The Empowerment Project Meets Some Warrior Women In The Midwest

Hey Girltalkers! This is Director Sarah Moshie Mosh in Denver, CO and we are halfway through our empowerment journey, can you believe it? To think back on all the experiences we have already had in the last couple weeks and how much it feels like we are all bonding and changing, it’s hard to imagine this trip ever ending and going back to real life. #itsgoingbytoofast!

After so much driving the past week it was nice to settle in to the home of Kim Owens, an amazing independent woman and business owner in Denver. Kim opened up her home to us (as well as her dog Sam!) and we set up shop in her dining room downloading footage and preparing for our next shoot. Kim has an amazing style of decor in her home and her vibe perfectly suited ours. She handed us a package that came in the mail when we arrived – the Indieflix logo! We are officially sponsored by Indieflix on our empowerment van!

Tuesday, September 17th — We interviewed Beth Klein in Downtown Denver in a courtroom. After re-routing from Boulder to avoid the flooding and disaster area and heading to Salt Lake City it was a relief that we didn’t have to miss out on our interview with Beth, a prominent and influential lawyer fighting human trafficking in Colorado. We arrived at the tall office building, unloaded our gear and traveled up to the 32nd floor to an office that overlooks the entire downtown area.

Beth Klein Lawyer

We had the pleasure of meeting Pia, another lawyer that works for Holland and Hart, the firm that we were visiting. Her kindness and interest in our project was much appreciated. When we met Beth I thought to myself, what a powerhouse in a small package! Beth is so strong, eloquent, confident and passionate for the work that she does. We set up her interview with her back to the courtroom (very beautiful, dramatic lighting I might add) and we sailed through her story.

When she was a kid she told us that on the playground in elementary school she yelled out to a kid that was bullying “I’m going to sue you!” and that’s when she knew she was interested in law. She told us about how to be a good lawyer doesn’t mean you are good at arguing, it actually requires more agreements then anything else. She made the legal system seem very accessible and comprehensive and she definitely made us realize how much we need people like her to fight for those who don’t have a voice.

Beth’s biggest platform issue is human trafficking – which basically means slavery in many forms that exists even today, now, in Denver, in Colorado and all over the US. All of us were shocked to hear how prevalent human trafficking is all around us and how Beth is fighting to create laws and defend those young men and women that are stuck in a lifestyle they can’t control.

Beth Klein

Beth discussed her definition of success and how we need to regain and re-define the word feminism in today’s world. She inspired us not to live in a man’s world but to live in our world and think of everyone else around as players in that world. Not motivated by specific goals or dreams, Beth always seems to be reaching for seemingly unattainable goals. I know Beth deeply affected all of us and our views of the way young girls are treated as well as what it means to use the law to defend the voiceless. Incredible!

That night we went out to dinner with Beth and Sharon Tuke, my husband’s aunt who connected us to Beth in the first place. Tammy Brislin also joined us, a female filmmaker and festival organizer in Denver who knows Vanessa. What a great group of strong women all together enthralled in conversation at ACE for dinner. After stopping at Yogurtland post dinner we headed home for our usual nightly routine.


Wednesday, September 18th – HALFWAY POINT! Our second full day in Denver can only be described as gluttonous! We had the pleasure of interviewing Mary Nguyen, a chef and restaurant owner in Denver. We met her at her first restaurant Parallel 17 and got to see firsthand how she runs 3 restaurants and combines Vietnamese cuisine with a French style. Her interview was so inspiring.

Coming from a Vietnamese background, Mary started her career as an investment banker and dropped everything at age 25 to pursue her love of cooking. With no formal training, Mary prides herself on educating the people of Denver about the different styles of Asian cuisine and let me tell you – her food is delicious! She told us to find passion in our lives, even if it’s not in our work. She talked about how she is a humanist and not a feminist per se, and how she believes in equal rights for all people, not just women. We have enjoyed hearing so many different answers to the question, “what does the word feminist mean to you?”

Mary Nguyen

After taking such a leap of faith for herself and starting her path in the culinary world, Mary is a huge success. Not only did we get to interview Mary and see her in action in the kitchen, we also got to eat! We had lunch at Street Kitchen, her second restaurant in Inglewood, CO. She ordered what felt like every dish on the menu for us to try. WOW I have never eaten so much for lunch before with the expectation to save room for dinner 4 short hours later. Mary’s dishes are unique, flavorful and a feast for the eyes. I am not a “foodie” quite yet but I am doing my best to describe the wonderfulness that she served to us.

After a huge lunch we geared up for a very special event at Mary’s home. She hosted a tasting for her newest restaurant Olive & Finch with all her friends and family and us! The plates and dishes kept coming one after another – salads, pastas, sandwiches, juices, desserts, etc. I think I tried almost every dish even though we were stuffed from lunch! I did try something I never thought I would — beef tongue. I saw Mary prepare it earlier in the day so I felt like I had to give it a go, I think the mental picture of a cow’s tongue got to me, but truth be told, it wasn’t bad!

After an array of amazing sweet desserts we left with a huge pail of leftovers and thanked Mary for everything. Maybe we should have just interviewed female chefs all across the US? 😉

Mary Nguyen Chef

We had an exceptional young woman as our mentee in Denver, Cassidy Jacoby a 17 year old high school senior. She was such a light on set and her energy was palpable. I think she reminded all of us why we are doing the mentorship program in the first place – to give back. Cass told us she learned more about filmmaking in 2 hours from us then she had in her high school career! I gave her some college and life advice and she and her mother were so grateful for the experience it just made us all feel warm and fuzzy inside. Can’t wait to meet our next mentees! They are also referred to as interns, production assistants, etc but I like the word mentee.

Thursday the 19th we headed out for Iowa to meet Ashley’s family in her hometown and then drove 10 hours to Chicago, which meant I got to see my family! This trip is flying by suddenly and I just want to remind myself of one thing: Be Present. This truly is an extraordinary experience and I don’t want to miss a moment. Even if it includes busting a gut and eating way too much.

On to the midwest, my motherland!





  1. Another epic update. I can hardly wait for this to be put all together! What wonderful women you have met and the awesome things they are doing to make this world a better place. And you are inspiring young talent to go after what they want and giving them the confidence and advice to get there. I feel so good after reading these updates. Keep ’em coming. Safe travels.
    Love, Gma

  2. I can’t wait for my turn!! WHOO! DC or bust!!

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