Petra Collins

Artist, Photographer & Generation Z Influencer

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At the Podium

An artist with an activist bent, Petra Collins has made waves in the art and fashion worlds, expertly walking the line between insider and outsider, “It Girl” and renegade. She has worked as a photographer, director, and model for Vogue, Gucci, Stella McCartney, Adidas, Coach, American Apparel, Calvin Klein, Warby Parker, Vans, and Urban Outfitters; and her editorial work includes covers and features for Vogue, CR, i-D, Wonderland, Purple, Dazed & Confused, L’Officiel, and Elle. As an artist, Collins is a regular at Art Basel and has worked with institutions such as The Tate Modern. She has photographed a wide-spectrum of icons such as Selena Gomez, Tavi Gevinson, Kim Kardashian, and Zendaya. At the same time, she is far from content to follow trends or adhere to norms: in 2013, Instagram deleted her account after she posted an un-retouched image of her body; in response, she penned a column for The Huffington Post taking the social media giant to task for unwarranted censorship (her image did not violate the site’s terms of use) and sexism. At the podium, Petra offers her take on what’s next in art, fashion, branding, media, and culture—as well as an insightful look into the emerging world of Generation Z (the generation just behind Millennials now entering college and the job market—with, per The New York Times, billions in spending power).

About Petra Collins

Artist and influencer Petra Collins is one of the leading voices in the movement many are calling New Wave Feminism. A photographer first and foremost (she has been shooting since she was fifteen), her unflinchingly honest work explores self-discovery, contemporary femininity, and the complex intersection of life as a young woman online and off; in particular, her imagery considers the female body and psyche in reaction to the ubiquity of Photoshop, retouched selfies, and the fitness and beauty industries. She has been called the next defining artist of her generation, garnering endorsements from artists and tastemakers like Marilyn Minter, Katy Perry, Selena Gomez, and Lena Dunham. Collins also leads the Ardorous Collective, a think tank of female creative professionals working to critique and redefine representations and perceptions of women.

Collins’ CV is expansive and varied, particularly for someone of her age. Her work has been featured in i-D, Dazed, Vice, Purple, Vogue Italia, Rolling Stone, and she has curated and been featured in exhibitions in New York, San Francisco, and Miami’s Art Basel. She recently completed a short film commissioned by the Tate Modern for its Georgia O’Keefe retrospective, as well as a short film for hip hop artist Lil Yachty’s Capitol Records debut. She directed the music video for Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Boy Problems,” which became the fastest-viewed video the pop star had ever released. She has also directed short films for Stella McCartney, Cos, and Nylon. Her campaign work includes Levi’s Women’s Fall 2015 collection, which featured rock icon Joan Jett. She was included in Vogue’s “40 Creatives To Watch in 2016” and Dazed & Calvin Klein’s “100 Creatives Shaping Youth Culture.”

A model, actor, and writer as well, Collins can currently be seen as the face of Gucci’s fall/winter 2016 campaign, and as Agyness on Amazon’s acclaimed series Transparent. In 2015, Random House released Collins’ book BABE, an art and photography collection of thirty female artists from around the world.

Speech Topics

  • Art & Commerce: Authentic Personal and Corporate Branding for the Internet Era
  • Feminism’s New Wave: Facing Down Misogyny and Empowering Women in the Age of Social Media
  • Introducing Gen-Z: What the Newest Generation of Thinkers and Consumers Wants

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