Rachel McClelland

Wonderful Women Interview with Filmmaker and Activist Rachel McClelland

Rachel McClelland

Rachel McClelland spent fifteen years in the entertainment industry delivering projects for a number of high profile names including Jay Z, Calvin Harris and Naomi Campbell. She now focuses on combining her experience in film and journalism with a passion for environmentalism and animal rights, working with organisations all over the world to instigate change with reference to ethical enterprise, plant-based lifestyles, food security and the natural world.

Most recently, she wrote and launched The Beautiful Life 90 Day Journal, a blueprint for living a happy, healthy, successful and ethical life, and executive produced the Protectors of the Planet series, a global film project for World Meat Free Week.

Rachel and her team are soon to launch a global media platform that focuses on personal fulfilment aligned with a peaceful and sustainable planet. The platform, which is evolving from The Beautiful Life’s film and journalism work, will create and curate inspiring and empowering video content across wide ranging topics including food, health and wellbeing, travel, fashion, sport, careers and business.

It’s a joy to welcome Rachel whom I worked with in my other life as a filmmaker, to the blog.

Describe a typical day for you?

I get up early and head to whichever bed Romeo, my Staffordshire Bull Terrier, is sleeping on to get my morning cuddle, much to his disgust! As the ruler of the roost, he pleases himself on what time he gets up and demands his breakfast, quite often whilst I’m on an important Skype meeting or something, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Then it’s down to work, which could be research for a film project, liaising with partners or working on the launch of our new media platform which is the culmination of an exciting but, from time to time, tumultuous journey. I finally feel like each and every experience, good and bad, over the last fifteen years has happened for a reason and I’m now in exactly the right place – amazing but scary, too!

What do you feel are your biggest achievements?

Personally Welcoming Romeo into the family as an eight week old puppy – he’s inspired me to combine my passion for animals with my experience in filmmaking; knowing that through leading a vegan lifestyle, I’m making a small difference every day; and finally, buying my house, which sounds rather basic but around ten years ago I had a terrible experience in business and lost everything, including the money that my Dad had left me. I worked really hard over a few years to save up the same amount and I did it. Three years ago, I bought my house in a beautiful village in Lancashire and I’m so proud of that.

Career wise – working on the film ‘Twenty Four Hour Party People’ many years ago; producing a Jay Z music video; creating The Beautiful Life which is a three part guide to living ethically, focusing on the principles of the Triple Bottom Line (an accounting framework with three parts: social, environmental and financial, also known as the 3 P’s – People, Planet, Profit) but at grassroots level i.e. we can be ambitious and successful whilst also being happy, healthy and kind to the planet and to others; most recently, exec producing the film series which has meant combining my love of filmmaking with animal rights and environmentalism. For the US film, I spent what became one of the best days of my life at Rowdy Girl Sanctuary in Texas; I had such an awakening and wrote about it .

What’s in your handbag/ satchel?

My Stella McCartney purse – I try to live as ethically as possible and I choose not to use any products that are the result of animals suffering so leather is most definitely out. I love Stella’s designs and her approach to sustainability, and I also love to treat myself from time to time! Then there’s my phone, my lucky stick (that Romeo, my dog, gave me!!), lip salve, notebook and quite often my laptop.

What are your ambitions in life?

To make a difference to animals and to play a role in this amazing, global shift to an ethical and sustainable world. I’d also like to further progress my career so that I can help secure the futures of my family.

What do you wish you’d known at the start of your career you now know?

To be tougher with people when necessary but, that said, I’m still a fairly sensitive soul! I also wish that I hadn’t been so easily influenced; I began my life as an animal lover with a passion for nature but somewhere along the way, I headed off into a rather false, capitalistic pursuit of fame and fortune. As I alluded to earlier, I’m a great believer in life’s journey and in experiencing both highs and lows but looking back, a little patience and some caution would have saved me a lot of heartache.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

Hopefully with a successful media platform, creating inspiring films and positively influencing people to simply dip their toe into a better world. Oh and I’d love to have a little house in the woods, too!

What advice would you give a budding filmmaker ?

Always be kind and be patient! Define your skills, play to your strengths, recognise your individuality and cherish it, and always be true to yourself. Accept constructive criticism but tell anyone who’s being judgmental, or who says that you can’t achieve your dreams and that a 9-5 job is what life is about, to f*** off – in the nicest possible way, of course!

Finally, happiness is… being with Romeo, being in nature, being creative, being at peace with myself and knowing that anything is possible.

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