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  • New York Film Academy Alum Jasmine Chiswell Featured in ‘Vogue’ and Dubbed “The Marilyn Monroe of TikTok”

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) alum Jasmine Chiswell has gained a massive following across her social channels including TikTok (3.7 Million followers and growing), for which she has been dubbed by Vogue Magazine as “The Marilyn Monroe of TikTok.”

    Chiswell, who studied at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus in 2017 to get her MA in Film Production,  is originally from Scotland, but decided to stay in LA after graduating from NYFA. Since then, she has tapped into her love of Hollywood glamor and has adopted a complete vintage style look, offering beauty, fashion, and cultural tips and information to her followers based on the “Golden Age” time period.

    Chiswell and her husband are certified influencers and revealed in the Vogue feature that they not only live a vintage lifestyle, but they also live in the Spanish-style house where Marilyn Monroe once lived with DiMaggio, fully adopting the lifestyle of Chiswell’s inspiration.

    NYFA Alum Jasmine Chiswell

    “I have close to maybe 100 true vintage pieces of clothing, and 50 reproductions,” Chiswell tells Vogue. In addition to her massive collection, Chiswell now dubs herself a full time content creator reaching millions of people across her TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube channel.

    New York Film Academy congratulates Jasmine Chiswell on her recent feature in Vogue, and looks forward to seeing what the film production alum will get up to next.

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    August 18, 2020 • Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 2530

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) BFA Photography Alum Alina Grafkina Is Everywhere

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) Photography alum Alina Grafkina has not been shy about showing off her amazing work; in addition to numerous publications, she just recently had her images published in Nylon Germany.

    Alina Grafkina
    Grafkina originally hails from Russia and enrolled in the BFA in Photography program at the Photo Arts Conservatory at New York Film Academy (PAC at NYFA) at our Los Angeles campus in Spring 2017.

    Grafkina has specialized in fashion and corporate photography, exploring the ideas of diverse beauty and originality through a colorful pop aesthetic. She has shown comfort with both natural and studio lighting and has built a reputation on her originality and professionalism.

    She has since seen her work showcased not only in Nylon Germany but has been published in Vogue Italia 30 times as well. Additionally, she has been showcased in Vulkan magazine and Bello magazine, among others.

    New York Film Academy congratulates BFA in Photography alum Alina Grafkina on her continued success and is thrilled to see her work being shown for all the world to see!

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    July 31, 2019 • Photography, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1128

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting for Film Alum Alaia F Featured in Vogue India

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    The India edition of Vogue magazine recently released a profile on New York Film Academy (NYFA) Acting for Film alum Alaia F, featuring Instagram posts and photos of the up and coming talent.

    Alaia graduated from the Fall 2016 1-year Acting for Film conservatory at NYFA’s New York campus, where she learned from a professional, experienced faculty of working actors in a broad array of core classes that trained her for the kind of technical, emotional, and physical work necessary for film acting.Alaia F

    Acting runs in Alaia’s family. Her grandfather is Kabir Bedi, a renowned Indian actor whose career spanned Asia, Europe, and the United States. Her mother is Bollywood actress and popular television talk show host Pooja Bedi.

    Vogue describes Alaia as “Bollywood’s upcoming debutant.” Photos and Instagram posts of Alaia were included in the piece, including her recent attendance at the ICC Cricket World Cup, where she was seen with film star Saif Ali Khan at the India vs Pakistan match.

    Alaia will be making her professional acting debut with Saif Ali Khan in Jawaani Jaaneman, directed by Nitin Kakkar and co-starring Tabu, Chunky Pandey, and Kumud Mishra.

    New York Film Academy looks forward to the release of Jawaani Jaaneman and congratulates Acting for Film alum Alaia F as her career begins to take off!

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    July 5, 2019 • Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 3910

  • Amina Zaher in Vogue Arabia, Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, and Jute Magazine

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    This Women’s History Month, we’re very excited to get to share stories from the incredible #WomenOfNYFA in our community, and right now the spotlight is on New York Film Academy (NYFA) grad Amina Zaher.

    Zaher has been working up a storm as a fashion photographer, with her work appearing in Vogue Arabia, Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, and Jute Magazine, among others, throughout the Middle East. She took the time to sit down with the New York Film Academy Blog and share her journey from corporate management to the glamorous world of high fashion and lifestyle photography.

    Check out what she has to say…

    NYFA: First, can you tell us a little bit about your journey and what brought you to the New York Film Academy?

    AZ: Well my journey started similarly to any student graduated from business/marketing, headed directly to corporate life. First I started working for Microsoft Egypt for five years as a project manager, then Danone Egypt for another three years as well.

    Within these eight years I used to love photography, but had no idea what I could do with that passion. I used to study photography and retouching through Youtube tutorials, sometime by online courses, and I never thought one day that I might become a full-time photographer — it was only a dream (that I was extremely passionate about)!

    Bit by bit, having many test shoots done with other talented friends in the field (as I was still not sure what kind of photography I want to settle into, but used to have conceptual/fashion sessions), I started getting proposals — not payed, for sure, but some local magazines were interested in collaborating together.

    That’s when I realized that the dream might come true, but I would have to really study. We had many good photographers in the market, and I’ve always thought education is the best way to be up to competition.

    I applied for NYFA in 2014 and it was the experience of a lifetime. It made me first realize that I’m crazy about fashion photography, and also that I’m interested in street and documentary photography. I learned that I can try to use those to compliment my photography mood and compositions, and how important is it to know more about the history of photography!

    Then I came back to Egypt, resigned from corporate life, and started my photography journey. I’d travel every once and a while to a different country with a different culture and try having test shoots there (India, Dubai, the U.S.), and I never stopped studying, as much as possible.

    NYFA: Why photography? What inspires you most?

    AZ: I’ve always felt that I need to make art in some way, and realized that I love to capture portraits of people wherever I’m at. Also I’ve been crazy about fashion since I was a kid, and I used to ask my mum to get me magazines all the time.

    Lately when I started reading about photography I was obsessed with the idea of using lights and shadows to create an interesting image. To me it was very similar to drawing.

    NYFA: Do you have any favorite NYFA moments from your time studying with us?

    AZ: A lot!! Haha … I was super lucky with my TAs and classes. I was broken hearted the day I left NYFA — they were super helpful extremely kind, and I’ve always felt that they believed [in me]. They even gave me the opportunity to have a test shoot on my last day!

    I also remember once we had to shoot random people in the streets and ask them about their stories … it was so much fun.

    One of the great things that I’ve learned from NYFA is how to get inspired, how to read about great photographers work, and learn the story behind every piece, I used to get attached to these artists.

    NYFA: You’ve done a lot of high-profile fashion photography work, published in Vogue Arabia, Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, and Jute Magazine. Congratulations! What advice would you offer fellow NYFA students who dream of seeing their own work in such publications?

    AZ: Dream big, guys! Dreams do come true!

    But first work extremely hard, and never think “I’m already good enough,” because there’s never enough in this field. Do as many test shoots as you can, it’s what makes you learn best.

    I never stop stalking talent to collaborate with. Last month I caught a model in Philae Temple, dressed her up with my own outfit, and had a 10-min test shoot that got published in a local magazine.

    Nothing is impossible.   

    NYFA: What inspired your Major Tom editorial shoot?

    AZ: The idea of Major Tom was inspired by the great David Bowie. It was about a girl receiving a phone call about David Bowie’s death and having a very glamorous breakdown.

    NYFA: Do you have a signature style or favorite equipment you are always sure to use? What do you like to experiment with in your work?

    AZ: I Use Canon 5D Mark III with 85mm or 24-70. Shadows, composition and colors are always what I like to experiment with.

    NYFA: What has surprised you most in working as a commercial and fashion photographer?

    AZ: Actually, I never thought that I working as a commercial and fashion photographer would make me realize I can’t stop studying! It’s funny how fast this field can be with new techniques, equipment, moods that you have to keep up with — not only that, but you must be proactive and come up with your own new identity and creativity. It’s endless.

    NYFA: Would you say your time at NYFA was at all useful in terms of the work you are doing now?

    AZ: NYFA is the one thing that pushed me and made me realize that I have to let go of corporate life and move on with my passion. NYFA showed me new aspects. I learned that I don’t have to be a street or documentary photographer to get inspired by that work.

    For example, it made me realize how much I loved the “dirty framing” technique when we were studying street photography, and I used it a lot in fashion. Also pictorialism and juxtaposition were really inspiring to me.

    NYFA: What’s next for you? Any upcoming projects you can tell us about?

    AZ: Just had three new shoots published in Vogue Arabia, Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, and Jute magazine.

    NYFA: Anything I missed that you’d like to speak on?

    AZ: Only that I’m still dreaming really big! I hope someday I will be shooting for brands like Chanel, Prada, Gucci, and Vogue worldwide. It’s still a very long trip, and I will be working Hard for it until I earn it one day. Who knows?

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  • NYFA Grad’s Photography Portfolio Hosted by Vogue Italia

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    Italian native and New York Film Academy Photography graduate, Paolo Testa, says he’s “constantly working on different projects” since graduating. His work primarily deals with magazines and clients in the fashion industry.

    paolo testa

    photography by Paolo Testa

    “I believe that a photography school offers you a priceless opportunity: taking pictures for the sake of taking them,” says Testa. “This allows your creativity to flow and gives you a lot of room for exploration and experimentation. Once you are out of school, you need to work and you lose your free time. My most memorable time at NYFA was spent in the studio. I was using it every day for the sake of experiencing and gaining more knowledge of the studio protocol.”

    Testa’s latest work can be seen in WWD. Outside of the fashion industry, Testa is shooting a personal project called “My America” that will be showcased in the next issue of C41 Magazine, a fine art photography magazine distributed worldwide.

    palo testa

    photography by Paolo Testa

    Additionally, Testa has an active portfolio on the Vogue Italia website. Some of his photos have won awards on the website, including two of which won the Best of vogue.it.

    As for some advice that Testa has for our current students and recent graduates, he says, “If you want to make it, you need to focus on one type of photography. Be honest with yourself and don’t try to imitate someone else’s work. Find your own language and write your own story with your own unique style.”

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    August 4, 2016 • International Diversity, Photography, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 7339

  • New York Fashion Week Meets NEON Americana

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    NEON Americana

    New York City is often considered the matron metropolis impacting creativity and commerce throughout the globe. Many of our students do indeed pursue the career path illuminated by those glorious Hollywood lights. A peculiar breed of cinematic visionaries, however, has appeared in the arts and cultural scene seeking opportunities outside of movie studios and inside the illustrious world of New York high fashion. One student has stepped forward as arbiter of a brave artistic movement in a cultural age saturated by faux-freedom and endless hipster posturing. Steep Daniels (Cinematography ‘11) is spearheading the vision of NEON Americana.

    “NEON Americana represents a new breed of young people, a new way of living. We are freed from social constructs, breaking through into the life they’ve always dreamed of. It represents the new way of living in which its vibrant characters charge through life, never taking ‘no’ for an answer—inspired to be the biggest, best version of themselves. They envision a post-apocalyptic America. One in which a lone television set appears to be the last one left after a cataclysmic event of epic proportions. We look inside the screen to find the next wave of Mankind: the NEON generation.”

    As its name implies, NEON’s visual aesthetic is unapologetic in its brightly bold nod to the American spirit. Canadian-bred and hailing from Toronto, Steep exudes a passion which is reminiscent of the unabashed artistic ambition now seen as legend. The sort of creative character—a purity long lost—made famous by the Mudd Club kids in the late 70’s. The young Basquiat as graffiti artist SAMO. A sprightly Glenn O’Brien decades prior to his arrival at GQ magazine. Creatives fueled by youth and an earnestness, they were making their mark with a devil-may-care attitude of art trumps artist. When NYFA produces filmmakers like Daniels who conjure this golden nostalgia through a splashy collaboration with celebrity designer Stevie Boi, we want the student body to stand up and take notice. Stevie Boi’s ascent in fashion is remarkable. Backed by endorsements from pop culture icons Lady GaGa and Madonna, Boi is garnering acclaim for his ability to create drama through his designs. Therefore it is fascinating that he is becoming a character player in the vast NEON universe, a film series about artistic redemption in the heat of dystopian despair. The first subject of this series, Boi collaborated with Daniels in order to proclaim a new world order in the creative arts. “I’ve wanted to do a fashion film with a big artist for a long time and wanted to work with someone who represented a new form of fashion,” said Daniels.
    Daniels has enlisted fellow NYFA students Sandra Stakic (Documentary Filmmaking ‘12) and Markus E. Mueller (Cinematography ‘10) to assist in building the NEON brand. Stakic is working on a nonfiction film documenting the creative process of Daniels while Mueller acts as Director of Photography for the project. Stakic credits Daniels for the concept and execution of NEON. As she explained, “It’s his energy which draws people. His willingness to collaborate inspires others around him to be creative.” Becoming friends on their first day of classes at NYFA, the graduates credit the NYFA faculty for inspiring their drive to succeed. “Andrea Swift was incredible. The documentary students became a family in the end. There was healthy competition and a total respect for the filmmaking process,” says Stakic. Recounting 18-hour work days, Daniels credits department chair John Loughlin for teaching him how to “connect the dots” and to stay focused on storytelling no matter the chaos being wrought on set. He also described a creative process unhindered by the oft-cited idea called financial compensation. Everyone involved, including set designers and actors, were not paid. As Daniels explained, “We did it for the passion of being creative. Boi came to Toronto on a bus to work on this film and told me that he was inspired by our willingness to bring everything and ask for nothing.”
    Daniels is entering the New York arts scene in full force. NEON Americana will be screened during the Stevie Boi show for New York Fashion Week tomorrow on February 9th. He is also a part of SPiN New York’s annual Valentine’s Day benefit for M.A.D.A on February 14th hosted by the prince of Madagascar and actress Susan Sarandon. He designed the ping-pong table to be auctioned in order to raise proceeds for the foundation. Daniels is committed to expanding the NEON movement to include creative collaboration outside of the world of fashion. Working for passion with no promises, Steep Daniels never expected to have his art become a centerpiece for a designer deemed as the next fashion icon by Vogue Italia. He is living his vision aimed at shifting the paradigm of creativity and commerce.
    We encourage students to think outside of the box. How far can your creativity go? Will you take the necessary risks in order to create something greater than yourself?

    NEON Americana

    NEON Americana

    NEON Americana

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    February 9, 2012 • Acting • Views: 4742