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Women Behind the Camera Weekend: Leah Vlemmiks

Updated: May 8, 2020

We sat down for a chat with our 2nd AD and photographer Leah Vlemmiks to hear about her experience on set and why representation of ALL people in stories is so important.


Why is the series titled Avocado Toast? (if you don’t know, take a guess!)

I’m not at all sure. But, I’m going to guess that it’s got something to do with the contentious and (mathematically precarious) omega 3-packed snack boomers kept using to blame all millennial misgivings on: Avocado Toast. “You could’ve bought a house but nooooo you spent it all on avocado toast.” “ You could have had a healthy RRSP (and a healthy couple of kids) by now but noooo you spent it all on avocado toast.” In the boomer world a slice of avocado toast apparently costs $1350 + tax.

Sex, sexuality, gender and different kinds of relationships are depicted in Avocado Toast the series. Why is it important to continue sharing these types of stories today?

Representation is a must if we want our culture to be truly egalitarian. It’s so incredibly important to not only show different people, sexualities, experiences and cultures in our media but it’s equally as important to ensure that those stories are told by the people living them. I think that’s what’s so wonderful about Avocado Toast the series. The writers drew from their own personal experiences. That’s why there’s so much integrity behind the performances and the stories.

For example, one of my favourite dynamics that the show explored was the sexuality of older people/baby boomers. By Hollywood standards sex past 25.5 years for women and 100 years for a man (as long as said man is having sex with 25.5 year old woman) is largely taboo. I loved the fact that Avocado Toast the series challenged this “standard, and unapologetically represented sexuality between an older women and younger man and a polyamorous older couple - two dynamics that are rarely represented on screen

Tell us about your story in Avocado Toast the series. What were the main challenges and fears you had in your role?

I came on to Avocado Toast the series as 2nd Assistant Director a few days before filming so it was a bit of a whirlwind at first. I’d never filled a role like 2nd AD before so I was completely unsure of what to expect. I’m normally on the creative end of things so filling a role that was quite administratively heavy and required me to do math in my head (ahhhh!) was definitely scary. So, naturally I was fearful that some how my lack of experience in the role would cause some astronomical catastrophe that would ruin the production and everyone in it (catastrophic thinking is a talent of mine). But! It all worked out. The team were so incredibly supportive and really banded together. I really couldn’t have asked for a better experience or a better group of people.


Leah is also a talented photographer, she took the most amazing BTS photos for us during production - flip through and have a looksee.


Do you find it hurtful or funny when baby boomers refer to millennials as ‘snowflakes’ or when millennials dismiss baby boomer advice with a ‘Okay, boomer.’

I think every generation has its unique ideals, its challenges and its ways of dealing with those challenges. That’s why I think context is so important. I don’t think it’s all that useful to use one generation's criteria to judge another because the factors aren’t the same. Like right now I really just don’t get some of the stuff “the kids are doing” - I don’t understand that whole TikTok thing where kids lip sync and dance to a song and other kids watch and respond with the same dance and some how make tons of money from it and what on earth is going on and why????

But that’s the point, I’m not supposed to get it (or judge it) because this stuff is for a whole new generation with it’s own perspective, culture and coping skills. They’re creating their own value systems for a world that they’ll be living in when I’m old and gray and I think that’s pretty awesome. So if a boomer calls me a snowflake I’m totally fine with it. We are snowflakes and we created our own snowflakey world in response to the times we grew up in and now that world is giving way to the TikTok kids and so the generational cycle continues - I think it’s pretty exciting.

What are some of your favourite baby boomer slang or sayings and why?

Honestly I don’t really know any off the top of my head… but my parents have some pretty awesome Britishisms that are probably “very boomer” in Britain now like telling me to stop “waffling on” if I’m complaining too much or to stop “faffing about” if I’m indecisive.

What are some of your favourite millennial slang and why? Hmm, I’m terribly lame (which I actually think is a Gen X word, no?), so I’m not sure I know any off the top of my head and googling “millennial slang” felt very millennial of me. But I do wish the word “pizzaz” would make a come back. It really has it all!

Are baby boomers and millennials often having the same conversations but just using different words?

Yes! I can’t count the amount of times I’ve heard myself giving advice and been like “Damn, I just paraphrased my mother.”


THANKS FOR READING! Don’t forget to join our mailing list for more Avocado Toast The Series content and events!

Up next on Monday is a blog with the talented musician, Joe Jacobs in our Music Monday interview series.



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