Artist and model Lisa Stapleton’s Unfiltered Euphoria™ is a fascinating and brilliant scientific approach to the creative arts, and — more importantly — an exploration of our lifelong pursuit of self-actualization and self-acceptance. She recounts her methodical and artfully executed exploration of learning to be comfortable with being uncomfortable, and reaping great personal and creative benefits along the way. Get ready for her journey from isolation to community; from being “independently and undeniably yourself” to “putting trust in your most ambitious ideas and doing it afraid.”
Director’s Message / Prologue
by Lisa Stapleton
During the same time the earth stood still, my personal life underwent unexpected turbulence. My family went through a traumatic divorce, my mental health plunged to new lows, and the exciting new chapter of post-grad life was amounting to a load of aimless disappointment.
Better yet, the career I thought I wanted to chase turned out to be my own mental revelation of learning that you are not your parents. Caught between an unavoidable burnout and nostalgia for feeling “normal”, I had lost my sense of drive, ambition, and self.
I had lost my sense of drive, ambition, and self.
Come August 2021, I spent many days contemplating what I wanted out of life. Just a few months away from graduating early, I refused to believe the finish line I was hurling myself towards was a race no one wanted to participate in. So, I looked at the world around me for guidance. When I looked to the world around me, I noticed that we were all struggling with the impacts of mental health, family turmoil, and the callous nature of the “unprecedented”. After countless inner monologues debating the phenomenon of “purpose”, I theorized that for anyone to build a life that would yield authentic happiness, they would need to be able to be independently and undeniably themselves.
they would need to be able to be independently and undeniably themselves
This began the creation of my project: Unfiltered Euphoria™, a year-long journey deciphering and pursuing self-actualization. Being a hyper-creative mind and unapologetic business geek, I methodically planned out a project that would blend my two passions into a sustainable career embedded in purpose.
By the completion of my project in October 2022, I had three goals:
- Create a case study designed to market my professional
- Serve as a means of structured self-reflection and metamorphosis into someone that I wanted to be someday
- Act as a pressure cooker for professional growth
Each day leading up to October I used my project as a blueprint to navigate approaching the beginning of a lifelong thesis focused on chasing my version of Unfiltered Euphoria.
I’m beyond thankful for everyone who’s supported me in the process from the production to the adventure that followed. It was because of your uniqueness that I was able to uncover mine.
And, as we all know, there’s a difference between theory and application: so, what happened in the past year?
Kicking Off the Theory
The process of re-emerging was centered around practice, patience, and persistence. Having a brief introduction to the production industry pre-pandemic and a few network ties remaining, I started by reaching out to key figures for mentorship and guidance while building out the concrete details for my project. The possibility of engineering a life for myself that bridged my creative and operational skill sets existed – it was a matter of being resourceful and receptive to failure.
The next 2 months were spent meticulously preparing to shoot, making sure that each chess piece was in place to maximize my investment. Fulfilling the roles of Creative Director, Producer, Stylist, and Model, I wanted to explore each facet of the industry to understand which role I was most drawn to. Having never modeled before, I spent those 2 months methodically practicing how to capture my vision.
Using digital tools and processes that I had picked up in past jobs, I created an optimized production schedule capable of achieving an ambitious shot list. In just 10 hours my team was able to accomplish
- Filming 34 video scenes
- Photographing 9 looks
- 4 hair and makeup changes
After filming my project, I concluded that my passion was coded in creativity and not C++, I was on the right path.
Reflecting on the Impact of the Past
Once I became solidified in my approach to a creative career, I needed to digest the impact my past had on my mental health. In the Shedding Skin phase, I needed a change that challenged me, but I wasn’t done processing my emotions.
I relied on my business mindset and empathetic relationship with people to become Classy Girl. Creativity was always an outlet for me, but I was in dire need of blending structure and entrepreneurial strategy to guide me through the unpredictable nature of working in the creative industry.
This pushed me to reflect on my past Party Girl phase. A time that could be best summed as a slipping scale of coping mechanisms to feel a filtered form of happiness. Tangled in my circumstance, I had lost of sense of worth.
The secrets that my personal life unveiled, coupled with an international tragedy put me on a sinking ship of anger and frustration. With no outlet, I felt trapped in a life that was pressuring me to be consumed by work that didn’t fuel me. Numb, tired, and sickly, I reached my breaking point.
Learning the Meaning of Self
When I entered Initial Embrace, I saw the importance of allowing myself to be emotionally vulnerable. This meant self-exposure, a concept I was not familiar with. Several nights were spent renouncing my fears in the form of tears, coming to terms with what it meant to be human: flawed, fragile, and stripped of societal expectations.
I saw the importance of allowing myself to be emotionally vulnerable
Renewed through self-reflection, a rebirth of unfiltered consciousness ensued.
Climbing the Production Ladder
In my growth period, each step forward was met with careful analysis. With mentorship from my former boss Mickey Freeman, I had the privilege of exploring intricate facets of a creative career. As a celebrity stylist assistant, the day-to-day was unpredictable but extremely fulfilling. I had the opportunity to assist with several projects for magazines, premieres, and fashion events.
Here’s what happened while assisting during that time:
- 10 fashion stories for magazines spanning from Photobook to Harper’s Bazaar Australia
- 3 Premieres
- 2 Awards Shows including the Critics awards in Los Angeles
- 2 Press Weeks
- 2 featured contributions to Glam magazine
- Several NYFW shoes
- Several personal portfolio projects
Putting Theory to the Test
The acceleration phase could be best summed up as chaos. Each day started with feeling like I was out of time, out of money, and out of luck. Things were moving faster than expected and I felt like what I was trying to achieve was borderline impossible. I was juggling three jobs, several projects, and the endless exhaustion that comes with navigating your early 20s.
Each day started with feeling like I was out of time, money, and luck
However, the lesson in this phase could not have been clearer: you are the only person capable of doing the things you aspire to do, and no one is going to do it for you.
Undeterred by being spread thin, this project became my reminder of the power that can be harnessed by potential.
Coined by a New Perception
The glowing phase was tied to radiance. Revealed by a crisis of consciousness, and a smashed laptop on the PCH highway in Los Angeles, I came to the sobering realization that even when you think you understand yourself, glowing can only be possible when you adhere to your core strengths.
Although my initial grand plan was going to fail, I felt at peace knowing I was ready to make the leap. It didn’t matter that I was on a new unpaved path, the destination was going to remain the same.
Putting Trust in Ambition
This brings me to today, in this very moment picking up where the video left off. While I had the vision for Unfiltered Euphoria™, I did not have the foresight to understand how much I would grow creatively and professionally within the past year.
Now that I’ve spent the last year working towards understanding what makes me so undeniably Lisa Stapleton, I’m beyond excited to extend this method to my next project Caricatures of Consciousness. Having now authored the first few chapters of this series, I’m inspired by the essence of New York City: to be built by grit and developed by community.
So, as I conclude this project, I’d like to leave everyone with something to think about. Each one of you came across this concept for different reasons. So, I encourage you to leave with a reason. A reason behind who you are, and what you want. When I started this project, I thought Unfiltered Euphoria™ meant being independently and undeniably yourself but, at the completion of this project, I realized that Unfiltered Euphoria™ is about putting trust in your most ambitious ideas and doing it afraid.
Unfiltered Euphoria™ is about putting trust in your most ambitious ideas
For example, when I started this journey, I had a few network ties remaining. At the completion of this project, I have a community of people helping me write the final few sentences of this story.
Unfiltered Euphoria Team Credits
Photographer: Arianna Vetere
Model: Lisa Stapleton
Hair Stylist: Francesca Maria
MUAs: Angie Shehata, Tania Bogun
Creative Director: Lisa Stapleton
Stylist: Lisa Stapleton
Producer: Lisa Stapleton
Assistant to the producer: Lauren Gilbert
Stylist Assistant: Georgia Whitworth
Visual Arts Assistants: Morgan Detzner, Ingrid Grove
Photographer Assistant: Ian Shiff