By Katie Chambers
Welcome to NYWIFT, Jade Dressler! Jade has imagined, designed and created for mass and niche pop-culture and luxury lifestyle clients for over 30 years. From nature-inspired body jewelry on major couture runways to award-winning landscape art spanning acres in Brazil, she is known for producing touchpoints of meaning that connect and energize all our lives.
The Jade Dressler Agency is NYC-based with global partners. The agency is known for lifting the dreams of personalities, brands and businesses clients with creative services that deliver compelling design, messaging, events, and experiences that thrill.
Jade spoke to us about daring to be a disruptor, amazing moments with Karl Lagerfield, and her brand new screenplay!
Tell us about yourself – give us your elevator pitch!
I run my pop culture and lifestyle creative agency under the “Brand Magic” flag in honor and awe of the transformational potential in people, brand concepts and placemaking.
Pssst! I also wrote a potential blockbuster film script entitled Myth Me?, where star-crossed Romeo + Juliet lovers meet gods meet demons meet lust meet kidnapping meet UFO’s meet…Hip Hop.
Set in the world of NYC Hip Hop, circa the 25th Century, it’s an epic tale based on the classic Ramayana, and yes, I am looking for the best producers in this elevator!
Publicity, branding, and marketing is a highly competitive, rigorous field – especially in the entertainment space. What inspired you to get involved, and what made you decide to launch your own company?
From a young age, I was always connecting artists, designers and creatives with each other and opportunities.
In the 80’s, pre-social media, I was a couture jewelry designer whose collection embodied the inspiration of nature and the goddess energy. I was interviewed and became amazed by the power of media. In the pre-social media landscape of the 1990’s, to be quoted by major media in your 20’s was a heady experience. I realized then the power of words and soundbites.
Directing creative in the fashion and music industries led to PR agency work with clients on the side. I loved the rigorous energy, especially when landing articles and TV segments.
Today my joy is eliciting creativity from our talented agency dream team. From creative directors Carol Morgan-Eagle and Barbara Davis; artistic director Marco Maranghello for film and TV projects; content editors Paulina Kajankova and Emily Abrams; in addition to our PR partners in Europe.
You talk about The 9 Star Passport on your website as your philosophy for brand building. Can you explain what that is and why it works well for creatives?
Creatives love to learn through patterns, especially in stories, and we all know that the hero or heroine’s journey resonates with everyone through unending cultural lenses and repeated versions. The 9 Star Passport system is multi-dimensional, aligning universal ancient systems for divination. Linking energy centers of geography, spaces and the body, it informs the 9-step brand vision for unique cultural expressions. Like a GPS for Life. Brands. Places.
What have been some of your favorite client moments to date?
Just a few of so many moments stand out:
Filming Karl Lagerfeld backstage within five inches of his powdery wig pontificating on French and US relations with our stylist client for her video during Paris Fashion Week.
Heart-openings and feel-goods watching hundreds of 8 to 14-year-old city kids ballroom dancing together in jitterbug, tango, and fox trot competitions hosted by our client Dancing Classrooms, a social and emotional ballroom dance program founded by world ballroom champions Pierre Dulaine and Yvonne Marceau. The movie Take the Lead, starring Antonio Banderas was based on Pierre and Dancing Classrooms.
The “big picture pitches” that become big news. For example, we pitched and manifested converting a Today Show set into a beach where a lifeguard gave tips for our client, Sunglass Hut. For the Global Peace Film Festival, we invited hundreds to wear white and form a huge peace sign. Our goal was a connected, peaceful moment and an arial shot that made “front page” news.
Something compelled me to wave and shout, “Hi Martha!” to Martha Stewart as she entered a FIT fashion show. I was so exuberant that she thought she knew me and my client, and so we walked and talked with her as we entered the exhibition and the cameras rolled. So it goes without saying, I had a happy client.
What kinds of projects and clients excite you?
I love working with clients that inspire via their creative work and/or projects that carry positive messages into world and support a healthy planet. Usually that is personality clients or art-related, such as our work with Kennedy pal, son of Diana Vreeland and former US Ambassador, Freck Vreeland or the Maysles Documentary Center in Harlem.
I also love the chance meetings that build over the years. My favorite example is the Paris cocktail party when I met a former financier visionary dreaming to create off-the-grid resorts in Brazil, and when his dream came true, we introduced him to an artist and curated a vast award-winning landscape sculpture series, Portal do Sul, that charmed media globally.
The invite back to Brazil to speak about the project at a design conference featuring luminaries like Karim Rashid underscored the magic of chance encounters that build valuable networks.
What is the best advice you ever received? And the worst?
Best advice: When challenged, just stop everything, do a simple task in another room, change the energy, and the solution will come.
Worst advice: Don’t be first, don’t interrupt. In school when teachers asked a question and no one raised their hand or answered, I often was the one who did (mostly just to move things forward)! I value politeness and I don’t think I have all the answers, however, life shifts into the creative zone when we dare and share our ideas. Disruptive acts have always produced great art, change and life.
What inspired you to join NYWIFT? How do you hope to engage with the organization?
My love and involvement with media and storytelling for the screen and stage and my longtime friend, Kim Jackson, who is a board member, encouraged me to join.
And what is next for you?
We are excited to expand the agency by representing talent and creating content deals for clients like Alaine Portner, a psychic medium. The September 27th Maysles Albie Awards is our next event we are very excited to be involved with.
Welcome to NYWIFT, Melisa Ramos! Melisa is a filmmaker and professor from Puerto Rico, bringing 14 years of post-production and motion graphics experience to New York. Her first production, Puerto Rican Voices, a docu-series about the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Following Puerto Rican Voices, Melisa continued to share Puerto Rican and Latin American stories. In 2020, she directed and produced From Performers to Spectators, a doc-series showcasing New York City performers during lockdown. She is currently in production on Hoop Warrior, her first feature film. Read all about Melisa’s journey as an editor and artist here!READ MORE
Welcome to NYWIFT, Aisha Amin! Aisha is an NYC-based writer and director. As a director, her work expands across narrative, documentary, and experimental forms to tell authentic stories built from real experiences. Her past film projects have explored and highlighted overlooked communities particularly in New York City, including formerly incarcerated mothers and communities struggling with the presence of gentrification in their neighborhoods. Amongst her directing, Aisha is an emerging screenwriting and was selected to participate in Cine Qua Non’s 2022 Screenwriting Lab. She is a 2022 recipient of NYFA’s Tomorrowland Grant and a 2021 recipient of the NYFA Women's Fund grant. She was a recipient of the 2019-2020 Sally Burns Shenkman Woman Filmmaker Fellowship at the Jacob Burns Film Center where she directed two short documentaries. She is also a recipient of The Shed's Open Call Fellowship where she expanded her film practice to installation art. Aisha spoke to us about her favorite styles of storytelling, the intersection of narrative and documentary, and her latest projects.READ MORE
Welcome to NYWIFT, Lorena R. Valenica! Lorena R. Valencia is a Mexican writer-director based in New York. Her directorial debut and MFA thesis film, Cuanacaquilitl (Dandelion), received the 2022 National Board of Review Student Award and is an Official Selection in several international film festivals, including the Morelia International Film Festival, the Atlanta Film Festival, the New York Latino Film Festival, and the NewFilmmakers Los Angeles Film Festival. Lorena is passionate about both narrative and documentary storytelling and is interested in addressing issues such as reproductive rights, identity, and belonging. Currently, she is directing Mi Ranchito, a documentary short film that explores resilience and love for the land, while she is developing her debut feature film, Mayahuel. Lorena spoke to us about inspiring empathy through storytelling, the overlap of narrative and documentary filmmaking, and her latest projects.READ MORE
Congratulations to NYWIFT Board Member Joyce Pierpoline, Executive Producer of Mediha, which just took home the U.S. Competition Grand Jury Prize at DOC NYC! In this immensely collaborative film, a Yazidi teen once held captive by ISIS takes us into her world of grief, pain, and hope. We spoke to Pierpoline (prior to the exciting win) about her involvement in this important film.READ MORE