#STARTWITH8HOLLYWOOD Created by and for Women of Color working in entertainment
Women of Color Unite & The Bitch Pack Present A Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Program

about #startwith8hollywood

In an industry that hides behind the myth of “meritocracy” but in reality functions on personal connections, the #Startwith8Hollywood initiative connects well-established industry mentors to eight Women of Color working in the entertainment industry each. Together, they formulate a plan of action based on what each mentee desires and what is achievable by the mentor to create tangible progress in the mentee’s career.

The end goal: no more excuses. By fostering organic diversity, the indefensible precept “I don’t know any Women of Color who I can hire,” will never be heard again.

The Bitch Pack’s Thuc Nguyen, screenwriter, activist, and curator of the annual Bitch List, started the #Startwith8Hollywood program on Twitter in early June 2020. Thuc had been a participant in the #Startwith8 initiative in the tech industry, and thought it would be great to involve entertainment executives and producers in the program as well.

Soon, Cheryl L. Bedford, Founder of Women of Color Unite and creator of The JTC List, joined forces with Thuc. WOCU is a social action organization focusing on fair access, fair treatment and fair pay for Women of Color in all aspects of the entertainment and media industries. The JTC List is a database of 1800+ Women of Color working in entertainment and is used by countless Hollywood entities to hire from; the list was named after Joan Theresa Curtis, Bedford’s mother, a statistician and activist, who passed away in February 2016.

Bedford put together a #Startwith8Hollywood committee of volunteers (Manon de Reeper, Marisilda Garcia, Sunny Tsai, Naomi Ko and Shelby Kovant) to join Thuc, and shaped the program into what it is today.

We recognize that we stand on the shoulders of our ancestors; we recognize that this movement would not have happened without the COVID-19 Pandemic, or the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, and the rebellion that followed.

a movement, sparked

The program's first cycle wrapped up by the end of July 2020. It was driven by the sheer organizational force of the six volunteers involved, on no money. We connected nearly 300 Women of Color working in the entertainment industry, at different stages of their careers, to established industry mentors. New friendships have been forged, referrals have been made, advice has been freely shared... We know we are on to something special. We are looking forward to repeating the program many times in the future.




women of color

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we're now closed for cycle 2 of #startwith8hollywood, mentors can register interest for future cycles

We have closed intake for mentors of the second cycle of #Startwith8Hollywood (Winter 2020/2021). This cycle's meetings will commence in February of 2021.

We host #Startwith8Hollywood cycles twice per year - once in the summer, once in the winter. Additionally, we host "special" cycles that are more targeted - upcoming is our special cycle in collaboration with RespectAbility, specially for disabled people in the entertainment industry. Also on the agenda for later this year is our special cycle for Women of Color in Post Production.

If you are interested in passing on your knowledge and help open doors for Women of Color, and help make the industry a more diverse and equitable place for everyone, please register your interest by clicking the link below.


As a mentor, you will be connected to eight Women of Color professionals in your field. You will host a session with each mentee (phone or video call). Every mentee is different - get to know them, listen to them, and then formulate a plan that is desirable to the mentee and achievable by you. Take at least one action that will create tangible and lasting change in your mentees' careers.

Join our esteemed alumni mentors of cycle 1:

Cate Adams (VP of Development, Warner Bros.), Bisha K. Ali (Screenwriter), Sheryl J. Anderson (Showrunner), Nicole Arbusto (Casting Director), Hanna Armour (Creative Exec, Skybound Film & TV),  Adrienne Becker (CEO of Level Forward), Iram Parveen Bilal (Director), Eric Brodeur (Producer, Exit 44 Entertainment), Allard Cantor (Literary Manager/Managing Partner, Epicenter), C. Robert Cargill (Screenwriter), Milan Chakraborty (Producer), Tamara Chestna (Screenwriter), Tracy Chitupatham (Producer, Line Producer), Aron Eli Coleite (Showrunner), Fanshen Cox (Head of Strategic Outreach / Producer, Pearl Street), Sam Crawley (Director of Development, Skybound Film & TV), Maisie Culver (TV Producer), Alexandra Cunningham (Executive Producer, TV), Rebecca Cutter (TV Producer), Audrey Diehl (SVP, Series, Warner Bros. Animation), Cassian Elwes (Producer), Matthew Federman (Showrunner), Megan Fleming (Director of Development, The Safran Company), Jordanna Fraiberg (TV Producer), Eric Garfinkel (Agent, Gersh Agency), Brian J. Goldberg (Agent, WPA), Sara Gran (Showrunner), Jeff Greenberg (Agent, Gersh Agency), Javier Grillo-Marxuach (Showrunner), Paula Haifley (Line Producer, Stoopid Buddy Studios), Daisy Hamilton (CEO of Rock Salt Releasing), Jessica Hargrave (Producer, Tripod Media), Joe Henderson (Showrunner), Rick Jacobs (CEO of Skybound Galactic), Medha Jaishankar (Producer), Holly Jeter (Agent, WME), Julie Kirkwood (Director of Photography), Munika Lay (VP of Development, Miramax), Kathy Le Backes (Producer, Wise Entertainment), Ty Leisher (Producer, Exit 44 Entertainment),  Kathey Leverton (VP Scripted Production Finance, Fremantle Media), Sandra Leviton (TV Producer, Under The Stairs Entertainment), Jeffrey Lieber (Showrunner), Sean Mackiewicz (SVP, Editor-in-Chief of Skybound Comics) Jane Maggs (Producer, Screenwriter), Will Matthews (Showrunner), Craig Mazin (Showrunner), Naomi McDougall Jones (Director, Writer, Producer), Josh McGuire (Literary Manager, Underground Management) Casey Minella (Manager, Circle of Confusion), Aaron Moorhead (Writer, Director, Producer), Katie Mullins (Animation Producer), Gabrielle Neimand (VP of Development, Fremantle Media), Stephanie Northen (Publicity Prinicpal, Amazon Studios), Adam Pachter (Screenwriter), Jessica Rhoades (Producer, First Look HBO), Pamela Ribon (Screenwriter), Courtney Rieger (Agent, WPA), Matt Rosen (Producer, Manager, MAZO Partners), Lauren Rosenberg (VP of Unscripted TV/Development, Trooper Entertainment), Win Rosenfeld (President, Monkeypaw Productions), Jenni Sherwood (EVP Scripted Development, Fremantle Media), Amanda Smith (Agent, Gersh Agency), DaVida Smith (Talent Manager, Etcetera & Company), Josh Spector (SVP, Acquisitions & Distribution, Vertical Entertainment), Teale Spearling (Manager of Creative Content, Mattel Television), Samantha Starr (Literary Manager, Circle of Confusion), Katie Stone (Screenwriter, Actor), Cori Uchida (TV Writer, Executive Producer), Mike Vanderhei (Literary Manager, Rain Management Group), Adam Van Dusen (Agent, Gersh Agency), Dea Vazquez (Project Involve Manager, Film Independent) Hailey Wierengo (Head of Production & Development, Field Trip Productions), Roy Wol (Producer, Autonomous Pictures), Frank Wuliger (Agent/Partner, Gersh Agency), Alexandra Zimbler (VP Creative Affairs, Gaumont Studios)


Applications for cycle 2 of #Startwith8Hollywood are closed.

To stay in the loop, join Women of Color Unite, and enjoy our community and exclusive opportunities. WOCU members get first access to future cycles. Membership is free, and participation in the #Startwith8Hollywood program is completely free as well.

We are seeking partners who will join us in creating real change in the entertainment industry. Interested in becoming a sponsor? Contact us



If you are a Woman of Color working in the entertainment industry, yes you can. #Startwith8Hollywood is for every role in the industry, except actors/talent. If you are an actor, please join Women of Color Unite to participate in the programs we are organizing in collaboration with the Casting Society of America.
When we open up applications, you fill out a lengthy form indicating your interests and aspirations. Based on your answers, we match you to mentors who we think would be a good fit for you. We do not require long essays.
There are no fees involved with #Startwith8Hollywood. We believe that requiring payment for mentorship programs is another gatekeeping tactic.
If you are a mentee or mentor, or just an outsider appreciating what we are doing, please feel free to tweet about us using the #Startwith8Hollywood hashtag. The team behind #Startwith8Hollywood are all volunteers - donations are welcome here.


The following partners have kindly provided software in support of #startwith8hollywood

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