If you’re in the creative scene in Philly and haven’t met Scarlet Estelle, some people would tell you that you just aren’t going to the right places. Scarlet has spent fourteen years paving a way for herself in the creative industry. Coining the tagline “your favorite artist’s favorite person”, her career is devoted to amplifying the careers of creators everywhere.By day, she sits as the Director of Membership at REC - scouting new talent and connecting members with paid gigs of a lifetime. When she isn’t at REC, Scarlet finds herself still working and flexing her creative muscle. She manages soul/R&B artist Max Swan and serves as a member of the Recording Academy.We sat down with Scarlet to discuss womanhood in the creative industry and the future for women at REC.
What do you love most about being a woman in the creative industry?We are the tastemakers, we are the voices, we are the movers, we are the doers, we are the shakers! I am loud, loving, and sharp to whats new and what’s next. I feel like women are a lot more emotionally intelligent than our male counterparts which allows us to be a lot more tapped in to who is making the art that makes us feel. There’s no coincidence that the best engineers, marketers, PR, production, artists, etc are women - our attention to detail and deep thoughtfulness takes us to the next level of professionalism and greatness. I love the true healing that is finding sisterhood in what we do and how we do it. The way women make room for each other is so intentional and palpable.To bring it all together, connection! Technology has connected us further in ways nobody could have imagined- allowing us to share our talents across borders, languages, generations and cultures. Being is a woman in the creative industry is dope as fuck.Fangirls + The Internet = a match made in heaven. It was our tweets, tumblrs, fanpages, etc that launched some of the biggest careers to date and now 15+ years later we are becoming the CEOs, Board Members, Executives, Managers, etc of the pillars of art that raised us. There’s going to be a Director of a huge creative company with a Paramore tattoo in the near future and I, for one, cannot wait.As a woman in leadership at REC, what do you see for the future of the company as it relates to women creators? Women and non-male/non-binary folks make moving, vulnerable art in countless mediums. The future of REC (and all creative establishments) is to continue to strive for a safe, accessible environment for folks to feel accepted and empowered to be their best selves. This also comes with accountability and zero tolerance for a community that doesn’t reflect that. I hope REC continues to open new spots nationally to connect women with communities they can build with. Eventually, go international! I want female and non-male creative entrepreneurs from every corner of culture, language, and demographic to be supported by REC.
What pressures have you faced operating in a male dominated field? Feeling like it was a weakness to feel deeply for the work I do and people I do it for is the biggest thing I’m unlearning. In an industry where being jaded sometimes feels like a badge of honor- I will never be “too cool” to learn, play,make mistakes, and grow. Just being a woman in general feels like there’s so many social cues and rules we have to follow for men that having it happen in the work environment just make it feel heightened when not in the right place. Sometimes having a bad day is something you have to hide for fear of questioning or being direct is understood as being “mean” or hard to work with. The pressure of being both a bold business woman and caring, empathetic leader sometimes feels like it’s opposition- but as I grow, I learn how to embody both.
Outside of REC, you have so many things going on! You’re an artist manager, mentor and a member of the Recording Academy. How do you make time for yourself? The best part of community building is the alone time! Unlearning FOMO is also a huge help in making me feel present even when life and work are going a million miles an hour. I make intentional choices to show up for myself before anyone else.Most of my days end in an hour of Wordle, Jeopardy, and Crosswords with my boyfriend.Sssure that you have hobbies and friends that inspire you and remind you that you are not your job or career- just you, and that’s enough.I feel like there’s a thin line all women and non-males perform on sometimes and if you’ve never spent 20 minutes struggling on where to put the exclamation mark in an email so you come off chill, then you just don’t get it. Lucky you!What advice would you give your younger self? I would tell her that everyone’s gifts look different. Stay weird! Don’t let them dim your light! I would let her know that I look up to her and how courageous it was so be out of the box and live in it, and believe in it. I would also tell her that if people don’t get it, it doesn’t make it wrong.What’s a song that you have in rotation right now? Love From The Other Side - Fall Out Boy