Jesse Ayala

Authentically Us

Authentically Us: Voices from the Transgender Community is a three part virtual series about transgender people living in the American northwest. Their narratives relay the three key ideas; that transgender people should be able to live and work anywhere, and that transgender people have always been part of our communities.  The films were produced in partnership with Oculus VR for Good and Pride Foundation. The films have premiered and screened at over 10+ film festivals including Tribeca, SXSW, Cannes, The American Film Institute Docs, and Sheffield Doc/Fest. 


Media Kit


filmmaker / writer





Direct violence and discriminatory legislation against the transgender community continues to rise at a time when transgender visibility in pop culture continues to break glass ceilings. Step into the lives of three transgender people in the American northwest who are living authentically and taking action to make our communities safer and more prosperous for all.

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AIDEN CRAWFORD, a Two-Spirit artist and historian in Boise, Idaho, struggles to preserve and revive his heritage in intergenerational struggle to learn, educate, and pass down the wisdom of his First Nations Two Spirit elders.

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SHANNON SCOTT driven by the military tenet of “Leave No One Behind,” pulls the levers of democracy urging freedom and justice for all be secured from the marbled halls of Washington D.C. to the hallowed ground of those who championed equality before her.  

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ACTON SEIBEL is a normal guy who came home to Missoula, Montana to transition. As a transgender person of color working in a traditionally masculine industry as a mechanic, he challenges us to see beyond politics, seeing the value he adds to our communities. 

A Beautiful Victorye

“A Beautiful Victorye," a pop screenplay that tells the story of Arab icon, CIA villain, and father of Pan-Arabism: the notorious and incendiary Gamel Abdel Nasser. Set to the music of Kanye West's eight studio albums. Taking cues from the original cover artist George Condo's concept of Artificial Realism, the visual and literary themes touch on this motif.


creative concept  / art direction / strategy & planning / script writing




Driven by the fight for respect and power, the undertones of Kanye West's eight albums parallel the movement of Egypt's second elected president, Gamal Abdel Nasser. The arch of the albums and biography match creating from a fantasy a reality in the spotlight and power on a global stage.  A parable about the trappings cost of power in a world ruled by kings.  Adjusted lyrics more accurately move the plot along in this bio-pic.


Interested in The Beautiful Victory? Click below to get in contact to learn more.


A portrait series of humans coexisting in East and West Jerusalem. Splintered by regional and body politics in one of the world's most unique cities teetering on the brink, the personalities that occupy this space are truly one-of-a-kind.


design / art direction / interview 


Clinton Health Access Initiative

Project 40/40 is an awareness and fundraising campaign for the Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative, now the Clinton Health Access Initiative. Through a combination of incremental, individual donations and group fundraising efforts, Project 40/40 seeks to partner University of Wisconsin-Madison's 40,000 student population with 40,000 HIV+ Ugandans in need of finance for their AIDS medication. 

Ayala was a co-Founder and director.

WEBSITE (defunct) 


branding / strategy & planning / project management / design 

Earth Month 2015 is a awareness pop-up campaign to raise awareness about the impact of fashion and apparel industries on climate change. Through a series of events, social media engagement, blogging and organizing, serves as the central hub of information and access to new consumer channels as part of the move towards a more conscious economy. The campaign is a cross-collaboration between 15+ social good companies.

Ayala is the lead designer of the multi-brand campaign's website and branding. 



creative concept / design / art direction / ux + ui design / branding / e-commerce integration / project management


Emory International Global Health Case Competition

Emory International Global Health Case Competition: Opportunities & Minefields in Sri Lanka Advisory CanAid proposal for post-conflict health and development strategy for Sri Lanka. 2012 proposal winner of the Emory International Global Health Case Competition. The competition seeks to draw out creativity and innovation in addressing complex and critical global health challenges.

Completed in partnership with Emory University, Ben Gurion University, and The Medical School for International Health.



design / art direction / risk assessment 


First place prize for Video Stream Competition



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Sex in a dictator's beachside palace. Hash in a horse-drawn carriage. Expats. is an unfiltered coming-of-age mini-series of American escapades abroad. Fictionalized episodes inspired by the experiences youthful American in new unfamiliar and inflamed settings. 


creative concept  / art direction / strategy & planning 




Expats takes a fictionalized look at the coming-of-age adventures of living abroad in the character's early 20s.  Send abroad for a gap year, college study or language immersion - the experiences in a developing country create a culture of vice without repercussion. Our protagonists come from all over the western world - representing archetypes while coming to terms with who they are as individuals. Through pleasure and pain they learn about privilege through countless episodes of breaking the rules. 

Set in the Middle East, Expats confronts cultural differences head on, with moments of discomfort opening up conversations on what it means to be human. This is a 10 episode series.



Interested in Expats.? Click below to get in contact to learn more. 

Fovrth Studios

Fovrth Studios is a production studio specializing in documentary and immersive storytelling based in New York City. Clients include; Oculus, UNICEF, UNHCR, Global Citizen, TechCrunch, VICE, Future of Storytelling, Al Jazeera, The New York Times, Girls Got IT, among others. 

Ayala is the co-founder and creative director at Fovrth Studios.


Fovrth Blog


creative director / filmmaker / business development




In recent years, visual media has blurred the lines of entertainment, news, and advertising, often rolling them into a single dynamic piece. We specialize in the intersection of these three influences with the stories we produce. 


Frontline Conflict Reporting 

Independent frontline photojournalist on location during the Arab Spring all over the Middle East. Stationed between Cairo, Jerusalem and Beirut - documenting political and social upheaval. Contributing to Jerusalem Post, Al Jazeera, BBC, and


photography / video / risk assessment 


Immigrant Voices

#ImmigrantVoices is a two-part campaign amplifying under-represented voices in American pop culture. In Part One, we step into a world of dance and spoken-word, as artist Brad Geyer explores what it means to be American and how symbols and words matter in these turbulent times. In Part Two, we hop onto Liberty Island where musician KAYE takes us through how she reclaims racially-charged imagery of Asian-Americans in American pop culture.




On set in New York City’s Battery Park, poet Brad Geyer and acclaimed choreographer Ashlé Dawson join forces to tell immigrant stories through the arts of spoken word and dance. Historically, Battery Park was one of the primary ports to receive immigrants after processing in the famed Ellis Island. Immigration has become a hot-button issue in the United States, leaving vulnerable communities targeted, marginalized, and fearful for their families’ futures. Together Geyer’s words and Dawson’s choreography tell an emotional story of what it means to be American in a changing America.

Geyer’s poem “Lady Liberty’s Lamp” highlights the importance of the Statue of Liberty as a beacon of openness and hope. The poem reflects on recent political developments, edging the United States into isolation, and the impact on America’s collective identity.

Choreographer Ashlé Dawson worked with 17 dancers to create an interpretive dance based on Geyer’s words. The troupe included dancers from across the world, including Puerto Rico, India, Denmark, and many more — a perfect compliment to piece that celebrates diversity. Originally choreographed for a traditional stage, the number was re-worked to fit the 360 medium.




Bamboo, a song and performance by KAYE, the unabashed pop singer focused on breaking the ‘bamboo ceiling’ in American music. To Kaye, and many minority groups, having cultural influencers that look like them solidifies a sense of place and acceptance in America.

It brings me great pride to share a new song and video that means a lot to me, ‘Bamboo.’ I wrote it for #ImmigrantVoices, a 360 video campaign for Global Citizen. As we’ve seen from the events of Charlottesville and too many others, we are living in a time where many passionately want to eradicate anyone who isn’t white. It’s easy to fear what we don’t know or see, so us POC [people of color] must raise our voices and fight to be represented however we can — through music, art and through open conversation. — singer/songwriter Charlene Kaye

Kaye’s song Bamboo, now available on Spotify, morphs social commentary into pop lyrics. The song jabs at the efforts to mask Asian talent as more palatable with skin bleaching and augmentation to the commodification of Asian women as accessories. With each lyric, the song explores the endless list of ways in which American culture ‘others’ Asian aesthetics and talents and how artists like Kaye refuse to be silenced any longer.

We sat down with KAYE to reflect on the importance of making such a bold piece during these times.

“I haven’t heard very many pop songs specifically about Asian American pride and the small micro-aggressions we face every day — getting told “Ni Hao” on the street, getting asked where we’re REALLY from, etc etc…so when Global Citizen asked me to write one for this series, I jumped at the chance. I hope it resonates with girls of color everywhere and helps them embrace their sexuality, fun and fearlessness. Thank you to the wonderful team at Global Citizen and FOVRTH.” — singer/songwriter Charlene Kaye

A core tenet of the #ImmigrantVoices campaign is the reclamation of space and symbols. With that charge, we shot on location at New York’s Statue of Liberty, Times Square and Chinatown neighborhood, representing immigration, pop culture, and Asian culture respectively.



PART 1 TALENT:  Brad Geyer, Spoken Word Artist | Ashlé Dawson, Choreographer | Dancers: Marisa Mazzeo, Gabriela J Mazzocco, Stephany Lockhart, Diana Julcapoma, Nataly Santiago, Laura Torres, Maya Wasserman, Lawanda Hopkins, Aniyah Wilson, Mariana Herrera, Cristal Del Mar Lopez, Ashley Stafford, Simón Lambert, Santino Manocchio, Brian Poniatowski, Nile Bullock, and Parth Sethi

PART 2 TALENT: KAYE, performer | Jadee Nikita, Choreography | Lara de Bruijn, Costume Design | Liann Kaye, Producer | Dancers: Karin Tatsuoka and Saki Takahashi

CREATIVE: Fovrth Studios | Jesse Ayala, Director + Director of Photography | Connor Lonning, Producer + Post-Production Supervisor |Tony Ayala, Associate Producer + Video Editor |Anna Therese Day, Executive Producer

NON-PROFIT: Global Citizen | Rachel Moreno, Global Marketing Director |Liann Kaye, Head of Video | Hans Glick, Video Producer


Modavanti is the destination for conscious commerce. Curating over 150 brands, Modavanti's mission it to make it easy to shop responsibly - taking into consideration social good, the environment and ethical labor - without compromising on aesthetics and quality design. Modavanti currently offers women's, men's, beauty and lifestyle products from all over the world.  

Modavanti approaches both the fashion industry and the sustainable fashion movement as a constructive voice for social entrepreneurship, including Modavanti’s commitment to a Triple Bottom Line. Modavanti defines this principle through its core values of People, Planet and Profit, and thus, in addition to ethically-sourced and eco-friendly product, a percentage of each purchase goes towards Modavanti’s charity partners helping move fashion forward. 

Ayala is the co-founder and creative director at Modavanti.



art direction / graphic design / branding / e-commerce integration / strategy & planning / pop-up shop / strategic partnerships + collaborations / photography / project management


  • InStyle Digi Award Best of Web 2013

  • Huffington Post What's Working in America 2012 Award

  • Ethical Fashion Forum member 


Refinery29 /  WWD / TechCrunch / Huffington Post / Mic / InStyle / The Today Show / Mashable / A Green Beauty / WearNoEvil / ManRepeller / Row+Rue / 




Conscious fashion is an emerging market with an explosion of product offerings expanding in the 2010s. Merchandising a store where a visual is as important as the manufacturing story provides challenges and opportunities expressed through the Modavanti experience. To have the largest impact, our aesthetic is informed by the wider fashion forward community with easy access products in a departments.




The Modavanti brand has undergone two major changes to it aesthetic and messaging. Modavanti means 'fashion forward.' We attempted to use this phrase as a subtitle, however found it was more valuable in the phrase 'moving fashion forward.' To more directly state the brand identity we evolved the tagline from 'sustainable fashion' to 'life, consciously styled.' 





In developing our merchandising aesthetic, the site blueprints needed to account for two primary objective: a) intermixing of merchandise, 2) communicating  individual brand and product stories. The solution we developed uses multiple access points to products, brands, and sustainability with differing hierarchical placement across pages. This department shop page displays a mix of gateway images pushing brands,  styled curations, product categories.

The look book portal below was designed as an opportunity to shop by mood photography direct from the individualized brands. Each tells an individual story of the brand's development in the current season.



Each product on Modavanti takes consideration for human rights and the environment in their design and manufacturing.  Made in USA is on of eight conscious standards consumers can shop by. 


Row + Rue

Row+Rue is your guide on all things conscious culture — showcasing the latest styles from the street to the runway, the best do-good celebrities, the healthiest and easiest fashion and beauty tricks, the latest news on human rights and climate change, the top industry insights on ethical fashion and above all how to do it all without exhausting yourself. Our team of editors and writers put together a daily dose of conscious content with you, our readers, in mind. 

Row+Rue expands beyond just the shopping experience, providing a more rounded view of conscious culture. Let us help you bridge the gap between life from the pages of high-gloss magazines, to you, wherever you are, with the magic of the internet. 



content creation / art direction / video & editing / design / branding / ux + ui design / e-commerce integration / strategy & planning / project management




Image selection paints a picture of desire and attainment. Row+Rue captures pop (conscious) culture through color, texture, and attitude. 





More than ever celebrities and influencers are wearing designs that are conscious from the red carpet to street style. 

In addition to style, celebrities are shaping culture and consumerism with new products, brands and partnerships that advance sustainability on all fronts. 

The image heavy page promotes celebrity activity on both fronts. 



Product integration transforms Row+Rue into a content driven commerce platform. Product placement comes in the form of editorial, curatorial, and influencer driven. This makes Row+Rue the central figure in new and established conscious fashion. Every product has an individualized product information page that qualifies its ethical and/or environmental attributes.



Partnering with influencers on the style and sustainability front helps our audience understand at deeper levels the driving forces behind their actions. Through interviews, written and video, you see a more human side of those involve in conscious culture. 


Teach For America 

Ayala served as teacher for Teach for America in New Orleans where he taught at the Priestley School of Architecture & Design - a design-build charter school in born in the wake of Hurricane Katrina's destruction. With a staff of professional architects, urban planners, conventional educators, and Teach for America corps members, the school's mission was to develop a generation of New Orleanians committed to the city's architectural preservation and smart design moving forward.

Ayala taught grades 9, 10, and 11 mathematics, economics, and social studies. 



classroom instruction / strategy & planning / project management 


OUR BUILDING (Pre-Displacement) 


Images courtesy of Patrick Rhodes

NYFW X Tommy Hilfiger

Mixed media runway photographer for Tommy Hilfiger Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Runway Show documenting new trends in photography in collaboration with InstaMeet.



photography / editing / social media

The Awakening 

"The Awakening" is a hip-hopera set in 1970s war-torn Uganda to the music of Rihanna's Good Girl Gone Bad LP. The multi-generational cast highlight experiences and motives in a time of war. Original stage production in 2010. 

WEBSITE (defunct)


art direction / stage production / costume & set design  





Each of the 15 songs on Rihanna's Good Girl Gone Bad LP correspond with a plot development and musical number in the musical. Lyrics are adjusted to move the plot along. 


Interested in presenting or funding a production of The Awakening Musical? Click below to get in contact to learn more


United Nations Special Convoy To the Gaza Strip 

Delegate as part of 35-member multi-national United Nations Special Convoy to the Gaza Strip in June 2009. The convoy's mission was to survey and document the state of private and public infrastructure in the aftermath of the 2009 Israeli Military Operation Cast Lead. As the first outside foreign delegation to pass through the Hamas controlled border, we conducted interviews and site visits to medical infrastructure, UNRWA facilities, tunnel economy, refugee camps, harbor and agricultural zones. 



risk assessment / photography 



The Rafah Border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, operated by HAMAS - the governing body in the Gaza Strip.


Residential and commercial structures in Rafah, a highly targeted location in Gaza as it built over the Rafah tunnel network into Egypt. 


The Gaza seaport. Lacking access to deep Mediterranean waters, the region is barred from commercial trade through this port and over-saturation of fishing boats has devastated this natural resource. 

Street art commemorating the former leader of the Palestinian resistance and government Yasser Arafat.  


Children fenced off by barbed wire in Gaza's inefficient agricultural zones, near the Israeli separation barrier. 


Pro-resistance street art in Gaza City.

Year Of The Youth

Year of The Youth aims to document and survey the youth å on and participation in the developing revolutionary movements across the Arab world as part of the Arab Spring. The challenges they face and the plans they devise reflect their notions of democracy, justice, and opportunity. In a matter of months six countries erupted in revolution- these are their stories.

WEBSITE (defunct


creative concept / project management / video / photography 




One of the many interview subjects. His story, like many others, changed when he opened his eyes to the world around him. For him there was no turning back. Interview on location in Tahrir Square, 2011 with correspondent Anna Therese Day.