Credit: Courtesy

Name: Elena Rossini

Job/Company: Independent filmmaker, photographer, and multimedia developer.

Brief description of what you do in your role:

I wear many hats and I'm involved in several projects, which share a common trait: the desire to challenge the status quo.

When it comes to film, I produce, write, direct, shoot, edit, and even create motion graphics. I covered all these roles for my latest film: The Illusionists, a 90-minute documentary about the globalization of beauty ideals, with filming locations in eight countries, across four continents. I just completed the film and it’s set to premiere later this year.

I also do a lot of photography—from travel to portraits and reportage—and I have blogs and side projects that focus on women's issues: No Country for Young Women and Gender Gap Grader.

What are you wearing?"Carpe Diem" Sweater: Banana RepublicSkirt: ZaraCashmere Tights: CalzedoniaBoots: AndréTemp tattoos: Tattly"Bonheur" (happiness) Bracelet: Gas Bijoux

Why does it make you feel powerful?The relationship between power and the way we present ourselves is very close to my heart. For the longest time, I had problems being taken seriously in the world of film. There aren't many visible examples of young female filmmakers and whenever I had to pitch projects to production companies, TV stations, or simply present myself at industry gatherings, I would receive patronizing responses and hear phrases like, "You don't look like a film director." For years, whenever I introduced myself as a filmmaker, I would immediately hear the follow-up question: "Oh, are you a film student?" My male colleagues–even those younger than me–never had the same kind of treatment. I have to confess it made me feel self-conscious, and for a while I tried to underplay my femininity by cutting my hair shorter and wearing gender-neutral clothes, like polo shirts and jeans. And you know what's interesting? It didn't make a difference at all! I would still be asked if I was a film student.

Completing a feature-length film virtually all by myself gave me a boost of confidence. There's something that clicked in me, as if I unquestionably earned a badge of film director. Ever since that happened, I reverted back to a look dear to me: skirts, kitten-heeled boots, and long hair. This particular outfit invariably cheers me up: the words "Carpe Diem" are a powerful reminder to be bold. The same goes for the Tattly temporary tattoo "Believe" that I have been keeping on my left forearm for a year now (I bought a big batch of them that I renew every week). I’m reminded that I have to have faith in my abilities, and be daring at the same time.

What advice do you have for balancing self expression while still maintaining a professional look?When it comes to creative fields, the more original, the better. I'm very lucky in the sense that I have the freedom to express myself with temporary tattoos, without being judged. On occasion, I have to don a more professional look, especially when I’m invited to women’s conferences that have a strict dress code. When that happens, I either rub the tattoos off (that's the advantage of Tattlys), or conceal them under clothes. I love their versatility and the fact I can display a different message on my arms every week. They're great conversation starters. Not a day goes by that I'm not stopped and asked about them!