The Sweet Life

Joslyn Thoresen

The Dynamic Charm of Joslyn Thoresen

Marketing (Wo)manager San Francisco Film Society, Multi-Tasker Extraordinaire, 30 years old

“The challenge in life is knowing when to let go, even if it is what you love.”

Joslyn has a steady calm grace accentuated by delicate artful tattoos. We sit together after a photoshoot with Les Lunes in San Francisco. Confident and charming, she listens more than she speaks and I have to prod her a little to get her to open up for LL. Magazine. She is exhausted and humoring me; the San Francisco International Film Festival is in a few days and she just spent a long month organizing the marketing launch.

Joslyn graduated from UCSC with a degree in History of Art and Visual Culture. “I did a double major, but it was really unnecessary.” She was determined to get a second degree just to see if she could do it, but looking back she would have done it differently. “I took a lot of dumb classes and I wish I had taken more creative art classes. I had a lot of self doubt about my ability to create.” With the distance of time comes wisdom and she wishes now that she had taken the opportunity to explore all the subjects that secretly thrilled her. “Don’t do the fluff, just do the things you are passionate about. Don’t worry about other people's criticism.”

She lived in Santa Cruz for five years. Reluctant to leave immediately after graduation, she spent a year just enjoying the space she was in. Joslyn loved the laid back lifestyle; “I had a sweet life.” When her first epiphany struck, it hit hard; “One day I realized it was sort of a never never land and I had to leave and go be an adult.” She struggled with letting go of the pseudo utopia to go pursue bigger dreams. “I cried when I realized it was what I needed to do.” But Joslyn loves a challenge, so she put on her big girl panties and moved to San Francisco with nothing more than a temporary couch at her sister’s flat, and landed a job at Spin Magazine.

“It was a really awesome start to my career.” She was hired at Spin Magazine in marketing which they called “digital distribution”. Before every company had a Twitter and Facebook account Joslyn had started one for Spin Magazine. It was exciting and she started to feel like she was making steps towards a promising career. Then the recession hit and her job became a casualty of business survival. “I experienced my first failure. But it was such an amazing life lesson that I really appreciate that it happened.” She began to explore more of herself and started to dive into that creative well that she had been afraid of before. She wanted to do anything and everything.

She started working for a web developer at a startup company. The pay was awful, but she was learning alot. “I thought of it as an elevated internship. I learned how to code and build websites and I use that knowledge everyday.”  Frustratingly, she also had to work two part time jobs in order to pay for the high cost of living in San Francisco. It was during this trial that she had her second epiphany moment’ “I woke up, I was 26 and I thought: I want to live in San Francisco, I want to be an adult, I want to have a career.” She started looking for a job that would nourish her. While she has a lot of respect for the arts she knew she wasn’t the right fit for the white walls of a gallery. It was the smart choice in terms of her pocketbook, but it wouldn’t feed her soul. “I really wanted to move deeper into the creative side, I wanted to work for and support the arts.”

Joslyn saw a post on Craigslist for the San Francisco Film Society, a non-profit organization that supports and gives life to an amazing breadth of projects. It was only a short contract position but she went in to interview anyway. “Two women that I greatly admire conducted the interview. They hired me right away.” It was a new and unique experience to be working for women instead of men. “Linda Butler who is now the Marketing Manager for SFMOMA was a complete inspiration, I could see her vision and her drive to execute what she wanted.” Shortly after, Joslyn’s contract position became a full time job.

Joslyn found the aspiration she was looking for, “Working with art and film in a non-profit is a sacrifice and a service. It is a rollercoaster ride of thinking quick on your feet.” She has a very small budget for marketing, she makes up for it by having the ability to communicate with people on a more personal level. She excels at networking, talking about the future and getting people “...stoked” about the project at hand. “You have to put aside the idea of money and focus on the cause.  I am very passionate about the cause, and every artist and filmmaker we get to help.”

“I wouldn’t say I am a highly organized person, but I do have a quickness and enthusiasm for the work.” Joslyn manages a small team, keeping everyone on task, and I get a little dizzy when she rattles off her typical work day. She is working on multiple projects at once and, while the San Francisco International Film Festival is the largest, there a many other very worthy projects happening all the time. There are educational programs that serve more than 11,000 students, exhibitions that celebrate film, and Filmmaker360 which provides grants, prizes and assistance to up and coming filmmakers. Joslyn has a hand in all of this, she is a great collaborator and has a remarkable ability to pull off the impossible. She loves when “... you can see the spark in someone else and you instantly click and can get things done.”

How does she manage the fast pace and high stress of it all? She keeps her sense of humor and she thrives on being challenged. “A lot of people fear pain or hard work.” Joslyn does not. She shares this ideal with the man in her life, a talented artist, tattooist and fellow seeker of beauty and adventure. But, after experiencing three film festivals Joslyn is working on balance. Her third epiphany moment came at 29 when she realized the totality of her attention over the last three years had been work. “I’ve never worked so hard.”  While she is truly passionate about her work, she knows she can’t sustain a healthy life without outside stimuli. She now makes it a point to add a few cultural experiences a week. She goes to yoga, travels and started rock climbing, which she calls “a satisfying micro-challenge”, meaning the elation you get when you reach the summit. Taking this time for herself has her, “...feeling more confident, and more like I am who I am supposed to be, than ever before.”

“I get to work with all of these amazing women. I don’t think twice about it until I have to go somewhere else and there are mostly men.” Suddenly, Joslyn is reminded that this is still a male dominated business. It is weird and awkward, but cements that what she and her colleagues are doing is unique and fantastic. “I am very inspired by my work and the people I get to work with. The SFFS is experiencing a growth spurt, there are a lot of ideas and enthusiasm for the future and they are in large part because of women like Linda Butler, Jaime Galli, Rachel Rosen, Joanne Parsont and Michele Turnure-Salleo.” I would add that it is also driven in large part by the charming vibrancy of Joslyn Thoresen.

Joslyn describes herself as being a hybrid. She grew up in Humboldt county with summers in San Francisco, and while she loves the wide open spaces on her personal time, she loves the energy of the city in her professional life. It is this dichotomy that has served her well in the art world and has given her the sweetness of small town family values alongside the ability to navigate the fierce politics her professional environment breeds. I asked her to describe her perfect day:

“I wake to Nakona making me an amazing breakfast of pannekoek (a dutch baby pancake). I bike to work along the outer Sunset up through Golden Gate Park and drop into the Presidio. Maybe, I will be on a grant panel that day to give filmmakers money for awesome projects, or I could be promoting our youth education programs, or working on the next huge international film festival. After having had a satisfying work day I go rock climbing with friends and then I go home and Nakona and I make dinner together. These are a lot of my days. Its pretty fucking fantastic.”

I always know when I have met someone who is a truly passionate person about their calling in life: their perfect day includes their work.

Joslyn's Favorite Les Lunes: The Sweet Life in a Sweetheart Dress.

"My favorite piece is the Sweetheart Neck Bamboo Jersey Long Lace Dress because its lightness is very sensual and I love the lace panels." 

Joslyn Thoresen

Add a dash of romance to your day with our flirty ultra-comfortable, bamboo jersey stretch dress. A treasure trove of sweet detail; this eco-friendly dress features lace trim along the sweetheart neckline, a figure-flattering waistband and graceful lace inserts along the hem. Delicate keyhole and lace detail on the back of the dress complete the fairytale.

Available in black or navy.