I couldn’t believe it. “Do they all just look the same?” I thought sceptically, as I made my way through the Arrivals terminal at the Frankfurt airport. Germans tend to be tall with blue eyes and blonde hair - and that is all I saw. Or could I have indulged a bit too much in literature about Hitler during my “Make it in Germany” course?

Hours earlier, I was bidding farewell to my family who would now be permanently living five thousand kilometres away from me. All of them were in tears whilst I kept my positivity and composure for as long as I could, until it came time to walk up those final stairs and, alas, the pain was too much to bear. The tears came down pouring like currents of water flowing down a river. 

On that fall afternoon upon arrival in Germany, I couldn’t contain my excitement to embark on this wonderful life journey. Surrounded by those who would soon become my Volk, I was determined to make my dreams come true. The whole experience felt like one of the many movies I had watched on TV, only this time I was the main character in the scene.  But reality quickly settled in and put an end to the fantasy when 2 hours after landing I still didn’t have a place to sleep, a means to call, or any idea where to go. That's when it hit me : having a dream is one thing, but LIVING the dream is an entirely different story.

This launch of The Studio feels like being pulled back to those moments, and experiencing everything all over again. 

At that Frankfurt airport many years ago, I was just an African girl barely into adulthood with nothing but a university admission, six hundred euros in cash, and a hunger for life. Today, the person writing this is that same African woman, armed with a few ideas, a big vision, and the same hunger. A hunger to stay faithful to my values,  resilient in my journey, and build something that will stand the test of time.

I had taken a leap of faith, leaving behind family, friends, and the only life that I knew to be mine. Similarly, I am taking the plunge today after a four-year period of complete lifestyle and mindset changes. As if the driver of a bus dropping off miserly passengers, I had to let go of some of the bad habits and false beliefs that had a grip on me, for these passengers had turned mean, and couldn't make it to the next stop.

Social media was one of the lousy ones. Within three months after deleting my social media accounts in 2021, I had the guts to finally quit my job to be the full-time business woman that I had always wanted to be. My first book was published within a year. I have not looked back since.

I would advise this exercise to anyone who wants to make a big shift in their lives. It sharpens one's vision, and erodes one's mind from all of the emotional fog that those platforms are designed to develop. It makes it possible for one to cut out the outside noise completely in order to focus on rediscovering who one truly is deep inside, and to find out what that person's real desires are.

However, the meanest passenger of them all was the loudest, most persistent, and also the hardest to drop off. It was that voice in my head that kept repeating “how dare you believe that you, Elvira, a nobody from nowhere could attempt to think that you can build an entertainment company with the ability to compete with the crème de la crème of Hollywood, let alone act on it?... Heresy!". Yeah, she was a bully. Lo and behold, the time had come for that passenger to go, and those thoughts to be expunged, for I had lost all desire and capacity to continue living in a broken ethos.

Ethos noun [ S ]
UK /ˈiː.θɒs/ US /ˈiː.θɑːs/
the set of beliefs, ideas, etc. about the social behaviour and relationships of a person or group.
Cambridge dictionary

Entertainment, education, politics, law, healthcare, software, hospitality, construction, agriculture, finance, just to name a few. These are a handful of the many systems that operate throughout countries, continents and civilisations. Each of these systems have customs, laws, traditions, “unspoken” rules, and language that are accepted and adopted by its people - an ethos. This is true regardless of where you live in the world. 

In preparation for  the launch of The Studio, my objective was to try and understand the entertainment industry's ethos and then figure out how I could contribute something more to that ecosystem, in a way that would promote ingeniousness, feel fresh, and provide value to both the public and my peers.

It didn’t come at a surprise to me, sadly, that this industry's ethos did not care much about bringing value, being ingenious, or feeling fresh. Actually, it leans more so in the opposite direction.

For Hollywood in particular, a place that claims to be a seller of dreams and a maker of stars, there isn't much room to ponder when it comes to the ethos that holds their bubble together -  though not for much longer.

It could be summarised in the word that has become synonymous with entertainment itself: showbiz. They live by “putting on a show" and "making money” - at any and all costs.

I have a big problem with that.

I will proceed to express my discontent with the broken ethos of this industry out of personal experience, witnessing other people’s experiences, and using publicly available information gathered during my research. 

Moreover, after careful consideration I have decided not to name specific people, nor provide any legal documents or sources in my analysis. The need to protect myself and my family from this industry’s tyrants is more important to me - especially at the time of writing this. I have made my peace with the fact that this might make the next part of this piece of writing seem like a rant, and may weaken my argument in the eyes of many.

Well, maybe I am ranting - just a little bit. Why? Because it usually takes getting profoundly upset at a thing to decide to do something about it.

“People who believe a problem can be solved tend to get busy solving it.” — William Raspberry

Making money or more precisely making a profit, is the essence of business itself.  Having been born in a  family of entrepreneurs, and lived my entire life side-hustling until I made the ultimate decision to go full-time as a business woman, I know first hand what that entails. So no, making money and being business savvy is not really the problem here. The issue is with how the money is made. 

There is a certain kind of price that shouldn’t be paid for success, particularly one that comes at the expense of other people, their personal lives, safety, and mental and emotional sanity. 

This is a concept that is completely foreign to showbiz.

Their contracts exhibit a character of modern-day slavery throughout its contents. Studios, managers, agents, and the likes, think that their clients are their property to do with as they wish, for maximum profit. This is more exacerbated in cases where minors are involved.

If art was ever to actually be real in Hollywood, then it would be the art of hypocrisy and manipulation. They just care about “putting on a show”. It is embedded in the very fabric of the culture. The people that we, the public, look at as leaders and inspirations are really expert manipulators. 

Utilising media and news to sustain the fictitious glamorous fantasy of this world is the profession that their ethos has chosen to name Public Relations. They put on a show for each other at meetings, professional gatherings, peculiar parties, and not-so-relaxing island retreats. 

Their "stars" live double lives, coerced to sell fake lifestyles and public personas that go to the extent of fabricating inexistent houses, marriages, and even children(!), so as to convince the public of a picture-perfect existence that has been made up to manipulate them.

They justify all of this with one word - showbiz. Put on a show and make money - at any and all costs. The broken ethos.

After witnessing firsthand what my now husband went through at the hands of his talent agency and career manager - or those whom I call his handlers - I realised that being merely creatively active in entertainment was not enough. Despite having paid his dues for over two decades in this industry, that didn’t save him from being flat out abused by the very people who were supposed to be working for him.

It shouldn’t have to reach extremes like Britney Spears or Marilyn Munroe, whose demise is being used by the very people who destroyed her to produce biopics today. The end goal? To make money and put on a show at any and all costs. The broken ethos.

How many stars see their flames being extinguished as they accumulate failure after failure until there is not much left of their once promising careers? That’s because if they refuse to become instigators of the same abuse they are being subject to, this system eradicates their life’s work completely. No it is not enough to be oppressed, you need to become an oppressor too.  So those who still have some sense of morals and integrity must suck it up and take the hit, because protecting their character and family behind the scenes is more important than trying to be a liked celebrity. 

When public figures walk around with security guards, sometimes it is not to protect themselves from the public or outside threats, but from the very people who are supposed to be the ones looking out for them.  They get drugged, coerced, threatened, and even held at gunpoint to do what they are told, all in the name of  showbiz. Put on a show and make money - at any and all costs. The broken ethos

Hollywood is done.

Things have to change at a fundamental level. There can be no more room for “that’s just the way it is”. The spirit, ideology, customs and rules of how they conduct business and entertain themselves and the public must be made new.

Going into this, I understood that it would take more than just writing and producing cool stories to really make a change. I couldn’t be just another creative having to deal with an oppressive system, and hope that I can find a way to keep my head above water. Everything in me forbade me to.

It doesn’t suffice to hope that one can work with the right people without getting taken advantage of in this diabolical industry.  Hollywood’s manipulation of the press and the public has successfully hidden the fact that terrible things are happening to real people, and these “personas” that the public sees as stars conceal real pain and suffering in very serious ways. 

The Studio is my solution. 

We are starting off with these little articles and stories that we will be posting here but don’t get it twisted - the vision is big and my passion for this runs deep.

It was at the end of 2023 that I made the firm decision that what I will create must be radically different. From the very foundations of basic human interaction behind the scenes, all the way to the final product that the audiences will hopefully enjoy. Relationships between the different branches of this industry, contracts, rights, profit sharing, rules and regulations when it comes to labour and talent management… EVERYTHING.  

Whether I end up actually being good at creative writing and producing at all is something else. Only time will tell. If I do, then hurray! There will be a lot of great films, TV shows and all sorts of content that we will make and the world will get to enjoy. But if it turns out that my storytelling sucks, I’ll accept my defeat knowing that I at least gave it a try. No regrets. 

That being said, the world that I am trying to build does not require me to be an actress, a writer, or whatever else. I don’t need those accolades. I don’t need to be a star. The public doesn’t need to know who I am. Actually, the less they know the better. 

It is for this reason that I decided to go a step further and officially enrol at university to pursue a career conversion in law as a barrister.

It will take extensive knowledge of the law, and making sure that this knowledge is applied in every area of what we are trying to achieve, for anything to change at all.

As you probably realise, what we are trying to accomplish here means that the odds are already stacked against us before we even begin. But thankfully for me, for over a decade now I have been learning the hard way that “having a dream is one thing, but LIVING the dream is an entirely different story”.  So whatever will be coming up against me on this journey will meet a woman whom life has prepared for this. 

It is done. There is no backing down now.

God be my help.