many different opportunities"
What tips, can you give to young girls who want to become an entrepreneur like you?
Start now! Don’t wait! Even if you aren’t old enough to work yet – you’re old enough to network and learn. Try reaching out to small businesses for an informational interview. Learn all about whatever it is that inspires you, and if possible, to volunteer with that type of company.
Get to know yourself. No matter what your chosen industry – you can apply aspects of your perspective of life to whatever you do. Outline several things you hope to achieve as an entrepreneur. They can be concrete (such as earning enough money to pay tuition without loans) or abstract (such as: develop a new way to….) but revisit these lists often. Don’t be afraid to refine your goals along the way as you learn about yourself.
Focus on building quality relationships, and cultivating soft skills as much as you possibly can. The ability to collaborate with others and willingness to learn with an open mind will take you far and provide many different opportunities. Be willing to try new things, experiment, and fail. That’s how you learn and grow and figure out who you are and what you want out of life.
I think in your position, many people may have the wrong idea of who you are (personally), and what do you (professionally), with this idea in mind, what is being Larissa and what´s not?
Truly, everyone you’ll ever meet experiences a slightly different version of you – formed by your interactions and their own worldview, perceptions and biases, and their observations of how you treat others. Being Larissa is an immersion into a universe of unlimited possibilities. I spend every moment visualizing, designing and creating things in my mind. At times I experience intense bursts of creativity where I enter into a trance-like state and cannot focus on anything else until I’ve taken action. At times it keeps me awake or wakes me up in the middle of the night.
Numbers are colors, colors are sounds, I hear imaginary music and wake up with unwritten melodies echoing in my ears, emotions from both inside and from beyond myself wash over me; this is the way in which I experience the world. I’m learning to live an authentic life and fully embrace everything I am. It’s left me with little patience for those with a reluctance to open their minds.
Who is the woman you admire the most and why?
I greatly admire author and activist Maya Angelou, who took a personal interest to speak with and mentor me when I was going through a very difficult period in my life. Her capacity for love in the face of adversity is inspiring, and her ability to touch the hearts and lives of everyone she met in some small way is a quality that I hope to emulate. Her personal journey is incredible. Her prose, articulate perspectives and insight as she lies bare her own wounds and vulnerabilities took tremendous courage to share. Her ability to find hope and see beauty in dark places speaks to the beauty of a universal human spirit that we all share. Ms. Angelou never let fear nor uncertainty stop her from doing what she knew was right, or from expressing herself, and I have a tremendous love and respect for her.
Name: Larissa Lowthorp
Sector: Entertainment, Technology
Company: TimeJump Media
Designation: Founder and CEO