#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

A #Startwith8™ program

In an industry that hides behind the myth of “meritocracy” but in reality functions on personal connections, the #Startwith8™ 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 3000+ 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 committee of volunteers 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

#Startwith8 Hollywood Edition'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.

The second cycle of #Startwith8Hollywood happened in Winter 2020-2021, and it doubled the number of mentees from 300 to well over 600. Close to 1300 new connections were made.

#Startwith8™ was registered for trademark, and is on its way to become an international phenomenon: Canada and UK Editions are coming soon, as well as the third cycle of its Hollywood Edition.

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mentors

As a mentor, you will be connected to eight Women of Color professionals in your field. You will meet once in a 1:1 phone or video call with each mentee. 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. After the 1:1 meeting, it's up to you and your mentees what shape your mentorship will take - many mentors have gone on to host monthly group meet-ups with their 8 mentees.

Be a Mentor!

We host #Startwith8™ Hollywood Edition cycles twice yearly - once in summer, once in 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.

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.

mentees

Cycle 2 of #Startwith8Hollywood has come to an end. We will share updates and inform you of future cycles on the Women of Color Unite Network.

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

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faqs

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.

partners

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

contact us