Kristen Stegemoeller: I'm Kristen Stegemoeller, and I'm a creative director, writer and co-program director for Sexy Beast! I've worked for my entire career in Los Angeles, where the more traditional boundaries between the art, design, curatorial and commercial worlds are constantly being breached and blurred. Maybe it's the ADD, maybe it's my millennial status but I thrive in this professional in-between space – it's where the really interesting stuff happens.
Tera Uhlinger: Hey, my name is Tera Uhlinger and I am the strategist and co-Program Director for Sexy Beast. Ive worked in LA and NYC over the last 13 years in events and music and have always thought of myself as someone who creates a bridge between business strategy and creative. Over the last year I have added nonprofit and philanthropic work into the mix to tie all three together. I suppose that is the work I do, and I strive to do it all in service of the greater good.
Why do you make your work?
K: I take a lot of joy in my work with brands, but it's my work with Sexy Beast for Planned Parenthood Los Angeles that gets me up in the morning. We are passionate about activism and creativity in all forms, and we strive to build a platform where everyone from fine artists, to chefs, to designers, dancers, actors – you-name-it – can use their talents to contribute to the the greater good.
What do you believe in?
T: I think Sexy Beast as a collective believes in making ourselves of service. We believe that if we are coming from a place of service to the community, to Planned Parenthood, and to the people around us, that is where we'll see real societal change. If we are coming from a place of ‘how can I help? How can I be of service today?’ that will always yield amazing things.
Name one thing you say yes to?
T: Yes, always to puppies.
And one thing you say no to?
T: No to anything that doesn’t feel right in my gut.
What change would you like to see?
S: I’m pregnant with a little girl (due in May of this year) so, needless to say, change has been on my mind. I would love for her to grow up in a world where equality and the right to choose what’s best for one’s own future is a given, and not something we're constantly fighting for.
K: More empathy, and a greater sense of personal responsibility from beneficiaries of wealth and privilege would be great!
T: Kindness. I think there is a lack of daily simple acts of kindness. Making change doesn’t need to be this big thing, it can be a simple shift in the small community around you. Your neighbor, the person you always see walking on your street. Take a moment to be kind and this can effect a small, but meaningful shift.
Name one thing that makes you happy?
S: Making a direct and positive impact in other people’s lives makes me happy and brings me fulfillment.
How would you describe your personal routine ?
T: Oh my goodness. Ummm, obsessive? Methodical? Haha. I am a very ‘type A’ / Libra, I like things to be organized and I LOVE a good routine. With Sexy Beast, we have the amazing privilege to work from our homes / remotely and I freelance on the side, so having a good routine when you don’t have one imposed on you by a ‘normal’ job is so important for me.
What did you want to be as a child?
S: As a young girl, I always thought I wanted to be an OBGYN (until I understood the realities of medical school and being a doctor were just not for me). I guess it makes sense that I’m now working towards protecting every woman’s right and access to safe, affordable healthcare.
Can you remember one solid piece of advice you've gotten for the growth of your business / work ?
S: My mentor has always encouraged me to be gently, but relentlessly, persistent. She also constantly reminds me to know my worth and to never be afraid to negotiate or speak up if I’m being treated unfairly, especially from a financial standpoint. This has served me especially well since I tend to be overly generous with my time and ideas.
If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be?
K: Rihanna. Always Rihanna.
Who is one person in culture/ media / etc. that you feel is making positive and inspiring change ?