Following Big Apple Dreams
By Aida Toro
Pursuing an artistic dream can feel impossible from time to time, especially if you live in a remote like area or a place that simply does not feature art as much. In that case, New York is the destination to go to and pursue an artistic dream of any kind, which is what Tamara Hansen did.
“What made me come to the United States or what made it possible to come to the United States was the Fullbright Scholarship, which I received in 2016,” said Hansen.
The Fullbright Foreign Student program enables graduate students, young professionals and artists from abroad to conduct research and study in the United States in which some scholarships are renewed after the initial year of study. Hansen, originally from Germany, is now a resident of Brooklyn.
“I guess when you’re working in the city, there aren’t so many options,” said Hansen. “You can either live in New Jersey, Long Island, the Bronx, in the city itself or in Brooklyn. I like Brooklyn because its very close to the city, but also it’s own place. It’s very edgy, but calm and nice at the same time and affordable. I feel comfortable here.”
Hansen grew up on a horse ranch on the countryside with only one neighbor. She attended high school in Bad Münstereifel, a tiny town that’s about a 20-minute car drive away from where she lived.
“Because my dad was working a lot, he rented a small apartment for me close to school as there is only one bus driving a-day between the ranch and the high school and when I had longer hours in school, I would have had to stay with friends otherwise,” said Hansen.
Due to these circumstances, she somewhat started living on her own at the ages of 16 to 17, which she found to be fantastic because it made her a very independent young woman.
“My dad always raised me to be independent, which I appreciate a lot and he always trusted me with doing the right thing,: said Hansen. “Stories like this can be viewed as a challenge, but in the end this is life and I don’t look at it as something negative, it’s what you make out of it.”
After she graduated high school, Hansen went to Hochschule Düsseldorf, a public university in Germany, to pursue her degree in Communication Design. She then graduated college and was accepted into the Fullbright Foreign Student program. Once she was accepted into the scholarship program, Hansen decided to pack her bags and travel to Manhattan to attend the School of Visual Arts (SVA) to pursue her Masters in Fashion Photography.
“I lived in London before I moved to New York City to improve my english,” said Hansen. “I didn’t have a job or anything else when I arrived there. I was a bartender, so I could pay rent.”
Hansen perfected the english language and finally arrived to the Big Apple.
“When I came to New York I had school and was able to build a network around that,” she said. “I believe that helps a lot.”
Although she pursued her Masters degree in Fashion Photography, Hansen went in another career direction since she decided to become a Film Director.
“It felt like a new challenge, and it felt like it could bring out something good,” said Hansen in regards to directing. “I like when everything comes together and works out the way you want it to, but I also like the challenges it brings with it and how to solve them.”
Hansen was sponsored by The Right Eye Inc., a boutique talent agency based in New York City which represents Directors of Photography, Directors, Editors, Producers, Writers, Stylists, Hair and Makeup along with Production Designers.
“Thomas Turley is my agent and sponsors me on my Visa,” she said. “I worked on a bunch of productions with The Right Eye, whatever we had going on here at the time which was mostly commercials.”
In September of 2018, Hansen directed her first ever music video for TGR, an artist duo that performs pop music. She’s also directed two experimental short films and will be directing a music video for Pop Recording Artist and Songwriter, Brielle Von Hugel, in the upcoming weeks.
“I’m very excited, and can’t wait to shoot,” expressed Hansen.
Even though she is a successful director, Hansen did not forget about her roots in Germany as she always visits for the holiday season and recently renewed her Visa in March. She also states that she has not changed much and is still the same independent woman with the go-getter attitude.
“I think everything is just a process, in the best case you improve and you develop but you’re still the same person, at least that’s what I believe,” said Hansen. “I’m still the same, I just live in New York now.”