Yogi-Filmmaker Oge Egbuonu on the Inspiration Behind Her Documentary and the Wellness Practices That Keep Her Grounded

5 months ago 34
google news Flipboard

Oge Egbuonu wasn’t expecting to end up in the filmmaking industry, let alone with a critically acclaimed documentary, (In)visible Portraits. The film, which focuses on breaking down the stereotypes placed upon Black women and girls through interviews with scholars and authors, is making its debut on the OWN Channel, March 2nd. “It’s about us remembering our worth. And understanding why certain stereotypes were put in place in the first place,” Egbuonu tells Vogue over the phone. “It’s important for me that folks remember who they are and their innate power.”

Before she started making films, Egbuonu was a yoga teacher. She began the practice after moving from Texas to L.A. through a communications job. “I realized how much racism, sexism, and homophobia the company had,” Egbuonu says. “I went through about three months of severe depression. I thought I made a huge mistake by moving, especially because I didn’t know anyone.” Then an acquaintance invited her to a restorative yoga class. “I remember being in this class and just bawling crying, from doing the breath work. I just became obsessed with it,” she says. She started going five times a week, then realized she wanted to start teaching. “I wanted to help heal my community,” she says.

Photo: Courtesy of Amor Capdevila

“Yoga has influenced my filmmaking,” Egbuonu says. “It’s taught me the power in the collective. What I make is usually about getting people to remember that; that we can't do anything alone. And at the end of the day, if some of us are not free, then all of us are not free.”

After spending 6 years as an instructor, one private client, producer Ged Doherty, asked if she’d be interested in helping with a project or two. She was an associate producer on Loving, starring Ruth Negga. She then spent three years working on (In)Visible Portraits.

Photo: Courtesy of Amor CapdevilaPhoto: Courtesy of Amor Capdevila

Though she’s not in the yoga studio as frequently as she once was, Egbuonu has kept up with wellness rituals in an effort to stay grounded. “One of the ways that I practice self-care is just really giving myself the grace and the permission to be fully human,” she says. “As Black women especially, we're expected to be strong all the time and be resilient. I allow myself to feel all my feelings, whether it’s sadness, anger, or rage. Or even when I'm experiencing depression.” She finds that therapy and breathwork are supportive tools in accessing and nurturing that range. “Breathwork is so powerful because it’s a way to regulate our nervous systems,” Egbuonu explains. “It’s also a reminder for me that, as long as I have breath, my divinity is non-negotiable.”

In (In)Visible Portraits, Egbuonu asks her subjects what they wish they could tell their 14-year-old self. As for the director’s own message to the girl within? “I would tell her that she is safe and that what she’s currently experiencing is not final. She’s worthy of everything her heart desires.”

Photo: Courtesy of Amor Capdevila
  1. Homepage
  2. Lifestyle