Shahadi Wright Joseph
Shahadi Wright Joseph: Using Her Voice For The Greater Good
Starring in the recently released Amazon Prime series, THEM, Shahadi Wright Joseph spoke with us at BELLO about her time filming, her fears, her rise, and more. Her performance in the show was a taste of what this truly talented actress can do! Drawn to the uniqueness of the storyline, she wanted to be part of something that was, as she put it, “authentic.” Through her work, the young actress is able to promote change by having a voice, a platform, spreading awareness as we make our way to true change and progress. Shahadi Wright Joseph blows us away and we have no doubt that she will continue to do so!
Share with us your experience on “Them.” What was your favorite scene to shoot and why?
My experience shooting “Them” was very authentic. We as actors really shared the bond that made the Emory family believable. My favorite moment was the car scene when the Emory’s first arrive in Compton because that was the first scene where the audience is introduced to the Emory’s family dynamic. It was beautiful to watch as well.
How did you hear of the role? What kind of prep did you do for your audition?
My agent sent me the sides for the audition and I was immediately intrigued. Before booking the role, I did some research about the lifestyle of Compton during the 50s; including fashion, dialect, culture, etc.
Why were you drawn to the role in the first place? How did your love for the show grow as you started filming?
I was drawn to the role because I hadn’t seen anything like it on other platforms. Horror that takes place in the Jim Crow era is guaranteed to be absolutely terrifying, so it was very interesting to read.
If you could go back to any scene which would you go to and why?
I would go back to the scene where Ruby finally confronts Doris in the school bathroom because it was satisfying to see Ruby stand up for herself.
Growing up, what would scare you the most? How do you overcome fear?
Growing up, I had (and still have) an extremely vivid imagination. A lot of things would scare me… cartoon characters, Santa Clause inflatable decorations, the song “Thriller”, and even the fizz of soda at one point (lol). eventually grow out of those fears which makes it a little bit ironic that I used to be scared of everything, and now I’m scaring everyone else. Lol!
Tell us more about your other projects. What are some of your top favorites to date and why?
My first film project, Jordan Peele’s “Us” will always be a favorite of mine because it really made me fall in love with the horror genre. My second film, “The Lion King” will always be dear to my heart because I previously played “Young Nala” on Broadway as well. So, I feel a deep connection with that show and the character.
Share with us a story in which you faced/ witnessed hate and intolerance. How did you overcome it? Inn what ways can we as a society help move forward towards more acceptance and real change?
I was introduced to discrimination while on the set of one of my earlier projects where I was accused of stealing. It was actually said as a joke, so it was more confusing for me until I understood the racial undertones involved. It turns out it the item was misplaced by the accuser and as a result production released them from the project. That was the first time I ever personally experienced discrimination, although I was aware of it in other cases. I think that was the first time I understood the term “microagression”. As a society, I think one way to move forward towards change is to use whatever privileges we have for good, and spread awareness about racial and social issues that can spark healthy dialogue.
Tell us more about your family and the lessons they raised with you. What is a memory that left a strong impact on you?
My family has always told me to live in my greatness and to remember that my projects and personal success are specific to me. I’m not in this industry to compete with anyone else, but to manifest my own career. They also always tell me to visualize my successes so I can manifest everything that I do.
Where do you hope to be in five years?
In five years, I hope to be fresh out of college and working full time as a successful actor/writer. I also hope to be acknowledged for my work with an award or two along the way while remaining happy with family and healthy relationships.
Talent SHAHADI WRIGHT JOSEPH @shahadi
Photographer MICHAEL CREAGH @michaelcreagh
Photographer Assistant FELICIA ABBAN @abban_felicia
Set designer KELSEY HANNAH WALSH @KelseyHannahWalsh
Fashion Stylist & Creative Director MICKEY FREEMAN @mickeyboooom
Hair CHERYL BERGAMY @cheryltbergamyhair for Exclusive Artists using Contents Haircare
Makeup ANDREA FAIRWEATHER @fairweatherfaces
Interview ALEXANDRA BONNET @alexbonnetwrites
Production @BELLOmediagroup x @maisonpriveepr_la x @alexbonnetwrites