MEERA MENON IN NEW YORK, APRIL 2016. STYLING: COCO CASSIBBA. COAT AND SHOES: CÉLINE. TOP: LANVIN. PANTS: STELLA McCARTNEY. EARRINGS: RFORM STUDIO. BRACELET: AESA. COSMETICS: BERNADETTE THOMPSON NAIL CARE COLLECTION, INCLUDING MACKTRESS. HAIR: TAKASHI YUSA. MAKEUP: GEORGI SANDEV FOR DIORSKIN NUDE. MANICURE: BERNADETTE THOMPSON FOR THE BERNADETTE THOMPSON NAIL COLLECTION.
Meera Menon doesn’t shy away from talk of money—or the lack of it. The 31-year-old director came to prominence in 2013 after she raised the funds on Kickstarter for her first feature film, Farah Goes Bang. A coming-of-age story about female friendship that Menon co-wrote with Laura Goode, it won her the very first Nora Ephron Prize that year at the Tribeca Film Festival. Her much anticipated follow-up, Equity, out July 29, is a taut drama about women at the top of Wall Street’s echelons. At one point the lead (played by Anna Gunn) delivers a riveting monologue about what makes her get up in the morning: “I like money,” she announces without a hint of shame.
“I think it’s a revolutionary idea to have a woman own her love of money and that be okay,” Menon says over coffee in Chelsea. The New Jersey native comes across as both ethereal and down-to-earth. When asked where she sees herself in ten years, she jokes, “being able to pay rent.” But in all seriousness, her goal is to keep directing. “I’m interested in any story that takes a character that traditionally has existed in the margins and pulls them into the center,” she says. That’s why she would like to write and develop a female-driven action movie that features car chases. She’s also interested in stories about immigrant identity, as well as working on a TV or web series about a female politician running for national office. And then there are her side projects, including a web series that’s an adaptation of Mansfield Park, shot entirely on a green screen.
Even though Equity centers on female characters, men have also responded strongly to its tale of white-collar corruption. “At the end of the day, it’s just a movie about ambition and where ambition can toe the line into unsettling areas,” Menon says. So what’s next for the director? “I feel like I’m Lady Gaga right now,” she says, laughing. “I have to get in my egg and rebirth myself.”