Meet Elle Mckenzie

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Getting in touch with her inner self and finding who she is through creating movies is how Elle Mckenzie approaches her craft as a writer and filmmaker. Originally from Upper Marlboro, MD, Mckenzie has a BFA in Screenwriting & Playwriting from Drexel University.
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Jumpsuit, Henrik Vibskov    ;    Necklace, Another Human


I wish my morning routines could begin like the proverbial fairytales, where birds serenade outside my window. On a typical morning, however, my alarm trips at 9:30 AM. I rise at 9:45 AM, because snooze. I brush my teeth, wash my face, style my hair, dress up, and dash off to catch the 10:31 AM M Train towards NoHo for my TV/Film internship.


I grew up in the suburbs of Upper Marlboro, MD, about 20 minutes outside of Washington, D.C. My mother was a journalist, and she embedded the importance of vocabulary and skillful writing in both my younger sister and me at a young age. I like to believe that it was somewhere around that time when I inherited my love to press a pen against a blank page. 
I was an introvert as a kid, and I still am, for the most part. I sought refuge in the fictional cinematic worlds that were told in dark rooms. It allowed me access to escape reality. I don't remember the exact film or TV program that ignited the ambition inside of me, but I do recall being 9-years-old and expressing to my Mom that I wanted to be a screenwriter. Nearly two decades later, I have my Bachelor's Degree in Screenwriting and am pursuing my passion. 


My source of inspiration is constantly adjusting to the cultural climate or current experience occurring in my life. The filmmakers who always seem to cross the threshold to my thoughts are Greta Gerwig, Issa Rae, Ava Duvernay, Stanley Kubrick, Jean-Luc Godard, Spike Lee, Sofia Coppola, Ingmar Bergman, Wes Anderson, Spike Jonze, Dee Rees, and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. I know I'm leaving out so many people, but the list is ongoing. 

There’s a feeling of accomplishment from knowing that I put something out into the world in expression of who I am.
It took me a long time to overcome the fear of vulnerability and judgment, but now the arrow of my mood spectrum points toward “Fuck it!” There are going to be people who love my stories and those who don’t. The true significance, I’ve found, is to always honor the “Self.”
— On her artistic process
Turtleneck, Tommy Hilfiger

Turtleneck, Tommy Hilfiger


I prefer to shoot analog. My 8mm Canon AZ 814 has captured all of my short films. One day I intend to make the leap to 16mm. With film cameras, in my opinion, there's an irrefutable rawness of emotion in comparison to digital cameras. However, shooting film comes with a price, literally. The major hurdle I'm forced to overcome when shooting film is money. I'm a screenwriter first and director second. Admittedly, I don't run into this issue too often. When you love the medium enough, you'll drop whatever price to aid in its existence. 


I would describe my style as a hybrid of 1920s Harlem Renaissance and 1950s Greenwich Village Beatniks. 


I'm a great admirer of J.D. Salinger's work, particularly Catcher in the Rye. I'm curious to know what Holden Caulfield would think of the world we live in today. So much of our reality is incapable of stretching beyond the barriers of superficiality. I often question what is real about humanity anymore. I guess that's why I prefer fiction. 


Turtleneck, Tommy Hilfiger

Turtleneck, Tommy Hilfiger

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Jazz is like drugs to me. Coltrane is my go-to inhibition when I get the itch to alter my state of mind. His iconic album, “A Love Supreme,” beautifully embodies the intensity of affection I think we all yearn for out of life.
— On her favorite music
Turtleneck, Tommy Hilfiger

Turtleneck, Tommy Hilfiger

Dress, Everlane    ;    Earrings, Faris
Dress, Everlane    ;    Earrings, Faris


Journaling has proved to be a solid self-care ritual for me. I also find it highly therapeutic to meditate to jazz music with a glass of rosé in hand. 


I'm still exploring what beauty products work best for me. I'm currently on the hunt for more organic products, especially a good face mask. I do enjoy how moisturized my skin feels and looks after using Olay Moisturizing Cream. Oh, and Shea Butter. It's definitely important to always have Shea Butter stocked in your cabinet.


Unlike my morning routines, my nightly routines are rarely identical. There'll be nights when I unwind to a historical documentary, usually produced by PBS. There'll be nights when I smoke and sink into my thoughts of oblivion. There'll be nights when I roll into bed at the crack of dawn. 

Favorite camera,    Canon Auto Zoom 814 Super 8


The Catcher in the Rye by J.D Salinger

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl by Issa Rae


Submarine, The Virgin Suicides, Breathless, Moonlight

ELLE's favorite places

The Met

Randolph Beer

Favorite bar, Moe's in Fort Greene.

Favorite bookstores, Strand Bookstore or Greenlight Bookstore