Last fall, Ford Modeling agency supermodel-turned film and TV producer/writer Datari Turner reached out to award winning actor Tobias Truvillion to gauge his interest in his forthcoming film (initially titled) ‘No Black Girls Please.’ (Turner later adopted the film title ‘Supermodel.’) The groundbreaking narrative chronicles the professional modeling experience from a black woman’s perspective.
(The cast includes Tyson Beckford, Sessilee Lopez, Datari Turner, Tobias Truvillion, Roger Guenveur Smith, Fat Joe, Toccara Jones, Angela Simmons, Marc John Jefferies, Tatyana Ali, Julito McCullum, et al.)
“When Datari called me about the role, before he even divulged any details, I was already onboard,” said Tobias, an ex-Ford Modeling agency model who was on the Ford roster at the same time as Turner. “We came up in the industry together. He’s always been a hard working visionary. I told Datari I’d definitely support him, and the next week I was on set."
The storyline pursues “Chloe,” an aspiring model from Brooklyn (played by real life supermodel Sessilee Lopez). Chloe becomes unwavering in her principled objection to the industry’s status quo, and surmounts the trails and tribulations of being a burgeoning black model. Although the film focuses on the challenges of a rising black female model, Tobias, who plays Detective Jacobs, says he can assimilate to the lead character’s struggles.
“The film is loosely based on Datari’s experiences and observations during his tenure as a top model, which I definitely relate to,” says Tobias. “The reason I transitioned from modeling to acting was because there were few opportunities for black talent such as myself. At a panel discussion, after Supermodel’s world premiere at the American Black Film Festival (June 14), Tyson [Beckford] spoke about how he and Naomi [Campbell] blazed a trail, yet today the lack of opportunities for African American models are still minimal.”
During the discussion, the film’s director and co-writer, Shawn Baker, said his vision for ‘Supermodel’ is for the project to go from a TV film to a scripted series.
“It’s a positive film that raises questions about equality, and teaches young brown girls what to expect if they decide to pursue a modeling career,” says Tobias. “I definitely applaud Datari and Shawn for telling such a powerful story that needed to be told.”