Katharin “Ladie K” Mraz is a media producer based out of Chicago. She is CEO and Founder of Ladie K Productions, Inc., a media marketing production company. Although, in the eyes of many, she may live the glamorous life, her hard work and perseverance are her biggest assets.
Katharin was adopted from Korea at the age of 2 to an American family of Irish German decent. Her mother, father, and two older brothers were Caucasian; Katharin is Asian. Often, Mraz felt she was a part of two separate worlds at the same time. Asian adoptees were still a rather new concept in America throughout the 1990’s. “It was hard for people to understand that I was a part of a white family. In the end you have to realize that they’re not trying to be mean. They just didn’t know what to say.”
School was no cakewalk for young Mraz either. Her grades were too high to be “cool” and her actions too weird to make friends. She dressed like a tomboy, and looked “funny” compared to her Caucasian peers. Making friends was not easy for Katie (as they called her back then). Since then she has stuck to the thought “quality over quantity” regarding friends. Ms. Mraz no longer feels she is an outsider to the popular crowd.
Finding her passion for the arts at the age of 11, Mraz spent her teenage years expressing herself through various creative mediums. Music, art, acting and writing soon consumed her life as a young adult, helping her through some of the toughest times. Modeling came next, and although Katharin never strived to be a model until after she married in 2006, it is what she’s known for the most.
Who is Ladie K?
Ladie K, the self-expressionist superstar movie producer, officially began her career in Hawaii as a model, actress, and screenwriter. Her first taste of modeling came when she was 8 months pregnant in 2006. She modeled for four different photographers in Honolulu during her last few weeks of pregnancy, and had a blast while doing so. Ladie K had over 36 photographers take her picture in Hawaii the two and a half years she lived there.
“I expected that modeling would end there, but it didn’t. Suddenly every photographer in Hawaii wanted to take my picture, even after I gave birth and lost my big belly.”
My main goal is to change how people view women and minorities. I want audiences to see strong female or minority characters on screen, or in the media, as often as possible.
Prior to Hawaii, K began screenwriting, and used this talent to step into the independent film industry on the islands. “I can honestly say I started my film career as a paid screenwriter.” Before leaving Hawaii, she had the opportunity to work as a writer, producer, or actress on film or television sets ranging from low-budged independents, student films, and film festival submissions to larger productions for LA, NYC, British, and Japanese based companies.
After her divorce in 2008 Katharin Mraz returned to Chicago with her child, ready to take over the world. Since she’s been home, Ladie K has been published in numerous magazines, featured on all sorts of websites, and is an international success. On top of that, her business, officially established in 2011, has grown from producing low-budget film shorts and event coordination, into Ladie K Productions, Inc.
Ladie K Productions, Inc. 2011
Ladie K Productions, Inc. is a media, marketing, and production company based out of Chicago, Illinois. It provides a variety of services to businesses, or individuals, and can help any brand expand themselves digitally, or socially, into the modern world. The company specializes in conceptualizing marketing strategies, planning and event coordination, as well as media production, and media literacy development. Ladie K Productions, Inc. focuses on modernizing brands, while expanding one’s clientele and professional network using several different mediums. This include the visual arts, graphics, and design; film, video and audio productions; the performing arts; still imaging and photography; fashion styling and design; live events, parties, and promotions; internet and social media marketing. From scripting, conceptualizing, and formatting a plan, to pre-production, production, post production, and eventually through exhibition, promotions, social media, and distribution- Ladie K Productions, Inc. is ready to move anyone forward towards the future!
Katharin Mraz is an advocate of green living, women’s rights, and a part of the gay and lesbian community. Her mission now is to open up a socially responsible “green” studio, to be called Studio K. Ladie K’s will focus will be on socioeconomic and environmental equality in entertainment, and consumerism. In the near future, she hopes to introduce environmentally friendly alternatives for the entertainment industry in regards to media production.
ASIANCE: It’s a pleasure to meet you, Ladie K. I wanted to start out our interview asking you about a recent project of yours, “Melody & the Old Sock” which you are producing. Can you tell us a little about the story and the status of the project?
Ladie K.: Melody & the Old Sock is a dark fantasy film short that is being produced in Chicago. I’ve been a part of the team for over 18 months. I’m the longest standing Producer on the project as of now, although I’m no longer on the project full-time. The project is finally in post-production after two ten day shoots (October 2010, March 2011), and two more two day pick-up shoots which we have just finished. We hope to submit to Cannes Film Festival next February and Sundance the September after that. Also, we plan on submitting to international and other prestigious film festivals.
The story is based on a woman named Melody, who is going through the worse night of her life. She was taken advantage of, kidnapped, and assaulted by a man whom she escapes from after smashing open her head. That’s when Old Sock comes in to the picture. Eventually, her mind finds a way to empower Melody to go back and take out her attacker.
ASIANCE: What do you want audiences to take away from the film?
Ladie K.: My main goal is to change how people view women and minorities. I want audiences to see strong female or minority characters on screen, or in the media, as often as possible.
ASIANCE: Can you tell us what interests you in producing?
Ladie K.: I like knowing everything about everything in media, and only producers get the luxury of really taking hold of a project during the entire process. We are not only putting pieces in place, we’re problem solvers, networkers, efficiency freaks that take care of everything from hiring and firing, to finances and, equipment rentals or purchases, contracts… if it’s a part of the production or project in any way, it’s most likely the producer was involved at some point.
ASIANCE: What advice would you give to women who want to produce films? Should they achieve a certain type of experience?
Ladie K.: If this is specifically targeted for women who want to produce media, I would say to them – DON’T GIVE UP. It’s hard because women think much differently than men, and when there are 10 executives or department heads, and 9 are men, you’ll ALWAYS be outnumbered. Hold your ground, because although they may think they have the answer, being a woman our ideas and inspirations are just as great, but uncharted territory to some degree.
ASIANCE: I understand you are writing a feature now. Can you tell us anything about it?
Ladie K.: I am writing a feature film right now. This will be the 4th feature I’ve written, two of my previous ones have been bought and produced. The third one is being rewritten from the ground up again. This one in particular I hope to have it finished by fall of next year so that I can go into pre-production over the winter and into 2013.
In the end, the hardest part for me will be finding investors. Here comes the shameless self-promotion- It’s a great story that I’m developing more each day, and if anyone is interested in donating to the cause they can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for information on how they can get involved in this project! I’m trying to raise about $100,000 initially, and then another 300,000, once we’re in production.
Hold your ground, because although they may think they have the answer, being a woman our ideas and inspirations are just as great, but uncharted territory to some degree.
ASIANCE: In the past you have done quite a bit of modeling. What do you like about modeling and is this something you hope to continue to do?
Ladie K.:Modeling, my day job, is something that I don’t feel I’ll ever be able to get away from – because of all that I’ve done thus far in the industry- but is definitely not my focus. Filmmaking, and media marketing, and producing is really where I belong. The only reason I model so much is that it’s an easy medium to create art. I make good money, and am apparently good at it.
ASIANCE: What type of modeling do you prefer?
Ladie K.: What I usually produce when I’m my own talent, or when I model for myself, is conceptual fashion. I like to first piece together ideas, concepts, stories, and then find the wardrobe, hair style, makeup, and attitude that goes with the image. Finally, I choose a photographer who is willing to collaborate, but also take direction from a model. I end up editing the majority of my images, unless the photographer specifically insists on being the exclusive editor.
ASIANCE: What were some of your favorite photo shoots?
Ladie K.: Wow, I’ve executed 300+ photoshoots across the country. It’s not so much my favorite shoots but favorite photographers, or specific images. My favorite photogaphers are Floyd Honda & Maxx Shots in Hawaii; Pnb Photography and DwightNYC in New York; Don Armstrong and Stan Shultze in LA and SoCal; and Steven Ledell, Oova Fotographie, and Alatus Photography in Chicago.
ASIANCE: Ladie K Productions, your media, marketing and production company offers a very diverse range of services to their clients. What can Ladie K Productions do as far as marketing, branding and promoting a client or a brand?
Ladie K.: Ladie K Productions, Inc. helps people build a digital progressive presence in the market while utilizing all sorts of medias. Our focus is equality in media marketing, which is good for any business since it helps them reach out to new people like women and minorities. It also gives the company a “green” and “socially responsible” image to work with. For instance, I may produce a video shoot for a client that features an Asian woman with a Hispanic man, instead of two Caucasian characters, that we’d attempt to go viral on YouTube. Or I may suggest to a jewelry store to shoot a gay couple instead of a straight one, and have it printed in a gay pride magazine.
ASIANCE: Tell us about your plans for Studio K. You say it will be a “green” studio. What does this entail?
Ladie K.: I’m an environmentalist, feminist, mother, and locavore. It’s apparent in all that I do. Therefore I’m discovering environmentally friendly alternatives to traditional media production. Overall, we will not be buying unnecessary products to cut down our consumerism, utilizing second hand stores, reusable containers, and local foods. Waste will be minimal, recyclables always separated, and food put into compost. The actual studio will run on wind energy, as well as natural light.
ASIANCE: You have a reputation as a very open-minded, creative, free spirit. Have you always been aware of this side of you and how hard has it been to blend it with the business side of running a company?
Ladie K.: I have spent my whole life as an open-minded, creative, and free spirit. These were some of my most obvious character traits growing up. Part of it is my adoption, which keeps me open-minded. The other side of it is my need to create, experience, and discover. Finally, my upbringing, and growing up in a very supportive family has allowed me to be the free spirit that I am. No matter what I do, they will always love me.
Sometimes these factors are very beneficial for my business. They help me connect with clients, employees, and other business associates fairly quickly. I usually don’t come off as judgmental, obtuse, or boring. Still though, I am a very strong business woman who keeps to her word, is not afraid to speak her mind, and has very high expectations when it comes to quality and execution. Not everyone expects that from such a free spirit.
ASIANCE: You are also a single mom and also attend classes. How do you manage such a busy schedule?
Ladie K.: Considering that I work full-time as a business owner, model, travel 2-3 times a month, AND go to school full-time AND am a mom full-time… I can see how that seems unmanageable. Hmmm… I’m Superwoman?
ASIANCE: I love something that you wrote about yourself, “Men are intimidated by me, women are intimated by me. At times, I’m even intimidated by myself. I’m actually a really, really funny person, wit always goes well with charisma and good looks… Have that too. What I don’t have is a lack of ambition and drive.”
I have to agree with that completely since what I first was intrigued with about you was your attitude and style. Why do you think people might be intimidated by you?
Ladie K.: I think what is most intimidating by me is that I’m sure of myself, and stand my ground. I know what I like, don’t like, need, don’t need, and am not afraid to speak my mind.
ASIANCE: What do you hope to be doing five years from now both personally and professionally?
Ladie K.: I am doing what I hope to be doing in five years! I’m running a progressive business that is only going to grow as the years go on. I want to be making films that change perspectives. Unlock the minds of America.