‘Los Angeles Freelancers Relief Fund’ Founder Vanessa Rene -Giving Artists Hope During An Uncertain Time
In Los Angeles -the city of angels, we recently caught up with a ‘real life’ angel, Vanessa Rene -who as an artist herself, is putting her efforts into assisting freelance artists in need, during this difficult and devastating time of Covid-19. To find out what this beautiful soul is doing to help others in the community -and to find out how you can help make a difference, check out this inspiring interview with Vanessa Rene:
Hi Vanessa, it’s so lovely to meet you. Firstly, please give us an introduction about yourself and your background:
Hello, I’m Vanessa Rene from Los Angeles CA. I have been living in Los Angeles for almost 9 years and I am currently a celebrity groomer, California State licensed hairstylist and makeup artist. Versatility has always been a strong suit of mine.
How are you coping with the challenging situation happening right now in the world?
Currently I’m coping with the current climate by doing my best to bring our community together. I’ve always been a believer in “together we are stronger/team work makes the dream work” and that by spreading positivity and solidarity we can help the inner consciousness of our community. On a personal level, I’m doing okay, I’m a mom and the safety of my child is very important, so we are doing what we can to stay mentally and physically healthy during this time.
Tell us about the amazing work you are doing to help freelance artists in LA -what an amazing and thoughtful idea:
Thank you, yes I wanted to do something for our community. I am luckily in a place where I can help others. I’ve been there, on the other side of things, living pay check to pay check, swimming in debt and just trying to have enough food in the refrigerator to get by for the week. Therefore, I created the Los Angeles Freelancers Relief Fund to do just that -to help those who need a little helping hand to have their basic human needs, met. If I can prevent it, I don’t want anyone to suffer for a fault that is not their own, or just in general. This time is unprecedented and no one expected this to happen so abruptly. A lot of people were not prepared and have children and I want to be there for them, as much as I can. This is a grassroots crowdfund campaign and I am doing my very best to help people in dire need, every day.
What type of services does it include and also what type of a response are you getting?
So as of now, we are focusing of cases of those who are having a difficult time having their basic humans needs met, those with children have been a priority. Mostly emergency cases where they are negative in their account, have no savings, need medication or essential supplies and/or just need groceries to get by during the “Safer at home” initiative. As freelancers we all know what it’s like to be in that position, so the solidarity here is so important during this time.
We must tether together to help our community and the ones that are severely struggling just to get by. I encourage every person that receives funding to sign up for any and all programs such as EDD (unemployment) and EBT (Cal Fresh) to make sure they are covered in the long run. So along with donations we try our best to give resources and support to those whom have been impacted the worst, during this time.
At this point in time, where do you see this situation headed for artists and their situations? Do you see a positive movement coming out of this?
I, 100% believe there will be a positive roll out that happens at the end of all this. The industries that have been impacted the most are unfortunately the ones we have depended on the most. The response to this crowdfund within our LA community has been absolutely heartfelt and incredible. It truly shows how we all stand up and stick together to support and help one another -as we have always done. When one needs help or work, we always do what we can to refer and get that person on their feet. We are a network of artists and we are a team at the end of the day. This community is so beautiful and it brings tears to my eyes to see how we all have shown such immense solidarity and love to one another. We will get through this, I’m sure of it!
I have confidence that we will bounce back from this. Everyone is staying at home watching movies, listening to music and just trying to stay mentally aligned with their calling. I don’t see that alignment becoming disconnected when we come out of this in a few weeks or in a month or so. Our dreams will still be there and I see a positive reflection of people wanting to get out there, motivated to make things happen for themselves and for their community. We are all in this together!
What would you like to see come out of your campaign? Are you hoping more people (preferably name artists with the financial backing) will get behind this movement?
I’m hoping that we can continue to get donations to the campaign until we get some real support from our government’s stimulus plan and even then, I’m not going to give up on our community because the work is not done. It would be so wonderful to get some real backing because at this time I have been having to focus on a small percentage of cases and would love to branch that out to a broader range of freelancers. A lot of people are struggling and I wish I could help every single applicant. It breaks my heart that I have to choose who I can and can’t help. With the limited amount of donations, I’m doing my best to help when and where I can.
It would be awesome if The Ellen Show or some big name makeup or hair brands like Anastasia Beverly Hills, Morphe, or Huda Beauty could get behind this -it would really help and truly benefit so many people. I know I’m dreaming big here, but our freelancers are who they depend on, on a normal basis, these big name brands. I’m not asking for a lot, just something, a share on their page would suffice, anything would help. Also, to those companies that have shared the campaign or any relief campaign, I am eternally grateful for your support during this difficult time. To be honest, if I could see these brands and companies contribute to any relief fund that would make my soul happy, just as long as they are contributing to the people that have supported their brands and companies all this time.
I am a big believer in there being a lesson to learn from each triumph or tragedy. What would be your message to artists right now, who are feeling defeated and disheartened?
The message to my fellow artists and freelancers at this time, would be to keep your head up, support one another, check in with each other, get motivated and prepared for when this all washes over -and to stay healthy both mentally and physically. We will come out of this and when the time comes, we must band together like we have always done. Right now, we really have an opportunity and new perspective on how things are.
I think the idea of individualism has gone out the window and we are now a community more than ever, and we must open the door tethered together, to bring us all into the light of a new day. It’s a beautiful thing to see everyone supporting one another and it’s time to really show how strong our industries are. Do your part in being what makes your community beautiful and stay strong for yourself and your fellow colleagues. We will shine soon, there’s no doubt in my mind about that!
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