Why sad? Three years ago, I never would’ve put anything remotely sad next to my name. Sadness was not something you are taught to associate with a portfolio page; it’s all about the highlights and the shiny Hollywood moments. Anyways, here are my personal lowlights, and the reason there's a little sad emoji wiggling to your left.

Six years ago, on a dull Monday morning, I stepped into the creative industry. As an introverted intern, I anxiously awaited the day's agenda from the producer. But the first sounds I heard were men aggressively catcalling a female colleague as they casually sipped their coffee. I didn't grasp it then, but I stared at the woman, and we were both baffled by our collective silence and fake happy faces. Fast forward to 2023, and I've realized this wasn't an isolated incident but a preview to a troubling pattern that affects not just me but sadly probably also you, your friends and colleagues.

Assaults and abuse of power within the creative industry, especially film sets, are not exceptions but the norm. Gender equality officers have been present in agencies, theaters and major film production companies for quite some time. However, until recently, only a limited number of those affected have had the courage to speak up, driven by concerns about potential job repercussions. The fear is that those who do raise complaints might find themselves excluded from future casting opportunities. In our industry, power dynamics can quickly become problematic. If I stop from expressing my thoughts, it could lead to more uncomfortable situations, such as someone touching my arm. Eventually, I might even accept them placing their hand on my knee. This pattern tends to escalate and these instances of crossing boundaries happen far too often. These are your sisters, friends, and mothers we're talking about here. Every woman I've ever talked to in my life tells me one terrible story after another. It's not an isolated incident. We're not alone in this. And yet, amid all the anger, sadness, and tangled emotions, there's always one constant: the belief that we're alone in this struggle. That we might be seen as ridiculous, maybe even hysterical, for making a fuss and that it could cost us future job opportunities.

The head of one of the biggest Austrian production companies publicly talks about his female ex-employees and how proud he is to have "broken" yet another one. The same guy who's known for sharing their bikini photos in the office. And an entire office, scared for their job, awkwardly laughs and joins in. I think the most important thing is to break the silence, to communicate, and for those who are not directly affected to also learn to listen. There's no universal recipe for the 'right' response in such situations; it's more about not accepting it silently. Having a voice without fear. So that we can learn together to say something. Even if that what we have to say might be a sad story.