How I winked at Benedict Cumberbatch on the red carpet

April 22, 2022

Want to hear an insane story? 

Let’s get real for a minute. Twelve years ago I moved to Michigan from San Francisco. The change itself was absolutely terrifying, but during all of this, I decided to start a wedding photography business. Needless to say, I knew nothing about running a business and to be honest, I really had no clue how to photograph a wedding at that time, either. But I was in my mid 20s and I had high hopes for my future. I reminded myself daily: “Good things are going to happen.” ?

During this time, I entered a photography competition, as I was deeply involved in my personal black and white street photography project. It was a very convoluted image consisting of reflections in a window.

A month later, after I forgot all about it, I got an email saying I won a fully paid trip to the Venice Film Festival. My first reaction was of course – “omg okay scam”. But when I remembered the photo submission, I realized my internal mantra worked! Good things are definitely going to happen! The best hotel in town, Italian wine, pasta for daaaaays and crowds of tourists! 

It wasn’t my first time in Venice, but it was definitely a first time that a jury flew me to a foreign country to award my photo work with a Grand Prize. My photo was selected from over 7,000 entries and that itself invigorated my passion for photography. I met with a local photographer Marco Tortato in one of the oldest coffee bars in the world, and talked about the never ending street scenes unraveling in Venice. I also met Bill Frakes, a Sports Illustrated photojournalist, who wandered with us through the winding streets. Life in the lagoon flows slowly.

The images you’ll be scrolling through are from the red carpet of the Venice Film Festival while I was being swallowed by all the paparazzos in the press section, shooting at 5,000 frames a second. But, since good things were going to happen, I winked at Benedict Cumberbatch, before he became a big deal! 

I don’t know what would have happened if I didn’t get this sign from the universe to be fearless and keep trusting in myself through a challenging period of my life. But this finicky thing called luck combined with hard work might have completely changed my life! ? To read more about this story, click on this Ann Arbor News article.