Last night, the American Black Film Festival featured the world premiere of “Supermodel” along with a Q&A with the cast.
Supermodel follows the story of a brookyln native who goes from rags to riches by becoming a supermodel, but even after escaping her impoverished life, she realizes that all that glitters is not gold. Co-written and directed by Shawn Baker, Supermodel stars Tyson Beckford, Sessilee Lopez, Datari Turn (who also co-wrote the film), Angela Simmons, Marc John Jefferies, Fat Joe, Toccara, Angela Yee, Jennifer Williams and many more. After the world premier, the cast discussed how the film was under production up until four weeks before the festival and how they rushed to get it finished in time and it may even see more edits before hitting television. Director Shawn Baker spoke about the film’s inception and how Datari approached him at Applebees with a story asking him to help write the script. Shawn was so inspired by the plot that he wrote the script in under two weeks. Datari’s experience of the fashion industry helped inform the script and they discussed how maintaining authenticity was their key goal. What was so groundbreaking about Supermodels is that no other film has chronicled the modeling experience from a black woman’s perspective.
When asked why they portrayed the story the way did, Shawn and Datari explained that is was important to show how this girl, who was rising through the industry, had to juggle her mom and father not being around along with the success of her career. It was important for the writers and director to portray the contrast and reality of this model’s life who was not only experiencing glitz and glamour, but was simultaneously coping with her home life as well.
When asked what the director had in store for the film, Shawn answered that he hopes Supermodel will go from a tv movie to a scripted series. He said he envisions it as Empire, but in the fashion world. They also discussed how segregated the fashion industry is and how there is still a void of black representation in mainstream fashion and magazines.