Meet Elle Mckenzie
ON HER MORNING ROUTINE
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.
On BECOMING A SCREENWRITER
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.
ON HER INSPIRATIONS
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.
On HER FAVORITE GEAR
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.
ON HER STYLE
I would describe my style as a hybrid of 1920s Harlem Renaissance and 1950s Greenwich Village Beatniks.
ON HER FAVORITE BOOKS
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.
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.
ON HER BEAUTY ROUTINE
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.
On Her NighTHLY ROUTINE
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.
ELLE's FAVORITE BOOKS
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
ELLE's FAVORITE MOVIES
Submarine, The Virgin Suicides, Breathless, Moonlight
ELLE's favorite places
Favorite bar, Moe's in Fort Greene.