Amanda de Cadenet
Posted on March 08 2017
This week's Wednesday Woman is the incredible Amanda de Cadenet, photographer, presenter, writer, producer, and director. At 15, Amanda launched her TV career as a presenter, before moving on to become a celebrated photographer (the youngest woman to shoot a Vogue cover).
She has hosted and co-directed (with Demi Moore) a series called The Conversation which saw her interview influential women including Gwyneth Paltrow, Lady Gaga, Hillary Clinton, Eva Mendes et al, and is the co-founder and co-curator of the Girlgaze project.
Danielle Newnham: What were you like growing up? You started your career at a young age - what drove you back then?
Amanda de Cadenet: I was certainly a very willful child, I had ideas about how the world should be run and as far as I was concerned, it should be run by girls. So not much has changed since then!
I have always been propelled by the need for equality. I hate injustice and think I was born an activist, I don’t know why. Maybe because I spent some time in juvie at age 15 because that was when I really saw how bad life could be, especially for females. I also just needed a job to buy myself clothes and food, so desperation is a huge motivator.
Newnham: At 19, you moved to LA to start a family. What was it like moving country as a young mother and how did becoming a mother change your outlook?
de Cadenet: It was hard because I didn’t know anyone. Maybe two people. One woman was someone who is still my mother role model. She helped me with so many things I had no idea who to do, like basic cooking and how to run a home. She was the most incredible mother to her two daughters and still is. I have learned so much from watching women whom I admire.
Being a mother changed everything. It gave me purpose in a way I hadn’t experienced before. Having my daughter literally saved my life as I had been heading down a dark path, and who knows if I would’ve made it back.
Newnham: We love the many facets to your work which inspires and empowers women all over the world – what have been some of your personal highlights, and what have you got in the pipeline for 2017?
de Cadenet: SO many incredible moments in my career. Making The Conversation from my living room, meeting many of the women who love that show and have been helped by the stories shared.
Interviewing Hillary Clinton, launching Girlgaze... Getting to launch an eyeglass range with Warby Parker was so fun. We have much going on for 2017. A Girlgaze photography book, an book of narrative essays, original content from our Girlgaze creators and a whole bunch of surprises!
Newnham: What is the mission that unites your work? What drives you now?
de Cadenet: The same thing that always has... To create equal opportunities for females to be seen, heard and supported.
Newnham: In an age where women still, to a large extent, remain held back, and as a mother to two girls, what does girl power mean to you?
de Cadenet: Teaching girls that they are powerful. That their ideas and minds are just as valuable as their brothers, that they are more than their bodies, and by continuously nurturing self esteem through their achievements.
Newnham: Finally, if you could go back in time to a fifteen year old Amanda, what one piece of advice would you offer her and why?
de Cadenet: Know that everything that was happening would not be the death of her, but actually the birth. Nothing that has happened in my life is for no reason. I am able to empathize and support many people because I, too, have lived through the unthinkable, many, many times.
I am grateful for each and every crisis because it gave me the insight and wisdom I needed.