Richie Shazam Talks Her First Film, Fashion, and More
What inspired you to direct a short film?
Through my own personal exploration of love, acceptance, and support, I’ve been inspired to share my story with others who might be going through the same thing. I am an artist and a creative who is always looking for the next medium and a new way to express myself. It’s so important to spread love and light and be able to show the world how I rose above all the challenges I faced growing up to become the woman I am today, supported by the most amazing partner and the most wonderful group of sisters who I know have my back through thick and thin. This film gave me the chance to speak to young, queer people around the world and show them that no matter what they’re going through, it’s going to be all right. You’ll find your place, and you’ll find your family.
You clearly have a great sense of style and a love for fashion. I personally was super into your campaign for Prada’s outdoor collection. What are you excited about wearing this summer?
I’m honestly excited to wear almost no clothes this summer because I want to feel super free, and it’s going to be super hot. I want to stomp through the streets unapologetically.
You are known for being unapologetically yourself. What advice would you give to other people who are struggling with self-confidence?
It’s important to do daily exercises to affirm yourself and help you feel more confident in yourself. It’s important to take time to reflect. Surround yourself with positive, upbeat energy.
In my opinion, you’re somewhat of a style icon. What brands are you loving right now?
I love Schiaparelli. I’m obsessed with all of their otherworldly designs, and it really allows me to dream. And, of course, Converse!
We know you are talented in so many different areas, and tonight is your directorial debut. How was directing your first short film?
For me, this process was filled with more self-reflection than I ever imagined. I dug deep into my past and my feelings about my past that I did not even realize I hadn’t processed before to create Savitree. Through all that reflection though, I was surrounded by my support system who helped to guide me and love me through it all. The most revelatory part of it, however, is looking back at my old home videos and coming to peace with the little boy in those images and understanding the journey I have been on to get to the place I am today.
What was the most challenging part of directing your first short film?
The most challenging part of directing my first film was looking at imagery from my childhood and coming to terms with it. It was super cathartic to joyously see those images and make peace with my past.
Converse is such a classic all-American brand. What about it, in particular, made you want to partner with it for Pride Month?
The support Converse puts behind their LGBTQIA+ programming and the support they were willing to put behind me was incredibly inspirational. They are a company known for uplifting creatives, and I’m honored to have been a part of that.
You have spoken previously about your “found family.” I wanted to know what is a “found family” by your definition, and how has yours changed your life for the better?
Your found family are the people that stick by your side through thick and thin. The unconditional love I feel with my found family is what makes up my definition. We fight, we yell, we pop off, but we are always there to support one another, and that’s something I know will never change. The love is unconditional, and they are critical to my world. They each played such an important role in this film. One of my best friends Cara was the producer, my other best friend Briana, who is featured in the film, was the costume designer, and my partner, Ben, who worked alongside me through it all, served as the creative director and helped to write, direct, and score the film.
Are there any recent projects you have worked on that you’re really excited about?
My recent partnership with Converse was such an incredible project. Creating my first film, Savitree, was such a cathartic experience for me, celebrating my journey, where I came from, and who I want to be next has really allowed me to open up in new ways. In my work with Converse on the Found Family campaign, the team provided me the resources to tell my story and celebrate the power of community, love, and acceptance.
Watching your film was incredibly inspiring, and learning about your relationship with your mother really touched me. How did her relationship with you help you grow into the powerful force you are today?
Our relationship instilled in me having strength and persevering through all of life’s obstacles no matter what. It’s always about keeping a positive mindsight and never giving up on your dreams.
You have talked about your close relationship with your good friends Julia Fox and Briana Andalore. Do you have any funny memories of the three of you that you can share with me? I am such a fan of your friend group, so I have to ask.
I would say our daily text correspondence is pretty iconic because we’re always sending each other funny, uplifting jokes, and we’re constantly connecting and plugging with each other. When we’re reminiscing about old stories from when we lived together and shared space, it’s the best time.
If you could give one piece of advice to the younger version of Richie, what would you tell them?
I would tell them that everything is going to be okay. Continue to push down doors and continue being a rebel and not conforming—don’t ever cave for anyone. Be who you want to be.