Tennessee Martin is a 2011 Stephens alum. She is currently in the middle of premiering her first film on a streaming platform and launching the fundraiser for her next film.

Q: What was the degree you received from Stephens/what year did you graduate?


A: I graduated in 2011 with a BA in Digital Film & Media.


Q: What is your current occupation and what is your favorite part?


A: I work in TV development as a Coordinator/Junior Exec for a major studio. My favorite part is getting to help champion creatives with stories that need to be told. I’m also an aspiring writer, gearing up for my next short film, a dark, absurdist, queer comedy titled Lesbophilia.


Q: What does Women’s History Month mean to you, and does coming from a women’s college make it more significant?


A: Women’s History Month is a helpful reminder of the timeline on which our freedom and equality exists; both that we’ve come very far in a short period of time, but also that we can be disempowered at a frightening similar pace. Coming from a women’s college has definitely had a huge impact on me, my perspective of the world, as well as influenced the types of stories I want to tell.


Q: What woman in history inspires or motivates you?


A: All of them. Everyone from Stephens alumnae Dawn Wells, Wally Funk, Stephanie Beatriz, and Lyah Beth LeFlore to non-suzies such as Warsan Shire, Janelle Monae, Gina Prince-Bythewood, Dolly Parton, and Michelle Yeoh. I love women who are creatives and/or pioneers - pushing boundaries and taking up space in a world that tells us there's no room. 


Q: How did your college experience at Stephens encourage you?


A: I found my creative voice at Stephens. It was there that I discovered my passion for film and TV. We're currently creating a pipeline for women in entertainment who've had the fortunate blessing of a feminist-focused education. It's a much-needed perspective in this male-dominated industry.


Q: Do you feel that women who attend a women's college might be at an advantage because of the confidence that it instills?


A: Absolutely. 100%. No one ever told me that I couldn't do something in college or that it was a "man's job." Because of that experience, I've never questioned my own capabilities or worth.


Q: What advice do you have for Stephen’s women who are learning how to go after their big dreams?


A: Don't be afraid to fail. It's through failure, loss, sacrifice, etc. that we sharpen the tools needed to succeed. If you're not failing, you're not trying hard enough.

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