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  • Sarah Smith Warren

Illuminating Each Other

Updated: Apr 21, 2022

The title of this month's article is Illuminating Each Other and I can't think of anyone else who has "illuminated" me besides these two women. I met Ashley and Amber way back in our home state of rural North Dakota. Their mom was in my college acting course and she told me I'd love her sweet daughters and she was right. As so many love stories begin, Ashley and I found our soul mates in each other through the theatre. There is something so intoxicatingly energetic and beautiful about theatre people. They are instant and forever family. As our lives grew and changed and moved and transformed, we brought each other along...not along in the physical sense, as we were in opposite parts of the country, but we brought along each other for the emotional and transformational journey of our lives. I was there during break ups and she was there during the loss of my son. I was there during audition rejections, to remind her how incredibly beautiful and gifted she was, and she was there for me during career changes to remind me how strong and positive I was. I recently heard Brené Brown explain how she talks to her children about friendship:

“In your hand is your flame. It’s your soul. It’s your light. You need to surround yourself with friends who, when your light is shining bright, don’t feel the need to blow it out.”

We illuminated each other, by seeing each other and working to each keep our lights shining bright. That is exactly what Ashley and Amber created with their business Afterglow, a new model of business that delights in the light of others, that works to tell stories with compassion and empathy, to treat each others with respect, honesty and integrity.

Surround yourself with friends, family, work, businesses, products that don't feel the need to blow our your light.

Lets illuminate each other.

Illuminating Each Other

When we decided to start our own company, we sat down in our home office (aka our kitchen table) with a bottle of wine and a blank white board. We began by writing all of the positive attributes we wanted to have as Afterglow Productions, and what was important to us not only as a company, but as women hoping to make the world a little bit better.

When we began this Afterglow brainstorm, the two of us had been grinding in the entertainment industry for a combined 25 years. We had a lot of experience in our field and it was a bit painful to reflect on how many of our previous employers led with fear and scarcity. Words that stuck out on our white board that day were community, optimism, love and kindness. It started to become clear that one of our goals as a female led company was to try a different approach as employers and focus on inspiring and uplifting others. We wanted to lead from a place of love.

Fortunately, the industry has been shifting and we are seeing more women creating content, producing, directing, and successfully running their own production companies. It became clear that starting Afterglow was our way to start raising up some of the women that WE wanted to work with and hear stories from. That was when our mission statement was born:

We illuminate content and creators who

incite optimism, inspire imagination and ignite the heart.

Once we put Afterglow Productions out into the world, we had an outpouring of guidance and support from some incredible people we’ve met along our journey in the entertainment industry. We found ourselves constantly in awe of how quick people were to help us succeed (from friends of friends to fellow business owners we were just meeting) and felt even more sure of our mission to lead with the same kindness we were being shown.

While the support has come from all around us, we quite literally would not be where we are today without the support of some amazing women. Our first few gigs came from women we had worked with previously…who referred us to other women…who then referred us to other women. We felt immense gratitude to this community of ladies who said, “we got you”. To be able to watch our circle of support from women grow, and to share it with other women in our industry, has been one of our greatest joys so far!

Starting Afterglow Productions has been the most challenging yet rewarding adventure two sisters and friends could have embarked on together. Recently we had the joy of hosting an event to celebrate the women of Afterglow Productions - those who work with us, support us, and empower us - and afterwards we thought about that moment in our old kitchen office and those words scribbled on the whiteboard. We ARE creating that community we strived for, filled with joy and support for one another, and we’re basking in the afterglow.

Follow Afterglow Productions or visit them online at

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