Dana Boulos can’t be stopped. The photographer, director, DJ, creative director, and overall renaissance woman took a childhood passion for visual mediums and a restless spirit and spun it into a career full of boundary-breaking achievements. Her reputation precedes her as a “can do anything, will do anything” type of creative mind.
That mentality and approach is why Boulos has been identified as one of The Next 9 by Porsche. From fashion photography and consulting to a future as a feature filmmaker, Boulos got to where she is by never taking “no” for an answer.
“I’m always trying to push through the idea that everything is possible,” Boulos tells me over Zoom one unseasonably cold LA morning in October. “If you can dream it, you can achieve it. That’s something that’s been ingrained in my brain. I don’t care what anyone says, I don’t care if someone says ‘no,’ or ‘it’s never been done before.’ That’s exactly how you know you can do it.”
With a strong drive and a determination to get things done, Boulos is an expert at responding to the moment. That’s probably why when she isn’t weaving together glowing and ethereal dreamlike visuals, she’s moonlighting as a DJ, a job that requires you to not only capture the vibe of a room but respond to it and morph it into something new.
“At the end of the day, you’re creating something out of nothing,” she notes. “When it comes to DJing, you’re setting the mood… Directing is the same thing, you’re in control, but you’re managing people. Everything is a team effort, you need to know how to manage that team and bring the best out of the people you’re working with.”
Boulos credits her upbringing with equipping her with the necessary skills and tools to thrive as a multi-hyphenate.
“Both of my parents are Lebanese,” she says. “I grew up with this mentality that you work very hard and you don’t give up. They came to America with nothing in the late ‘70s/early ’80s and just decided they will make a life for themselves… I see that as motivation. Do what you love and money will come from it.”
The impact of Boulos’ parents cannot be understated. You can trace her relentlessness, her ability to accomplish any task she sets out to achieve, and her aspiration to be the best to her earliest memories.
“My dad worked so many years and finally bought a Porsche,” she says. “That car has always been in my world. It’s beautiful, it’s luxurious, but it’s also very powerful. I was lucky that when I was learning how to drive, my dad let me drive his Porsche. That had an impact on me, I thought ‘oh my god, he trusts me with this car; he believes I can do it.’”
That early instillation of confidence helped to form Boulos’ strong belief in her own abilities. It’s a skill she’s still focused on today — constantly analyzing her past work, looking for ways to improve, and take things to the next level. And it’s all been leading up to a feature film that explores her experiences growing up as a woman with a Middle Eastern background and finding her place in the world.
“It’s very traditional to get married and have the men take care of you,” she says. “But it wasn’t like that in my household. It was very much you do you, and you work hard on it. That’s something I’ll be touching on when working on cinema projects and features… Being able to do and have a funded film. That’s a whole different ball game… Having a film premiere at Sundance or Cannes. That’s the next goal for me.” Boulos says with finality, before suddenly adding, “As well as creating a physical book.”
Her ambitions are huge. Her successes are legit. And her mind never stops working. Dana Boulos is firing on all cylinders.
For more on The Next 9 series, check out our hub page.