'Las Mujeres de Fuego' is an exploration of archetypes of womanhood through history (oh, and beautiful nails)
“In the beginning, there was the goddess…”
So starts Las Mujeres de Fuego, a new campaign film from Fuego Nails. Inspired by the ways mythology and history have been manipulated to cast shame upon powerful women, Las Mujeres de Fuego, or Women of Fire, tells the story of five female archetypes and explores the taboos associated with them ranging from witchcraft to sexuality.
The campaign comes from London-based salon Fuego Nails and launches its Bad Bitch press-on nail collection. Founded by Natasha Blake, at the centre of Fuego Nails is an ethos of sisterhood and female empowerment. A practising bruja, Blake brings her intuitive energy into her job, working collaboratively with her clients to materialise their visions into tangible realities and create deeply symbolic nail art. With Las Mujeres de Fuego, Blake wanted to portray the recurring themes she was seeing in the way her clients were expressing themselves. “I wanted to reflect this within my work so that anyone could feel their personality expressed through the nails they choose to wear,” Blake says. “The idea is that there's a design in this collection for everyone.”
Each of the women in Las Mujeres de Fuego, at the same time, epitomise and usurp stereotyped visions of womanhood. By heightening and poking fun at the traits that have been historically used to hold women down, they turn this narrative on its head. “All the characters are bad bitches in their own way and there's one of them in all of us,” says Blake.
Below, director Jocelyn Anquetil talks inspiration, mythology and, of course, nails.
What inspired this video?
Jocelyn Anquetil: Tasha and I just bashed heads. We met on a shoot last year and I was absolutely dying to do a shoot with her. So I sent her this presentation back in December –it was all about women who embody taboos and misconceptions, fiery characters empowered by their nails – and as soon as she read it she came back like, "Oh my god, this is something I’ve been wanting to do for ages". It was so spooky. She’d been planning a shoot about her new nail collection, and the archetypes of her clients, and somehow it all fell into place. She brought along the contextual knowledge, adding a layer of history and mythology to the taboo ideas I had, and the ridiculous nail talent and then BOOM, we had our film. She told me to read Merlin Stone’s book When God Was A Woman and that’s really where it all got going. It was so interesting to read about this part of history, and how history is recorded, and understanding how that has manipulated the gender-based imbalances in our society. So in a nutshell, the film is inspired by the judgement and expectations that are thrust onto women, the way in which stories in history and mythology have been manipulated to cast shame upon powerful women characters, and how we can use our self-expression and strength to empower ourselves and reclaim the taboos and judgement that once weighed upon us. And nails!
How did you come up with the characters for the video?
Jocelyn Anquetil: The characters in the film are inspired by a mixture of things. They each embody the traits of a taboo aimed at women – witchcraft, sexuality, greed, for example –as well as symbolise women from mythology that have been demonised by the pens that scribed their stories. When we were developing the characters we noticed so many similarities between these entities and the styles people come to Fuego Nails for, that the characters started to also become an incarnation of the nails themselves.
What do you think the video says about beauty today?
Jocelyn Anquetil: I guess it says a lot about nails and the place nail art is carving out for itself in the ‘beauty’ world today. Nails are definitely becoming a more universal way to express and define yourself. People from all kinds of backgrounds are using their hands as mini-canvasses to express the intricacies or hidden aspects of their style and nature. They can be so extra yet so subtle. So much creativity in such a small space!
What would you like the viewer to take away from this?
Jocelyn Anquetil: I’d love for people to take away the historical knowledge… about the formation of history and mythology, in the way it was transcribed, and how it has snowballed into the societal roles and imbalances that we are trying to disrupt today. A fierce sense of primordial empowerment!
What does beauty mean to you?
Jocelyn Anquetil: In my mind, beauty is something you do for yourself. It’s a way you feel or a state of mind – not for or determined by anyone else.
Director Jocelyn Anquetil
Story Jocelyn Anquetil & Natasha Blake
Producer Lucy Hawes
Executive Producers Lucy Hawes & Jocelyn Anquetil Cinematography Anna MacDonald
A JUICY & MILL+ PRODUCTION STARRING
Natasha Blake as La Diosa Del Fuego
Grace Neutral as La Bruja
Josie Man as Angelita Mikaela Lima Costa as Trash Queen
Valeria Chrampani as Bad Bitch Carmen Jade Jackman as Dread
Lavina Loftus-Cheek as Moira Sonny Turner as Lilith
Jimena Mancilla as The Voice of Mother Nature
Nails Fuego Nails
Production Design Ranya El-Rafaey Hair & Make Up Design AJ Juttla
Stylist Emma Jayne Lipop
Editor Amanda Jenkins
Original Soundtrack Marnie Rose Davidge
1st AD Miles Lacey
2nd AD Jo Guthrie
Production Assistant Eve McGovren
Focus Puller Stephanie Kennedy
2nd AC Elisa Spigariol
Camera Trainee Katie McQuillan
DIT Eve McGovren
Gaffer Greg Probert
Spark Jasper Clarkson
Art Department Assistant Emily Noble
Fuego Nails PA Jasmine Lloyd Fuego Nails BTS Photographer Lola Webster
Hair & Make-Up Supervisor Ian Grummit
Hair & Make-Up Assistant Paul Rogers, Graziella Cawthorne Vella, Maya Man, Anya McDevitt and Hannah Frances Martin
Wardrobe Assistant Rhain Teasdale
Director’s Assistant Lucy Abraham
Production Runners Thom Rumbelow, Judit Jakli and Marnie Rose Davidge
Infinity Bae Jadryk
With special thanks to Jahle Jureidini @ MiLK
Asha Chandler @ Arri Rental Karine Gama @ Panalux
EDITORS – TENTHREE
Post-Production Executive Producer Julian Marshall
Post-Production Assistant Producer Rachael Goodger
POST PRODUCTION – THE MILL
Executive Producer Clare Melia
Production Assistant Bruce ‘Brenda’ Langfield
Production Assistant Judit Jakli
2D Lead Georgina Ford
2D Artist Holly McClean
Motion Designer Freya Barnsley
Graphic Designer Jo Guthrie
Colour Artist Megan Lee
Data Lab Alex O’Brien
2D Artwork Support Operator Robyn Goncalves-Borrageiro
SOUND DESIGN- FACTORY
Audio Producer Deborah Whitfield
Sound Designer Josh Campbell