Dream chasing is a full-time job, but dream catching can be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. In Pigeons & Planes’  first-ever Elevator Pitch competition sponsored by Sprite, six creators from across the country and creative disciplines (music, art, and fashion) were chosen to pitch their dream project to a panel of three judges—photographer Gunner Stahl, celebrity stylist Haylee Ahumada, and rapper/producer Erick the Architect. 

Each creator was given the opportunity to speak briefly about their upbringing, their talent, and why their project should be chosen as the winner. In response, the judges all lent their creative expertise and provided the participants with positive reinforcement and constructive feedback on how they could take their ideas and talents further.

Despite the overwhelming creativity and thoughtfulness demonstrated in each pitch, there could only be one winner for each category. After some deliberation by the judges, Ausar Bradley won the music category, Dorothy Lawes won for fashion and Sage Guillory won art. We caught up with all three of these rising young talents to find out what they took away from the experience of being in Elevator Pitch, and how they each plan to grow from it. 

AUSAR BRADLEY, 25, RAPPER, CHICAGO, IL

Ausar Bradley Elevator Pitch Music
Image viaRebecca ‘Bexx’ Francois

When did you realize you had musical talent, and what inspired you to take it seriously enough to pursue it?

I’d been interested and involved in music for basically my entire life. However, it wasn’t until I got to college that I decided to pursue music as a career. I joined an organization called WORD and after performing in one of their semesterly concerts, the response I received gave me the confidence to really put my time and effort into honing my craft.

What have been the highs and lows of being a creative person?

Art has opened the doors to some amazing opportunities for me. It has also given me an emotional outlet for things I would otherwise have a very hard time talking about. I think that release is probably the most rewarding part of the process. In addition to making things that resonate with the people around me and affecting the lives of others that take the time to listen.

It can also be daunting to be vulnerable. To make something that expresses your true emotions that are then subjugated to the opinions of others can be a stressful process. It can also cause you to second guess your own ability and process as well. Getting out of your own head is something I think every creative has had to do at one point or another.

What was it like participating in Pigeons & Planes’ Elevator Pitch? What did you learn?

Sprite’s Elevator Pitch experience was great! I think it gave me a real opportunity to delve deeper into some ideas that I had otherwise been putting off as passing thoughts. I think it taught me to leave no stone unturned when it comes to dreaming big.

DOROTHY LAWES, 19, FASHION DESIGNER, BROOKLYN, NY

dorothy-lawes-elevator-pitch-fashion
Image via Rebecca ‘Bexx’ Francois

When did you realize you had a knack for fashion design?

I realized I had a talent for fashion design when I would create the craziest sketches and people would ask me when was I going to make them into wearable pieces. I’ve always been sacred with my work, so when my work started to get recognized by the people around me, that’s when I started to realize that I must be good at what I’m doing for people to want me to turn these sketches into actual clothes.
 

Was there any advice from the judges that resonated with you?

One of the judges told me to incorporate friends in areas of need with this project. That resonated with me because most of my friends have an art background, so I know they may have things I may need for my project, and I might have things they may need when starting their own project.

What was it like participating in Pigeons & Planes’  Elevator Pitch? What did you learn?

Participating in Elevator Pitch was amazing! I love that I was able to pitch my ideas to industry professionals who used to be in my shoes and have experienced most of the things I’ve experienced as a young Black artist. I learned that no idea is too far, each of the judges are creatives who had to start somewhere, and now they’re where they want to be. I’m at my starting point, but I’ll soon be where I want to be.


SAGE GUILLORY, 29, VISUAL ARTIST, ATLANTA, GA

Sage Guillory Elevator Pitch Art Winner
Image via Rebecca ‘Bexx’ Francois

When did you realize you had artistic talent, and what inspired you to pursue it as a career?

When I was in kindergarten, the teacher took a random drawing I did in class and put it on the cover of the graduation program. From then on I knew I had a talent and I wanted to continue to get better at it.

Do you have any personal takeaways from participating in Pigeons and Planes’ Elevator Pitch that you’ll implement into your creative process and career moving forward?

Elevator Pitch was a great experience. Moving forward, I won’t hold back when thinking of ideas/concepts. A lot of my ideas don’t really make it to the planning phase because I sometimes feel like they’re too big or I question how I’ll make it happen. Going forward, I’ll work on them until I can see all the pieces I need to see it through.

What’s next for you in your professional life now that you have this experience under your belt?

I want to pitch more; whether it’s to brands or investors. I also want to think even bigger. When preparing for this pitch, I had to do a lot of research to figure out how to bring it to life if given the opportunity, which has me thinking about other ideas I have that I haven’t explored thoroughly enough.

 

To learn more about each of the winners or Elevator Pitch, click here