Women's History Month Highlight - Sasha Stewart

During the month of March, societies worldwide encourage the celebration of the vital and often unheralded role women have in history. EEP is a creative studio that prides itself on championing a wide range of experiences and voices behind the stories we create:  in fact, it’s part of our core mission statement.  And so, this month, we’re excited to highlight some of the women who have helped craft the fantastical worlds of Einhorn’s Epic Productions!

Sasha Stewart is a writer and comedian from Dallas, TX. Some of her TV credits include: Amend: The Fight For America (Netflix),  The Fix (Netflix), The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore (Comedy Central), and the 2016 White House Correspondents’ Dinner. In 2020 she was the winner of the Yes and… Laughter Lab. She’s also the Head Writer for Daughters of D.C, EEP’s political thriller podcast, which was one of Apple podcasts’ top 10 fiction podcasts this year! 

Daughters of DC is the tale of the daughters of top political powers in Washington DC. When their private communication server is hacked, they are thrust into a political conspiracy far bigger than they could have ever imagined. Read on for more about Sasha and her work, and stream the full season of Daughters of DC wherever you get your podcasts!

Meet Sasha Stewart, the Head Writer of Daughters of DC!

Einhorn’s Epic Productions: What is your favorite character in EEP’s slate? What’s your favorite character elsewhere?

Sasha Stewart: Jaymes Parker from DoDC is my favorite character in part because at the beginning of season one, she reminds me so much of myself at that age (minus, of course, the incredible hacking skills!). I also had a brother who was popular and tried to help me make friends, but I was so scared! And yet by the end of the season, Jaymes steps into her power in a way that I was not brave enough to do. She goes from someone who is absolutely terrified of putting herself out there to someone who’s confident enough to speak truth to power, be vulnerable with her friends, and share her feelings with a crush. If only we could all be like Jaymes! 

One of my other favorite characters is Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice – and this is true across the many adaptations (Bridget Jones, the 1996 BBC version, the 2005 film version, the wonderful recent literary “remix” Pride from Ibi Zoboi). Not only is Lizzie bright, sharp, empathetic, and witty, she also speaks her mind no matter what her audience will think. And instead of being condemned for it, she finds happiness for herself, her sister Jane, and security for her family for that very reason! She’s willing to admit her flaws, but she doesn’t condemn herself for them. Instead, she changes, and she’s willing to change her opinions of others based on new information and behavior. I think that’s why Pride and Prejudice gets adapted so often – Lizzie Bennet is a woman who stands up for what she believes is right, and that characteristic is timeless.

EEP: What woman in history do you look up to?

SS: Ida B. Wells – she was one of the country’s first true investigative journalists and brought a greater awareness to the horrible, violent practices across the South (and eventually the North, too) to suppress Black freedom and equality. Even more, she took it upon herself to do this – she never sat back and let other people work it out for her. She brought the change. I also think people often say, “Oh well, those were just the times” when it comes to a lot of the racism, sexism, and other prejudices we see throughout history, but Ida stands in stark contrast to that. There were always people pushing for justice and equality. Ida pushed for Black women’s suffrage in white women’s suffrage circles (and she ran a number of Black women’s suffrage groups!). She pushed for Black women’s voices in largely male Black spaces. She knew equality means equality for everyone, and she took that stand throughout her life.

EEP: Who are some of your inspirations? Who would you like to shout out?

SS: Sherrilyn Ifill at the NAACP LDF is a living legend in terms of fighting for equality for all. Brittany Packnett Cunningham is an incredible activist who uses her megaphone to lift up unheard voices. My friend Anisha Steephen has been on the ground in NYC pushing for true affordable housing and housing justice for years. And I have three different all-female writing groups that I’m a part of, each that has grown and developed organically over the years, and they all inspire me every day. We support each other, advocate for each other, and truly believe a rising tide lifts all boats – that has made all the difference in my life and career!

We support each other, advocate for each other, and truly believe a rising tide lifts all boats – that has made all the difference in my life and career!

– Sasha Stewart

EEP: What’s your latest project?

SS: My latest project is the six-part docuseries Amend: The Fight for America, available on Netflix now. Executive produced by Larry Wilmore and hosted by Will Smith, it takes a deep-dive look into the 14th Amendment and how crucial a part it’s played in our nation’s struggle to live up to its ideals of equal justice under law. Our fourth episode looks specifically at the way the 14th has and has not helped women gain control over their lives, their bodies, and their role in society. Writing the series has been literally life-changing. The incredible people we cover and interview inspired me to take a larger, bolder role in ensuring equality for all in this country, like volunteering with voter protection programs in Georgia during the election and Senate run-offs!

EEP: What advice do you wish you received when you were starting out?

SS: Do not compare yourself to others – everyone is on their own journey. Perseverance and a willingness to grow are far more important than raw talent. And, if you want to be a writer, stop thinking about writing as a creative art and treat it like a job (an easy way to help make that happen is by writing for 30 continuous minutes every day and turning off the internet while you do it). Because once it is your job, you can’t sit around and wait for inspiration. You need to be able to look at a blank page and start typing words right away! 

Do not compare yourself to others – everyone is on their own journey.

– Sasha Stewart

EEP: What was one of the toughest creative or professional challenges you had to face? How did you overcome it?

SS: After my first writing job ended, I had a really hard time finding my next one. It’s something we don’t talk about a lot in this industry, but it can be really demoralizing and make you feel like your first job was some sort of fluke (even though I had it for almost two years and it only ended because the show was canceled!). Fortunately, my husband was working and I had a lot of savings from that first job, so I was able to take some time to keep writing, honing my voice, and developing new skills. I started going to almost every Writers Guild event and made a lot of new writer/producer friends – which was scary at first but ended up being critical to eventually getting that second job! That’s why perseverance and a willingness to learn and expand your network are so important. They may not pay off right away, but in time they will start paying dividends and lead you to wonderful new opportunities. 

EEP: What’s your superpower?

SS: Empathy (a superpower a lot of women have and one I hope more men develop!). And maybe also connecting people – I love helping people make new friends or colleagues. Oh, and I guess I should say jokes!? Yes, definitely, joke writing is my #1 superpower.