Petra Collins, Hari Nef, Lena Dunham: From Gucci to Planned Parenthood Via Lenny Letter

Canadian artist and photographer Petra Collins delivers a new collaboration with The Girls creator and model/activist Hari Nef in this enchanting film for Gucci, presented in Milan as part of fashion week and Gucci designer Alessandro Michele's Fall 2017 collection. 

For the film, Collins channeled her childhood and Hungarian heritage in a whimsical celebration of Gucci glasses -- now a must-have fashion accessory for Smart Sensuality women. In a flick of the eye, these kids transport themselves from grand's sitting room to a rock performance in Budapest. 

"Budapest is where it was filmed and it is where I feel most at home," Collins wrote in an email regarding the campaign. "I shot my family last summer for A Magazine Curated by Alessandro Michele and was totally inspired. I was totally taken by my two cousins who were just magical in front of the camera. I really wanted to direct a film with them in it and when Alessandro asked me to shoot a film for the eyewear I thought they were the perfect subjects."

“The eyewear is so playful and is something you put on and look through to feel different,” Collins explained to Elle. “The kids portray that. Their world is so big and mysterious. When they put on grandma’s sunglasses they imagine a whole new exciting world.”

Petra Collins Rising Artist

Petra Collins was interviewed this week by Forbes in Picture Perfect: How 30 Under 30 Became An Entrepreneur Of The Arts. Karen Hua met up with Petra inside Paul's Cocktail Lounge, " a Tribeca speakeasy with island décor that looks like Lily Pulitzer puked all over it." Collins adores the Chloe Sevigny-designed haunt, located in Tribeca's Roxy Hotel.  

Collins, 24, describes herself as a photographer for hire. Featured in the 2017 FORBES 30 Under 30 Collins -- characterized as 'Warholian' has modeled in Adidas and Calvin Klein campaigns, published a book 'Babe', designed clothing for American Apparel, and photographed celebs like Kim Kardashian-West. She considers her proudest accomplishment to be a video she created for the Tate Modern's London museum in 2016. Focus: Georgia O'Keefe. 

Balancing artistic integrity and commercial work is what has made Collins an artistic—and digital—entrepreneur. Collins not only uses her Instagram to scout “muses” (models) for her shoots, but she’s gained a following for her boldly curated feed. In her teens, she reached out to Rookie magazine founder Tavi Gevinson (now 20) to contribute photographs to the site, and the two have since become best friends and collaborators as they’ve gained career success respectively.

Paul's Cocktail Lounge at the Roxy Hotel in lower Manhattan.

Paul's Cocktail Lounge at the Roxy Hotel in lower Manhattan.

Never one to shun controversy, Collins found herself in the center of a censorship frenzy when Instagram deleted her account in 2014 for posting an unshaven bikini photo.  Collins responded furiously on Huff Po:

"I did nothing that violated the terms of use. No nudity, violence, pornography, unlawful, hateful or infringing imagery. What I did have was an image of MY body that didn’t meet society’s standard of “femininity.” The image I posted was from the waist down wearing a bathing suit bottom in front of a sparkly backdrop. Unlike the 5,883,628 (this is how many images are tagged #bikini) bathing suit images on Instagram (see here and here) mine depicted my own unaltered state — an unshaven bikini line. Up until this moment, I had obviously seen and felt the pressure to regulate my body, but never thought I would literally experience it.

Shocked, Collins came face-to-face with the raging battle between social conservatives seeking to regulate women's bodies and liberals, who agree with Collins that a woman has no freedom in this country is a photo like this one prompts her to lose her First Amendment rights." 

Petra's commitment to body sovereignty was on display in this October 2012 Planned Parenthood video 'You Don't Own Me', published as a motivator to American women to vote in the 2012 presidential election.

Hari Nef, Model Citizen

American actor, model and writer, transgender talent Hari Nef -- who collaborates with Petra Collins' in the new Gucci eyewear video -- is another big supporter of Planned Parenthood. Nef, who appeared as Elle UK's first transgender cover girl, joined Collins in the Amazon smash original series 'Transparent'. 

The New Yorker profiled Nef in its September 26, 2016 issue, calling her "the transgender alt-glam scenester'.  Nef;s being booked as an IMG model came after her 'Transparent' offer. 

The show’s creator, Jill Soloway, had met Nef through her sister, Faith Soloway, Nef’s former counsellor at an arts camp. At Faith’s suggestion, a few months earlier Jill had brought Nef to a gala for pflag (originally known as Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays). The producer on the phone was calling to offer Nef a recurring role on “Transparent.” Jill Soloway told me later, “I remember marvelling at how she fills a frame—her face and her posture, but also how her energy naturally engaged every subject and object within that frame. I think this is something that maybe Warhol felt for Sedgwick, Demy for Deneuve, Allen for Keaton. I found my ‘it’ girl.”

Lena Dunham & Hari Nef

In January 2016, Lena Dunham's Lenny Letter published 'Hypervisibility', in which Hari Nef reflects "on being a visible member of a marginalized community."  A year later, Nef joined a '100 Years' Planned Parenthood tribute narration cast that includes Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence, America Ferrera, Constance Wu, Mindy Kaling and many more. Kirsten Lepore handled the animation; Abrams and musician Jack Antonoff contributed music.

The film '100 Years', The History of 100 Years of Women's Health Care at Planned Parenthood, was produced by Dunham and J.J. Abrams . 

“This film reminds us of the tremendous progress that’s been made for women’s health and rights just days before the new president is inaugurated — and at a moment when extreme politicians are trying to defund and shut down Planned Parenthood,” Dunham wrote in a note for Lenny Letter.

Dunham and Nef were joined by Meryl Streep, Mindy Kahling and more in this animated tribute to Planned Parenthood. Dunham explained about the short: “Our goal was to create a piece of art that can educate Americans not just about what Planned Parenthood does but on the battles that have been fought in order to get here. We are now tasked with embodying the spirit of these fighters once more. I am so grateful for my remarkable collaborators, who are strong enough to speak out for what is right and use their talents to change the status quo.”

The introduction to the '100 Years' short declares, “This is the story of the incredible women who sacrificed everything to bring us safe & affordable reproductive health care.” The film recounts Planned Parenthood’s history, beginning with founder Margaret Sanger and continuing through the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision and beyond.

“We are so excited about 100 Years, which shows how Planned Parenthood has helped lead massive change in women’s health and empowered millions of people worldwide to make informed health decisions, transforming the way they live, love, learn and work,” Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement. “For 100 years, women and families have counted on Planned Parenthood. Politicians may try to shut us down, but we will fight to keep our doors open — while continuing to provide expert, affordable health care to millions of people each year. We will not rest until access to health care and rights is a reality for all people.”