A Solo Mom, filmmaker, and artist believes in herself, takes risks, and never surrenders
Persistent, driven and inquisitive, Nerenda Eid always takes the road less traveled. Having grown up on three continents, her background sparked an interest in exploring the intersection of culture, gender, and language through media.
She’s forged her own path over the past eight years producing and managing the production of commercials; branded content; and music videos for brands such as Nike, Clarins, and Vitaminwater, and including the recent Wallace with Azealia Banks, which was shortlisted for a Cannes Lions Innovation award. Eid also lent her expertise to the sci-fi short film Plurality and the independent feature Out of My Hand, which premiered at the 2015 Berlinale and won the Los Angeles Film Festival’s Grand Jury Prize.
Eid is currently making her first foray into art with The Ripple Effect, a video installation exploring male vulnerability, and she’s also pitching a pilot for a dramatic series set in the 14th century. She lives in New York City with her daughter, Maia.
Eid sat down with ESME’s Rebecca Cherry to talk about art, work, and motherhood.
Q: Can you introduce yourself to me and the ESME community?
A: I’m 39 years old and the mother of an amazing 17-year-old daughter. I freelance, produce commercials, films, branded content, and events/experiential.
Q: You’ve been making your own films and projects for some time now. What were some of your major inspirations for past and present projects?
A: Inspiration comes from many sources for me—race, love, motherhood, or a song. Sometimes it comes from my own crazy experiences.
Q: How has raising a daughter as a single mother changed the way you look at your creativity and your work?
A: It’s been a challenge maintaining my own needs while juggling the demands of motherhood. There have been stretches where I couldn’t dedicate much time to creative pursuits because of the day-to-day needs of survival. I’ve had to be selfish and carve out the space for myself at times. Now I realize that in order to properly fill my daughter’s cup, it was necessary for me to fill my own first.
Q: You went to school in New York City. How has living in New York affected your past projects?
A: I’ve been really lucky to have a strong community in New York, both outside and within my industry. Whether it was help with child care or getting help with my personal projects, NY has been a proving ground for me. It keeps asking me, How much do I want it?
Q: What are you working on presently?
A: I just completed writing a pilot about a 14th-century action adventure I’ve been working on for the past three years. And now I’ve started to pitch it. I’m also in the midst of a video installation about male vulnerability in the 21st century.
Q: You have received grants and financial assistance to complete some of your past work. What advice would you offer to other single mothers who are aspiring filmmakers looking for assistance to complete their films?
A: I’m actually pretty bad at that stuff, so I try to partner with the people who are good at it. When that’s not an option, I find I’m pretty resourceful. I’d say, work with people who add to your skill set, and help those who need yours.
Q: You’ve managed to balance a full-time career and be a single mother in a very tough business. What three things are most important to you when making decisions about your work?
A: My forte is truly in the management of the funds and identifying people whose passion is turning an idea into reality.
- Be resourceful, and think outside the confines of the norm.
- Surround yourself with people who take pride in their work. Be open to, listen to, and appreciate them.
- Never give up, even when the chips are down and you’re exhausted. You never know what’s just around the corner.
Q: Your daughter just started college. What advice have you given her to be successful and strive for her dreams?
A: Get to know who you are. Try to understand the things that inspire and drive you. Create a community of individuals you can learn from and who, in turn, can learn from you. And NEVER GIVE UP!
Q: What has been your proudest achievement to date as a single mother?
Just seeing her blossom into her own individual self has been amazing. She teaches me something new every day. Of course, her graduation from high school and seeing her go off to college are the clearest signifiers of achievement for both of us. I had her at 21, so I’m just amazed I kept her alive and thriving all this time!
Q: What resources would you say have been the most helpful and available to you in aiding the completion of your projects?
A: Human energy! The support of my friends and coworkers, whether emotional or professional, has been my saving grace every single time. Without them and the faith that I can do it, I don’t know where I’d be in life.
Q: Do you have any other advice for women who are aspiring filmmakers and raising children on their own?
A: Believe in yourself, take risks, and never surrender. Just keep one foot in front of the other, even if it’s at a slower pace.
Image: Nerenda Eid (right) and her daughter, Mia
Rebecca Cherry is an accomplished musician, writer, and creative seeker. She is enjoying her new role as a Solo Mom to her baby girl. You can follow her on Twitter at @CherryRebecca and Facebook at Rebecca Cherry.
Please feel free to contact us with any comments or questions.