The first time I meet her, she’s posing comfortably in The Fabric Social’s new collection.
Ironically, though, Indiga Christy has never thought of herself as a model – in fact, she much prefers being behind the camera. Born in Hong Kong and raised in Dallas, this aspiring filmmaker fell in love with Melbourne as an exchange student last year, and is now back for good. We catch up over coffee to chat about career goals, feminism, and US politics.
‘Photography is my hobby, but I’ve been trying to make film my career.’ A recent graduate of the University of Missouri, Indiga has a degree in Digital Storytelling. She tells me about the art of video production, because it’s a lot more than just hitting record on a camera and then stringing clips together.
Creating a film requires a cornucopia of skills, and every project is different.
‘I’ve just finished working on a music video with my friend from Texas, it was pretty exciting! It was my first time doing anything like that. And I’m working on a film this weekend, it’ll be my first time working on a crew that’s more than 15 people. At university, a lot of my projects were like – here’s the prop, and you’re the director, the writer, the videographer, the actor sometimes, the editor. You’d have to do everything.’
‘I think my favourite aspect of filmmaking is narrative editing, maybe cinematography too. And being able to shine a light on stories people don’t get to hear about, I like that a lot.’ Previously an intern with Vice Digital, she tells me about her experience producing a documentary about Invisible Cities. ‘It’s an app by this lady in Brunswick – there are QR codes stuck up, and you scan them to hear voice recordings of stories by people who live around there. It was really cool interviewing her, and learning about something I didn’t know before.’
‘It was great learning about equipment too - my arm was so sore, it was my first time using one of those cameras you hold on your shoulder. Now I know why most of the camera people I see on TV are male.’
I ask Indiga if filmmaking is a male-dominated space, and if she considers herself a feminist.
‘Yes, definitely. It’s always at the back of my mind, even if I’m not actively protesting in the street or anything. The thing that annoys me the most is when people think that feminism is women wanting to be on top of men – that’s so not what it is at all.’ She shares a quote that’s resonated with her recently, as it’s become all too relevant in the age of #MeToo and #TimesUp: ‘When men imagine a female uprising, they imagine a world in which women rule as men have ruled women.’
It’s hard to discuss feminism without broaching the current political climate.
‘It’s so weird. When Trump came into presidency, it was right around the time when I’d moved here, so everything that I knew was just off what I saw on Facebook, and most of my friends are pretty liberal. But then I grew up in Texas, so a lot of my friends from school are pretty pro-Trump. It’s interesting to see both sides.’
‘But I don’t like politics now, because it’s more about – this guy’s on my team, so I have to defend him, even though what he’s done is scummy. This is exactly what George Washington didn’t want. He had a speech that specifically said, don’t split up into parties. It’s just so much of red team, blue team.’
Now that she lives in Melbourne, she’s managed to leave behind some of that divisive politics, swapping it out for hours at ACMI and the NGV, smashed avocado and coffee, and hunting for second-hand gems at the city’s many op shops. So as she settles into her new hometown, what can we expect to see from Indiga Christy?
‘I’d love to work on a big film one day, as a Director of Photography. But right now I’m just happy to work on a team, and learn from other people.’
Interview by Jane Chen