It shouldn’t, and yet it does, surprise me that so many of the amazing women we feature are survivors of violence, both sexual violence and domestic violence. Amy Northup is one of them. But like Angela and Nancy and other Flyers, Amy is using her experience to lift up other women every day. Through her volunteer work and advocacy, and her film, What She Said, which we will show you the trailer for at the end of this interviews, and it will give you goosebumps, guaranteed. Let’s get to know Amy!
1. Tell us in a few sentences what you do. And why you do it.
Girl, if I could do it in a few sentences! I’m a filmmaker. I’ve worked as an Actress, Director, and Intimacy Coordinator (yes, that’s a job! It’s amazing!). The work I do in Sexual Violence Prevention and Survivor Advocacy is also incredibly important to me. I work with a group called OutSmartNYC that does sexual violence prevention in nightlife and hospitality spaces. I’m also trained as a volunteer rape crisis and domestic violence advocate with the Crime Victims Treatment Center- advocates provide crisis counseling, emotional support and advocacy to survivors of sexual and intimate partner violence who seek treatment in emergency rooms of the CVTC affiliated hospitals in NYC. I recently made my feature directorial debut with What She Said, a feature film that tells the story of the aftermath of a sexual assault for both Sam, the survivor, and her community.
If I could boil this down, it would be that I believe storytelling and media are powerful tools in culture change. As a survivor of both sexual and domestic violence myself, this work is deeply personal to me. I want our media to reflect better consent practices, better modalities of support for survivors, and to create more empathy for folks in cycles of abuse. I want us to move away from the image that survivors of violence are all young, thing, able bodied straight white women. I want us to get better at recognizing patterns of abuse, about how to intervene- and I want our communities to have more powerful and effective tools for restorative healing and accountability modalities. I believe the stories we tell through film and television can help model all of this. The media we’ve made in the past has contributed to creating cultures that are sexually violent, racist, ableist, and misogynistic. The media we create now matters. The stories we tell now- and how we tell them- matters. It’s not the same as policy change, and representation is not a form of justice- but it’s an important tool. I want to be a part of making that.
2. What is your contact info (that you want shared) please include any active social handles, websites etc.
3. When I wake up in the morning the first thing I do is…
I WISH that my honest answer to this was not “look at my phone and immediately fight the urge to go down the rabbithole of doom scrolling.” I’m working on it. We’ve started plugging our phones in another room and ordered a good ol’ old school alarm clock. My girlfriend and I have a one and a half year old VERY energetic black lab/pittbull puppy, so usually first thing is dealing with him.
4. My best business advice is….
Be patient. It might not click right away. Trust that the next best step is just as powerful as the big picture. I can’t tell you how many things I tried that weren’t quite right but absolutely led me to the next thing, which led me to the next thing. Also, you don’t have to go at it alone. There’s this specific American sensibility towards individualism, and it demonizes our interdependence and robs us of the gift of community. Our purpose here is to build better communities. Also: know – and check in with- your boundaries.
5. My professional goal for 2021 is…
Tell my stories. Empower people to tell their stories. Empower people to listen to other people’s stories. The more practical: Get our movie out into the world! We want to find its festival premiere home, and then sell it to a major streaming service.
6. Supporting women in business is now more critical than ever. How can our community best support you?
We are currently trying to find a home for our movie! This means we’re submitting to film festivals, and taking meetings with sales agents and distributors. We would absolutely love to be connected with anyone that could help us with the process of getting it out there.
7. Your Astrological sign:
8. Favorite donut:
Classic Glazed, baby!
9. Favorite podcast:
Storytelling podcasts are my favorite- The Moth. Strangers. This American Life. I get a lot of inspiration from these about films I want to make! I miss 2 Dope Queens. My Favorite Murder and way way way too much true crime.
10. Favorite book:
Carmen Machado: In The Dream House
11. Favorite pandemic binge watch:
Hands down, I May Destroy You. Little Fires Everywhere is beautifully done. Watchmen was incredible.
12. When I practice self-care I…
My home. My partner and I moved in together in the middle of the pandemic and have worked really hard to make our home our haven. The world is wild right now, and having our home be so warm and gentle and full of our love and personality makes me so happy. I can’t wait til we can have friends over safely.
13. The place I am happiest is…
At home. I’ve realized these past 11 months what a nester I truly am.
14. People are surprised to learn…
I grew up in National Parks! My dad was a National Park Ranger and we moved all over the country, living in some of the most remote and beautiful places.
15. 2020 taught me…
A lot of things, but I wanna touch on this- we can get better at consent conversations. And I don’t just mean in terms of consent within sexual interactions. Consent is an everyday thing, and Covid has given us the amazing challenge of all of a sudden having to have those nuanced and generous communication with our friends and family in a way I hope we can bring into the rest of our lives, all the time. For example- It’s the difference between “Let’s go to dinner! I’m sure it’s fine, I’ve been super safe” and “We saw 2 friends outdoors 6 days ago for about 2 hours. One of them works from home and the other has to go in to an in person job. Is that within your risk tolerance?”