Editor’s Note: Five years ago we had an idea. Being a woman-owned publication, it made sense to us to celebrate women who were making a difference in the industries we cover. So, we started a “little” feature for Women’s History Month called “Reel Women.” To say it blossomed into something special would be a vast understatement. It exploded. Over the last four years, we have gotten to know leaders, mentors and visionaries from a variety of creative industries. We have learned about their ups. And how they get back up after being down. This is our 5th Annual REEL WOMEN. For the month of March, let us introduce you to some very special women like Ataboy’s Rasha Clark.
Born and raised in the Middle East, Rasha moved to New York City at age nineteen and hit the ground running. She held a variety of odd jobs before landing in the field of advertising and production. Since then, she has post-produced at some of the top Edit and VFX companies in New York City, garnering an extensive amount of experience on television commercials and branded films for Nike, Calvin Klein, Adidas, Discovery Channel, Fanta, Tiffany’s, Verizon, Disney, Reebok, Avon, Chase, Pepsi, and Coke.
Rasha also started a production company with her husband and loves working through all the phases of film and content. Known for her creative problem-solving skills, calm under fire, big smile and hot sauce collection, Rasha has always found producing as natural and thrilling as being on stage and relishes the similarities.
Collaborating as part of a team, enabling others to shine, and delivering a great final product. Rasha is currently the Head of Production at Ataboy in New York City.
Let’s meet Rasha.
What’s your origin story?
Oh hm, how much time do we have? Haha. I was born and raised in the Middle East. I had an amazing childhood; it was a true melting pot of cultures, and I never felt my gender or my mixed race was a barrier to anything. I moved to New York City when I was nineteen to go to Penn State University, but that didn’t work out, so I started to work odd jobs.
I was a butcher’s assistant, I set stones at a costume jeweler, sold ski vacation packages door to door, worked at Sleepy’s, and typed up legal documents for an entertainment company. One day, they asked if I wanted to be a receptionist for their CGI /VFX company, and I said sure! 😉
How did you get into production?
After twelve months as a receptionist at that CGI / VFX company, I was promoted to assistant producer and then to producer six months after that. I am of the mindset that if you say yes to experiences, and if you keep going through those doors, you’ll find something that resonates with you. When I started to produce, it was like, “Oh yeah, this is great. I get to work with a team, problem solve, and chat with interesting people.”
Who were your mentors?
My dad was one. I just loved his spirit of adventure and how sincerely charming he was, he could make friends with anyone. In our industry, I would say [Nomad Editorial Company Executive Producer / Partner] Jennifer Lederman. She’s a great example of kindness, strength and smarts!
While there will be others, what do you consider your biggest achievement to date?
Being able to work from home with two preschoolers and not become a frazzled mess… most of the time!
What drives you to create?
I want to share stories, ideas and alternate points of view. I believe that’s how we become more empathetic, more compassionate and better humans. I feel so fortunate that our medium is so powerful. Film can reach all around the world and lasts forever.
Award you crave but haven’t won yet.
An Oscar — def!
What shows/movies/songs are doing the best job of portraying strong women?
To me, the word “strong” is subjective. Strong can be a hardened woman, determined to move through the world in a way she deems best, against all odds, or a woman without means, fighting to make sure her family has what they need to survive, or a vulnerable and emotional woman who’s trying to keep things together for her own sake. I think any show that has real female characters and shows women in their best and worst moments is worth watching.
Is there still a boys club in your industry?
No, I don’t feel that there is. There are women in all aspects of the industry — and as far as I know, they are treated equally. It’s about talent and personality, not gender.
Coffee, Lunch or Happy Hour. Name a famous woman (living or dead) you’d like to attend each function with.
Coffee — that’s not enough time to chat with someone I want to get to know! Let’s do lunch that leads into happy hour because we aren’t going to want to stop chatting! Kate Winslet and Ava DuVernay; I admire their career choices and their passion, and I love that Ava DuVernay started later in life.- curious to know how her life experience tints how she approaches things. And Cleopatra — I feel that history has twisted or created shadows around her true story, and I’d love to hear it from her.
REELated: See who else is on the Reel Women List
Last year, the Supreme Court ruled against Roe v. Wade. What can women in your industry do to defend a woman’s rights?
We need to make sure that this issue is not forgotten or given up on! I think it’s important to remind everyone of the right of women as humans to determine their own future, and the medical importance of having this access and of contradictions of banning abortion! We need to share stories, facts, and information to make sure that every state does the right thing: which is to give women a choice.
What keeps you up at night?
The apparent backward slide of humanity. We seem to be moving away from being enlightened, kind and understanding. There is so much hate, anger, greed and unfairness — shouldn’t we have learnt better ways to live? Can’t we topple the a-holes by now? Maybe stop working on AI and start thinking about HUMAN interaction.
What’s up with Beyoncé being nominated for 4 Best Albums of the Year but never winning?
For some reason, the universe (aka Grammy voters) didn’t think it was her time yet. Perhaps they should make a new award: MOST EPIC ARTIST of all time. She’ll win that. And that will be better.
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