Home Entertainment Film Alexandra Barreto’s ‘Lady Hater’ cleverly challenges our ideas about beauty.

Alexandra Barreto’s ‘Lady Hater’ cleverly challenges our ideas about beauty.

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Alexandra Barreto

Jennifer Ortega: I love your film because it’s so clever and humorous, but it’s also tackling a very real conversation that we should be having. I read your director’s notes and I wonder if you could touch briefly on the origin of the idea for the film and about the Facebook post and where ‘Lady Hater’ came from.

Alexandra Barreto: For sure. It’s little complicated where the idea came from because it came from a couple of different places. But the original incarnation actually came about because I went to a spa with a good friend and I thought I was just going to get a couple of good massages,  have a drink and have a good time. But when I got there I was slightly confused by everything going on around me and I felt like I didn’t fit in there. So I went home and I wrote this short and my friend who I went to the spa with opened up a meditation studio. We went in completely different directions. I actually filmed the movie in her meditation studio. So that was kind of perfect. So I wrote it and when Trump was elected and we all started looking at things and seeing how women were being treated. I then had to really reexamine what I had written. And then also just examine myself and why I had all those feelings. I wrote the Facebook post about being a ‘guy’s girl’ almost like an exercise for me to figure out what that meant. As it was all coming about I realized saying you’re a ‘guy’s girl’ is not a great thing. It’s essentially saying I’m better than women because I’m like a guy. I then had to reflect on well why did I think that. Ultimately I realized that it wasn’t because I disliked women. It was because I was insecure about being a woman and the way society thinks you should act like a woman. I would then distance myself from women because I was like oh I don’t fit that mold and I don’t feel feminine and I don’t like some of the things that I’m supposed to like. I don’t feel like… just the most in a shallow sense like shopping. So yeah I just would distance myself and I realized well that’s ridiculous.

Jennifer Ortega: I love your film because it’s so clever and humorous, but it’s also tackling a very real conversation that we should be having. I read your director’s notes and I wonder if you could touch briefly on the origin of the idea for the film and about the Facebook post and where ‘Lady Hater’ came from.

Director Alexandra Barreto on set for ‘Lady Hater’

Alexandra Barreto: For sure. It’s little complicated where the idea came from because it came from a couple of different places. But the original incarnation actually came about because I went to a spa with a good friend and I thought I was just going to get a couple of good massages,  have a drink and have a good time. But when I got there I was slightly confused by everything going on around me and I felt like I didn’t fit in there. So I went home and I wrote this short and my friend who I went to the spa with opened up a meditation studio. We went in completely different directions. I actually filmed the movie in her meditation studio. So that was kind of perfect. So I wrote it and when Trump was elected and we all started looking at things and seeing how women were being treated. I then had to really reexamine what I had written. And then also just examine myself and why I had all those feelings. I wrote the Facebook post about being a ‘guy’s girl’ almost like an exercise for me to figure out what that meant. As it was all coming about I realized saying you’re a ‘guy’s girl’ is not a great thing. It’s essentially saying I’m better than women because I’m like a guy. I then had to reflect on well why did I think that. Ultimately I realized that it wasn’t because I disliked women. It was because I was insecure about being a woman and the way society thinks you should act like a woman. I would then distance myself from women because I was like oh I don’t fit that mold and I don’t feel feminine and I don’t like some of the things that I’m supposed to like. I don’t feel like… just the most in a shallow sense like shopping. So yeah I just would distance myself and I realized well that’s ridiculous.

Alexandra:  Oh yeah. Yeah, that was me. It’s like I call myself a tomboy that wasn’t athletic.

Jennifer: That’s why I love the takeaway from the film because we kind of have been brought into this idea of femininity and what it means and if you don’t like certain things or act a certain way then you’re automatically a tomboy, but really that’s bullshit. I love the line in the film about being a tomboy that’s not good at sports.

Jennifer: I’ve felt like that before, a tomboy that’s really klutzy and has no athletic capabilities.
 
Alexandra: I was in softball because I could hide out in the outfield.
 
Jennifer: Oh that was my key position in softball growing up. I always played left outfield and I just remember looking at flies above my head.
 
Laughter
 
Jennifer: In one of your statements you mentioned that you wanted to create a full-length film and you were going to submit to a directors lab, but you had to have a filmed sample. I love that your husband was like just make a short. Then you were like, but that’s only three weeks away. He’s like yeah so, just make it. I kind of love that because I really feel like that’s the way to get things done. Like you really just have to do it.
 
Alexandra: I thank him all the time for encouraging me to do it. He was totally right. I had the feature version written. And the short I mean it ended up like I really did write it in a day and then within a couple of weeks we got it all together and shot it.
 
Jennifer: The cast is hilarious too.
 
Alexandra: Natalia Zea & Allyn Rachel are just amazing. And then the rest of the cast…I just didn’t want to get extras. I wanted actors. I wrote lines in the script, but at the same time, I was like I don’t know if I’ll be able to get to everybody. It’s like 13 people. I didn’t know if they were all going to be able to be featured. I wanted to make sure that they were all actors. I got all of them. I was like oh wait you’re all great. I just wanted to make sure they all were featured and it worked out.
 
Jennifer: I kept thinking like I think a lot of these women must be doing comedy. I feel like some of them are doing stand up and I want to check them out somewhere because they were so funny.
 
Alexandra: Totally. Vivian Vivian Martinez is a stand up comic and there’s Naomi Murden who’s an improv actor who’s currently doing some musical improv in L.A. 
 
Jennifer: That sounds amazing!
 
Alexandra: Yeah. They’re all doing their own thing so it’s great.
 
Jennifer: Natalie Zea I love. I have to tell you when I was college my guilty pleasure was the show ‘Passions’. So I’ve been a fan for a long time. I’ve interviewed her before and I’d never say this to her, but when I see her with her husband (Travis Schuldt) I really want to say I’m so happy Gwen and Ethan (their characters from ‘Passions’) are still together.
 
Laughter
 
Alexandra: I’m so proud of you for admitting that you love ‘Passions’.
 
Laughter
 
Alexandra: Natalie is as a really good friend. We met in acting class. Many moons ago, but that’s how we became friends.
 
Jennifer: I thought she was perfect in this. 
 
Alexandra: She’s such a good friend of mine and I knew she got that character in like a new age sense. Natalie is the woman that when I go out to dinner with her I like struggle and I stare at my closet and I want to cry. She always looks perfect. I can’t compete.
 
Jennifer: I think we all have that one really good friend that like there’s no bother in trying because she’s going to look perfect. Even covered in garbage somehow she’ll look perfect.
 
Alexandra: Exactly. We’re so close and I remember she made fun of an outfit which she didn’t mean like in a mean way. But of course that I just broke down in tears and I’m like You can’t talk to me like that. But she’s just so great when I asked her to do the film she didn’t even read the script. She just said of course.
 
Jennifer: She embodies that character so well from the start. I love how it ends with the mansplainer, the guy who thinks he’s helping things out it’s like, but in reality, it’s so cringy.
 
Alexandra: That came about because I was at an event with Senator Kristen Gillibrand. It was a mostly female crowd. She came to one of my friend’s houses to speak and it was mostly female. Men were allowed to come, but it mostly was all women. I was talking about how strong we are and this and that and a guy just raises his hand and he’s like I just need you all to know you’re not strong you are stronger than us.
 
Jennifer: Oy that’s bad. The funniest things come from truth. Life is way more interesting than anything we could make up. I love films like this that make you think afterward about certain topics for days. In your statement, you say toxic masculinity definitely is awful and we are never to blame for it, but we definitely have to look inside ourselves and see how as women we’ve maybe perpetuated some of these same ideals.
 
Jennifer: You already have a feature-length script of ‘Lady Hater’. Are you hoping the short to be like a stepping stone?
 
Alexandra: Yeah I’m hoping to get this out to the public and like you said kind of get the conversation going and to show that people when they see it, it always strikes the conversation which I love. Like I had a group of women watch it and we talked for hours afterward about it, about a seven-minute short. So I would love to expand that and you know go a little deeper in the feature version. It’s all written and ready to go. We’ve already got the budget and we’ve got everything ready to go.
Jennifer: Thank you so much for talking with me! I loved ‘Lady Hater’ and I can’t wait until more people see it! I know it will do great at Tribeca.
Alexandra: Thank you so much!
 
BIO: 
Alexandra Barreto has been working on sets for over eighteen years as an actress, writer, producer, and director. Alexandra’s directorial debut, “Lady Hater,” a short film based on her feature script will premiere at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival. Alexandra’s first feature she produced, TOO LATE, starring Academy Award Nominees John Hawkes and Robert Forster premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival and was released theatrically in over thirty cities. It’s currently available on Netflix and iTunes. Past projects include writing and directing the first political commercial to air on Comedy Central. She produced, “The Dungeon Master,” which won Best Short at the Tribeca (Online) Film Festival, and Best Comedy Short at the Sonoma International Film Festival, and “Method,” written by herself and Chad Crone, which premiered at the Palm Springs International ShortFest and was singled out as one of the best of the fest by the Huffington Post. Shorts International is distributing both films. In addition, she’s produced four short films including, “F*ck The Parents,” starring Pamela Adlon (“Better Things,” “Californication”) and Twitter sensation Rob Delaney (“Catastrophe”). As an actress, she’s guest starred and/or recurred on television shows spanning all genres from “Pushing Daisies” to “Justified” to “Parenthood” to, most recently, a five year run on “The Fosters.” She is currently recurring on the FX breakout hit, “Mayans MC”

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