Director Alexa Karolinski

If you’re like us, you’ve watched the Shoe Cult teaser at least 100 times by now. The genius behind those 15 seconds of awesomeness is director Alexa Karolinski—an L.A.-based filmmaker who has mastered everything from high fashion films to full-length documentaries. We cannot get enough of her killer aesthetic, so we decided to hit her up and find out what really makes her tick.

Full name, age, job:

Alexa Karolinski, 29, director.

Three Emojis to describe yourself:


Where do you live?

I used to live in Fort Green, Brooklyn, but now I live in Hollywood, Los Angeles!

Tell us about your films! How would you describe your work?

It’s hard to describe your own work! I like to think that my work varies depending on who I make it for and what I am interested in during the time of making it. I started in documentary filmmaking, which I still love. Some people’s stories are just crazier and weirder than anything anyone could ever invent, and I’m attracted to that. Fashion videos are also really interesting right now. More and more designers like to express their visions with directors in the video format. Similar to music videos, fashion videos can let you experiment with storytelling and style, so it can be a lot of fun. Some of the most absurd conversations I’ve ever had were brainstorming fashion videos. Anything goes, in a way.

How did you get into filmmaking?

I worked for magazines and then for television back in Berlin, where I am from. I just really wanted to make my own longer films. It’s a medium I really love because you can express yourself through image and sound, and there are a million ways to interpret that.

Who inspires you?

My friends.

Tell us about the Shoe Cult video you created! What was the inspiration?

We wanted to create the feeling of a girly explosion inside a Nasty Gal’s brain, basically, in 15 seconds. Tara Sinn, who made all the motion graphics in the background, is an amazing graphics illustrator based in NY.

What’s a recent project that you’re really proud of?

I really enjoyed working on this video with Liberty Ross and Rosa Lieberberg for Nick Knight’s Showstudio punk series.

What are you working on now?

I am currently writing a script for my first feature narrative film, and I’m continuing to make more and more videos!

Advice for aspiring filmmakers?

Be bold and different. Challenge the ideas that everyone likes. Make as many things as you like, as often as you can. Find a mentor.

What do you do when you’re not making films?

Eating and drinking with friends, hanging out the beach or at the dog park with my dog Lupa, going to the movies, or whatever comes my way.

Finally, your favorite GIF at the moment: