Women Supporting Women: Ode to Koko

KoKoby Erin BagwellDream, Girl Producer Founder of Feminist Wednesday

This past week I got married, and my husband Sal and I took an amazing honeymoon. While being unplugged for a while my brain got the much needed chance to wind down and reflect on everything that has been happening with Dream, Girl over the past year. Sometimes I get up in the morning and I go to work like everyone else, but other times I walk into an office I built, with an amazing employee I hired, and wonder how the hell I got here. One of those reasons is my business partner and friend Komal Minhas.

Komal and I met back in early September over Skype. She saw the Dream, Girl Kickstarter and was interested in coming on as an investor. Komal and I quickly connected- her Canadian accent sounded like home (I’m from upstate NY) and her passion for women’s economic empowerment burned bright. After a couple of weekly skype calls she offered to use her network to help us gain partnerships and started working for Dream, Girl part time. She even lent us her camera and drove all the way from Ottawa to help be an extra set of hands on set for our first week of filming. While she was here we got a chance to capture her story on film. You can see her in the Dream, Girl trailer.

Koko and I at the Dream, Girl trailer launch party.

I remember the days before Komal came on board. Back then every decision I made felt like an anchor that could potentially sink me. Every thought or email had to be passed through my husband or my cat Lucy. I felt terribly alone during our Kickstarter campaign even with so much support and success. Everyday was a battle, and everyday I tried my best to stay positive and believe in our mission, but when you are all alone it’s easy for the doubt of what you are doing creep in.

After a couple of months Komal and I started talking about distribution. It felt refreshing to know that someone who cares for deeply for our message wanted to kick it up a notch and take the film in a totally uncharted direction. Our plans for the film’s distribution are totally unprecedented by film standards, a strategy that was spearheaded by Komal. This is a big part of why I love her and why she became my business partner, her desire to always be bold and forward thinking. While we are both totally novice to the film industry I believe so wholeheartedly in this woman’s brilliance and force to make it happen. I can’t totally quantify in words what makes Komal so powerful to have as an ally- but I think it’s her ability to shoot and land far beyond your expectations. Our EP Bous said it best when he described her as having “no sky”.

That time Komal decided to go to Sundance and wrote Producer on her badge for Dream, Girl.

This past week I was in St. Lucia sitting in the sand thinking about the film, playing the rough 60 minutes in my head and thinking about ways to strengthen our story. During that time my email kept pinging about investor contracts and lawyer phone calls. My heart inhaled and exhaled with relief. Komal had it covered. How amazing was it that I could literally unplug from the world for a week and be totally confident that the ship was still sailing strong. I am so grateful that in such a short amount of time this person who was essentially a stranger came into my life and uplifted Dream, Girl’s message to the next level. Hell- I wouldn’t be on the beach at all if it wasn’t for Komal who patiently sat across from me in a coffee shop, looking over our calendar for the year, insisting that my honeymoon was non-negotiable. When I tried to cut my salary she was there to talk it through and make sure we were being taken care of. When wedding planning got stressful or I just needed a phone call to vent she has my back.

My brain can’t totally process the fact that someone has dedicated almost a year of her life to a dream I had in my living room and maybe that’s ok. When she moves to New York this fall I will have lots more opportunities to thank her in person and get the privilege to share her journey as an entrepreneur to the world in our premiere of Dream, Girl.

To learn more about our Dream, Girl partnership check out our Q&A video: