“Yoga has influenced my filmmaking,” Egbuonu says. “It’s taught me the power in the collective. What I make is usually about getting people to remember that; that we can’t do anything alone. And at the end of the day, if some of us are not free, then all of us are not free.”
After spending 6 years as an instructor, one private client, producer Ged Doherty, asked if she’d be interested in helping with a project or two. She was an associate producer on Loving, starring Ruth Negga. She then spent three years working on (In)Visible Portraits.
Though she’s not in the yoga studio as frequently as she once was, Egbuonu has kept up with wellness rituals in an effort to stay grounded. “One of the ways that I practice self-care is just really giving myself the grace and the permission to be fully human,” she says. “As Black women especially, we’re expected to be strong all the time and be resilient. I allow myself to feel all my feelings, whether it’s sadness, anger, or rage. Or even when I’m experiencing depression.” She finds that therapy and breathwork are supportive tools in accessing and nurturing that range. “Breathwork is so powerful because it’s a way to regulate our nervous systems,” Egbuonu explains. “It’s also a reminder for me that, as long as I have breath, my divinity is non-negotiable.”
In (In)Visible Portraits, Egbuonu asks her subjects what they wish they could tell their 14-year-old self. As for the director’s own message to the girl within? “I would tell her that she is safe and that what she’s currently experiencing is not final. She’s worthy of everything her heart desires.”