We’ve all heard it before: “You're too young to understand.” Leah Judson is an image maker based in Washington, D.C., and is determined to change the narrative of our incoming youth. Her strategy? She'll be flipping a bus into a mobile studio and driving it across the US. She'll find and interview 12 voices under 21 who are defying the nation's expectations but are somehow being overlooked. This adventurous series is called Before We Could Drink, and it will incorporate photography, film, and audio recordings that will intimately tell each character’s “why” and their decision to drown out the noise and keep chasing their dream. This project is about creating a platform for young minds to express themselves without interruptions and for older generations to connect and see the work that can be done for our younger communities.
Episode 1: Watson 'Morning Star' Witford
After coming across an article that explored Native American communities moving their powwows online due to the pandemic, Judson stumbled upon 16-year-old Watson. Watson “Morning Star” Whitford is a Native American Chicken Dancer from New Mexico, who explores the importance of culture and is trying to preserve his indigenous customs.
Episode 2: Addison Roberts
Addison Roberts is a 20-year-old airplane pilot who was offered an opportunity to work for American Airlines but, due to her young age, she could not accept, even though she was qualified. She is a passionate and dedicated pilot, navigating obstacles with a great deal of positivity.
Episode 3: Giri Peters
During her search for young creatives, Judson knew she wanted to feature at least one musician, and she struck gold when she met Giri Peters, a 16-year-old Indian-American youth who lives in Nashville. He shares his plight as a teenager trying to be taken seriously as a bluegrass artist, and how he uses songwriting as a way to process major events in his life.
Episode 4: Alexandra Huỳnh
Alexandra Huỳnh, an 18 year old from California, a stood out to Leah mainly on account of her poetry. Most of the kids involved with this project engage in high energy activities but Leah wanted something a little slower, with an emphasis on creative messaging.
Episode 5: Destini & Lauryn
After receiving an email containing the Pathways 2 Power website from one of her Washington contacts, Leah was really moved by their message. Destini & Lauryn are two empowering individuals who are transforming adversity into advocacy and using grief as a tool for social change.
Episode 6: Jacob Little
Leah got in touch with Jacob after a discussion with her editor were discussing about Arizona and what it is known for. The prevalence of their air balloon culture in Arizona had peaked her curiosity and at just 21 years old it has become Jacob’s passion and he won’t let anything stand in the way of his dreams.