Therés Amee, founder of production company Prowess Productions, is paving the path for other independent filmmakers who have stories that need to be told, especially women focused narratives. Personable and confident, she champions change for a better future. Therés reminds us to remember why we want to pursue our own path, “That is my why. To give voices to those who have been silenced and to inspire a new narrative.”
A power woman on the go, Therés not only leads Prowess, but is a model, actor, and affiliate of We Are Actors, where she manages business development and partner relationships. In this #WhatsYourPower campaign, we talk to Therés about her Canadian upbringing, her life long career in theatre, and creation of her own company. She tells us how she finds her power through her personal resilience and being able to carry on, no matter life’s obstacles. In her favorite KOVASKY pieces, Therés shows how having a wardrobe that works for you if you are constantly on the go is a must. Her confidence, strength, and attitude inspires us to be kind to all and indulge in one’s life passions.
Tell us about yourself (who are you & what do you do)
Hello! Thank you so much for having me a part of your platform. I am always honoured to collaborate and work with strong and empowering women. I am originally from Vancouver BC, Canada and fell in love with the arts and theatre when I was eleven. I began my journey into the entertainment world through drama classes and I joined a theatre company for five years throughout high school. My first love was marine biology, and I had scholarship funds to pursue 'real' school, my degree in marine science. However, I became very sad and unfulfilled during college and decided not to continue. At 18 I moved out of my family home in Victoria, and left to Vancouver where I began my full time studies into the acting industry. From there, the real adventure began.
Why did you start your own production company, Prowess Productions? What have you learned from this experience? (the reason you started your company, how everything came together, and your goals for continuing to grow the business)
I had the idea to start my own production company when I was 24. I was living in New York for the summer attending the William Esper Studio for their summer conservatory. Living and training in the Mecca of my industry really inspired and solidified my desire to start telling my own stories. When I returned home that September, I enrolled in a media program that focused on film production. From there, I interned on the independent film 'Adventures in a Public School,' starring Judy Greer, Grace Park, and Russell Peters, and then I also worked with the production house Pink Buffalo Films. After working with both these production teams, I was even more determined to create my own filmmaking platform. The following year, the editor in chief of a fashion magazine I contributed to, informed me that his wife was interested in optioning her novel for film. Curious to know what her books were about, I was presented with one of the greatest gifts I had ever received - the story of 'Backshadow.'
Backshadow champions the tales of three women from three very different cultures. This novel speaks on the controversial abuse each woman had survived, and her journey to free herself from the shadows of her past. I cried, empathized, and mourned for these women as I began delicately turning the pages. This story scared me but inspired me to the point that I knew what I had to do. I had to incorporate my production company, acquire the film options rights to this novel, and begin making this movie.
Sounds terrifying? Oh it was. And still is.
Two years later, I was blessed with book number 2, 'Blessed Be,' which surrounds the underground world of human trafficking in India. Another paramount topic that screams for change.
That is my why. To give voices to those who have been silenced and to inspire a new narrative.
What are your career/life goals?
My career goals are to make both 'Backshadow,' and 'Blessed Be,' into motion picture adaptations. Then, when the author has completed book number three, which is a sequel to Blessed Be, I hope to champion that story as well.
I want Prowess to be a platform for independent filmmakers who have stories that need to be told. Primarily I want to adapt more literary concepts, and women focused narratives. There are so many great stories out there, that most people know nothing about. My goal is to inspire change and forward movement for a better future. I have always wanted to support women but also to support a diverse and equal world. That will start with the voice of these films.
How has your life changed during COVID? How have you remained motivated and resilient?
My life has changed during COVID, I truly believe for the better. This pandemic has allowed me to re-center myself and fully focus on my forward visions. I have become more present, and I have also practiced gratitude much more during this time. All of us never realize our resilience until challenged. And regardless of how hopeless this current chaos may seem - the universe has a plan for the better. We all just have to believe.
What advice would you give to others who want to enter the fashion & film industries? And to other career women during this time?
The advice I would give to other women who want to embark within these industries, is to always know your why. Why do you want to model? Why do you want to be an actor? Why do you want to make movies? This world will challenge you over and over again, but what will always promote your perseverance is knowing your WHY. Write it down, be specific and overly detailed. Also envision success. Your success, whatever that looks like to you. Sit and meditate on how incredible it will feel when you walk on that film set, or strut down that runway, or finally receive the email that your film project has been greenlit. Feel all the feels. You need to allow your mind to believe.
Who is your hero/ your inspiration?
I have so many heros, but my mom. First and foremost. She was the first boss woman I met and was privileged to be raised by. She taught me about work ethic, being a strong woman, but also going about life with grace.
In the film world I am of course inspired by Meryl Streep. Meryl is the perfect example of resilience and extreme drive in the industry. I am also inspired by many actresses who have stepped behind the camera and produced their own films. Primarily Gal Gadot, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, and Margot Robbie. I love the stories they are telling and how they are re-writing the industry by creating more opportunities for women.
In the fashion world I am inspired by Coco Rocha. I have been trained by Coco, and the way she transitioned her modeling career into a successful business of education is very amazing. She is a truly an incredible mentor for younger models and has provided a world class place of growing and supporting the next generation into the industry.
I am also inspired by the many models who have become successful businesswomen. I think every woman who decides they want to pursue modeling, needs to understand the short timeframe you have, before you need to brand into another venture. Specifically Kathy Ireland, Ashley Graham, Candice Swanepoel, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Emily Ratajowkski.
What is your power?
That is such a tough question. For a long time I didn't even think I had a 'power.' I know many of us have certainly felt 'powerless,' this year. But, I know my power is resilience. I have been told 'no' and denied time and time again. Yes, I know that is the normal in my industry, but it's still hard. And it’s hard to keep going and to keep trying again and again. But I know I am resilient. And I know my passion will always prevail over any obstacle.
Your favorite KOVASKY piece and why?
I can't just pick one - they are all so comfortable! I loved the Matrix skirt that I modeled for NYFW S/S2020. The adjustable zipper made that an easy work to after-work look. I also love how the Soho Skirt has pockets. Anything with pockets usually wins me over. I love pairing the Tokyo Jacket and Peekaboo Leggings together for the perfect sporty, on the go look. The Coco LBD is also the perfect little black dress for any wardrobe.
What do you think the world needs right now?
Kindness. More kindness. And patience. Be patient with yourself. Take this time to look within and realign with your purpose. We may never get an opportunity like this again. So much is out of our control, but there is also so much we can do for ourselves right now. Now take a deep breath, and begin.
*This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.