In Their Shoes: 'Equity' Producers Alysia Reiner and Sarah Megan Thomas
The ladies behind the new female-centric production company Broad Street open up about their go-to kicks while attending this year's Sundance festival.
The buzz has been fierce at Sundance Film Festival and beyond about Equity — the first Wall Street film with a female lead — which has already won the Creative Coalition Spotlight Award. Picked up by Sony Pictures Classics for worldwide distribution, the film was produced by Orange Is the New Black actress Alysia Reiner and Sarah Megan Thomas under their new shingle, Broad Street Pictures.
The duo founded their production company in 2015 with the aim of creating entertaining and thought-provoking movies or, in their words, "wildly entertaining tales about brilliant women doing rad things" which also employ women both in front of and behind the camera.
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Equity stars two-time Emmy Award-winner Anna Gunn as an investment banker fighting to get a promotion as she leads a controversial tech IPO at her firm in a post-financial crisis world.
We caught up with Reiner and Thomas, who also appear in the film, at Sundance to delve a little more deeply into their footwear choices both on the red carpet — where they'll surely be spending plenty of time in the next few months — and off. Their shoe wardrobe, as you will see, reveals all.
What are your favorite pair of shoes of all time?
Megan Thomas: I have these black, Stuart Weitzman boots that are suede, tight up to the knee — not over-the-knee. They have about a three-inch heel — I like heels, but I don't like six-inch heels because I am tall and athletic and I like to be comfortable. I have had them for 10 years, they've been to three cobblers, they even had a split up the side that I had re-sewn! They are stylish and cute, but I can walk miles in NYC in them and they fit like a glove. You have to sort of pull them on, like leather pants. They're my everyday go-to dress up shoes.
For events, my favorite shoes are these Prada purple-satin, four-inch, single-sole stilettos they gave me for the premiere of Backwards. Normally I'm pretty traditional with shoes — like black, cream, etc. — but these purple shoes are killer. Also, I have a very narrow foot and Prada fits really well on me.
Reiner: That's really hard because I love shoes so much and picking a favorite would be like picking a favorite child. I have a pair of Prada Mary Janes I got at Loehman's for 90 percent off 15 years ago and they are such classics, they go with everything. They are a high-heeled Mary Jane, round toe with a brownish leather with a tinge of red. They are so classic and go with every dress, they are a piece of art.
BACK TO BLACK: Alysia Reiner wears Sorel booties at the Creative Coalition Spotlight Initiative Awards Gala (left) and at ChefDance Park City. (Photos: Getty Images)
My favorite event shoes are a Hugo Boss black patent-leather bootie with a very thin stiletto heel that I brought with me that I will be wearing this week. I've worn them to countless premieres and red carpets. They sent them to me as a gift seven years ago and they have become a classic. The patent leather has stayed beautiful. I'm a bootie girl. I'm wearing these chunky-heeled Sorels right now, I love these. (Pictured above.)
And, you know, speaking of the psychology of shoes, my husband loves buying me shoes, very high heels, which makes me much taller than him, which says a lot about his psychology. He's not afraid of being with a taller woman and he's not afraid of being with a strong broad — which, of course, brings us to Broad Street!
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Do shoes help you get into character?
Thomas: When I think of a character, I find the character sometimes with the shoes. Because even when you are on stage, it's the type of shoe you are in. Sometimes on the set of Equity, Meera [Menon, director of the film] would say, "Oh, you don't have to wear your shoes because it's a close-up," and I would say, "No, Meera, I have to wear the shoes, because I have to feel the role."
Reiner: I'm the same way. There are a lot of actresses who can wear their Uggs during a scene, and I only do that if they make me do that — like if I'm working with a shorter man and they request me to take off my shoes. Otherwise, I feel the exact same way. A high heel makes you feel different than a non-high heel. I love a high bootie because they are so high but comfortable, so I feel strong and powerful. That's the best.
Why do you think women feel powerful in taller shoes?
Reiner: For me, I am a really tall woman and I am really tall in heels and I feel bigger, and I like being bigger. I think I was a king in a past life.
Thomas: You just do. I am a sneaker girl and wear sneakers 75 percent of the time, but when I put on a heel for work or a meeting, I like the height, I like having long legs, I like how I feel.
What's your favorite go-to sneaker?
Thomas: I'm the type who wears a skirt with sneakers on the way to a meeting on the subway and then changes into other shoes when I get there. I wear Asics, the same one, in the same color — hot pink — every time. My mom finally told me I needed to mix it up and get different sneakers! So I got these gorgeous black-leather sneakers at Intermix in New York. So now I have hot pink and black-leather sneakers!
Reiner: We're the same that way. I have as many pairs of sneakers as I have shoes. I have a new pair in fact from Paragon, where I actually went and got fitted to get a good pair of sneakers for my body and I spent a fair amount of dough on them. They are called Newtons and they're more padded in the front and I love them, they fit so well — hot pink!