Jennifer Siebel Newsom Premieres New Film ‘The Mask You Live In’

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Jennifer Siebel Newsom, photography by Andrew Paynter
Jennifer Siebel Newsom, photography by Andrew Paynter

Jennifer Siebel Newsom is no stranger to hats—she is a filmmaker, speaker, former actress, wife and mother of three young children as well as an advocate for women and girls—but most might not have realized until now that she is also an expert on masks. Siebel Newsom is the writer, director and producer of The Mask You Live In, a documentary that follows boys and young men as they struggle to stay true to themselves while negotiating America’s definition of masculinity. This topic is on par with her 2011 Sundance documentary Miss Representation, which explores how the media’s misrepresentations of women contribute to the underrepresentation of women in positions of power and influence, which led her to launch The Representation Project, a call-to-action campaign and media organization established to shift people’s consciousness, inspire individual and community action and ultimately transform culture so that all, regardless of gender, age, or circumstance, can fulfill his or her potential. Here, Bay Area-based Siebel Newsom, the wife of California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, walks us through the day of her film’s L.A. premiere—which includes a posh dinner at Brooks Brothers in Beverly Hills, some girl time with Mask’s Executive Producer Maria Shriver and some truly chic eveningwear.

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - APRIL 23: Journalist Maria Shriver and director Jennifer Siebel Newsom attend as Brooks Brothers hosts ìThe Mask You Live Inî premiere after party at Brooks Brothers Rodeo Drive on April 23, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California.  (Photo by Donato Sardella/Getty Images for Brooks Brothers)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – APRIL 23: Journalist Maria Shriver and director Jennifer Siebel Newsom attend as Brooks Brothers hosts ìThe Mask You Live Inî premiere after party at Brooks Brothers Rodeo Drive on April 23, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Donato Sardella/Getty Images for Brooks Brothers)

6:30 AM My three children wake me up. I love seeing their faces first thing in the morning and snuggling with them before we start our day.  Then, it’s down to the kitchen for breakfast together as a family, which is my favorite part of the day. I’m always asking them what they are grateful for—their answers can be pretty funny and cute!

8 AM We leave one-and-a-half year-old Brooklynn with her babysitter and I drive Montana, 5, and Hunter, 3, to school. If I have time, I go for a quick 20-minute hike, lift weights at the gym, or see my physical therapist; I am always nursing an old back or neck injury from my days playing soccer at Stanford and on the Junior National Soccer team.

9 AM I head into The Representation Project office. After debuting my first film in 2011, Miss Representation—which focuses on the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence—I founded The Representation Project to address the overwhelming public demand for ongoing education and social action. Our mission is to inspire individuals and communities to challenge and overcome limiting stereotypes and injustices.

10 AM I have a meeting with our education director about our educational curriculum for my latest film, The Mask You Live In, which looks at the effect of limiting gender stereotypes on our boys. Our curriculum—for both Miss Representation and The Mask You Live In—helps young people critically examine media, question limiting gender norms, and build social-emotional skills.

10:30 AM I meet with our CFO to review financials for our upcoming board meeting. This isn’t my favorite part of being a CEO, but it’s certainly necessary. I touch base briefly with our development director as well as my assistant to arrange meetings for Friday.

11 AM Team meeting with The Representation Project staff to discuss our current campaigns, partnerships, education initiatives and distribution strategy. It’s important to me that we meet regularly to build that sense of camaraderie as a community committed to reducing injustice. Every week there is something exciting to celebrate. For instance, this week our communications team shared that we reached three million people in a single day on our social media platforms. Success!

NOON Research and brainstorming sessions for my next film(s)—I know, I know, there is always a project in motion—while gulping down my usual kale chicken salad, brownie, and latte from my favorite local cafe. Film development is some of my favored work because I love having the time to look at the statistics, connect the dots and think creatively about the systemic issues holding us back as a culture and society. Ultimately putting the films together is like a research puzzle to me, and I get such joy and satisfaction from doing the work.

2 PM My two youngest kids drop by the office to give me a hug and say “hola.” Spanish is their first language from my days working with female run micro-enterprises in Latin America, and I am determined to support their fluency. No matter how much I love my work, seeing them completely lifts my spirits and gives me new energy to tackle the rest of the day. They are my inspiration and motivators.

2:30 PM I catch a ride to the San Francisco Airport [to hop on a plane] for the Los Angeles premiere of The Mask You Live In.

4:30 PM My team and I have a meeting with a company about partnership possibilities. I believe strongly in working together to amplify our messages. A rising tide lifts all boats.

5:30 PM A little hair and makeup before donning Brooks Brothers attire for the evening. I always FaceTime the kids before bed to ask about the rest of their day and say “buenas noches” and “les amo.”

6:00 PM I talk to a few reporters about the film.

6:30 PM Screening of The Mask You Live In, followed by an incredible party hosted by Brooks Brothers, who were early supporters of Miss Representation. Great people, and a wonderful company to boot.

9:30 PM After an amazing evening, I drive with my sister to her home in L.A. for the night while returning a few emails during the car ride home.  I catch a glimpse of my sweet niece and nephew sound asleep and then call my husband to check in about his day and say goodnight. Set alarm for 5:30 A.M. to catch the earliest flight home, since I have to be at the kids’ school first thing in the morning before heading back into the office.

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