On The Plus Side is excited to feature an upcoming program that epitomizes our mission—to help change the world’s view on plus-size women and their accomplishments. Curvy Girls Rock is a scripted web series following the lives of plus size women from different walks of life, each one exploring love, sex, careers and relationships.
On The Plus Side caught up with the series’ creator, Shakesha Williams, to find out just why Curvy Girls Rock.
OTPS: Please tell us a little about Shakesha Williams.
Shakesha: I have been in the entertainment business since 2003. I was a publicity intern at Universal Music Group. In 2006, I started Harlem Fusion Enterprises, a entertainment company that produced indie concert series featuring indie artists. In 2009, I was named VP of Publicity for indie record label Ru1 Records. In 2012, I began my film career as a writer, producer and director. In 2016, I wrote and executive produced My Story. The film won Best Screenplay Short at the 2017 Widescreen Film and Music Video Festival, and was screened at the Cameroon International Film Festival in Africa.
OTPS: What inspired you to create the Curvy Girls Rock web series?
Shakesha: I am a huge fan of inspiring television. I loved shows such as Girlfriends and Sex and The City. As a woman, it was easy to identify with the storylines and situations that the characters found themselves in week after week. I love stories about women, and I love to see strong characters. I wrote Curvy Girls Rock with this is mind.
OTPS: What is the mission of Curvy Girls Rock?
Shakesha: As a plus size woman, I always wondered what it would be like to have our bodies on screen. Women size 12 and up are 67% of the population, but only make up two percent of what is represented in film and television. When we are represented, it is as a comic lead, or our sexuality is hidden. I want Curvy Girls Rock to change that narrative. I want the women I see every day that are beautiful and confident, and living like all women: out of the shadows. I want to see plus size women, well dressed and sexy and sexual. The mission is to remove the size from our description, and be thought of as any other woman. We’re beautiful, we’re complicated, we’re ambitious, and we’re real.
OTPS: Tell us about the lead characters, and the actresses who play them?
Shakesha: Jazzy is a plus size blogger played by Naimah Terry. Adrienne is a fashion designer played by Zoe Goslin. Zuri is a museum gallery owner played by Ellisha Marie. Ivy is a singer played by Rasheeda Wallace. Reagan is a divorced single mom played by Andrea Ilene Shapiro.
OTPS: What about the leading men? Who are they, and what should we know about them?
Shakesha: Shane, played by Nathan Ramsey, is Jazzy’s on again off again love. Conroy is played by SJ Hannah, and is a photographer pursuing Zuri. Bo, played by Ahmad Williams, is Ivy’s ex-boyfriend. Bruce, played by Nick Bombicino, is Adrienne’s friend, but desires more than friendship. Dante Sharpe plays Max, the sexy next door neighbor of Reagan. Jazzy’s current love interest is Lawrence, played by Jay Kennedy.
OTPS: When do you anticipate the release of Curvy Girls Rock?
Shakesha: The series will be released in the fall of 2017 online.
OTPS: Will there be an official launch party, or will you depend on word of mouth to promote the release?
Shakesha: There will be an official red carpet premiere and after party to promote the release. The series premieres the following Sunday. We’re also planning a series of live tweet sessions once the series debuts with the cast.
OTPS: What other projects can we look forward to in the future from Harlem Fusion Studios?
Shakesha: We’ll be working on season two of Curvy Girls Rock. as well as several feature film projects. We’re also working on a docuseries that reflects the current social/political climate in the U.S. Our goal is to work with up and coming writers, and creators to create content in new and fascinating ways.
On The Plus Side wants you to know it’s not too late to donate to a great cause. Join the Curvy Girls Rock Web Series crowdfunding initiative. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Harlem Fusion Enterprises will be hosting a series of mixers, as well as panel discussions on body image, women, and diversity in the media.
Tues June 27: Fundraising Mixer @ Iguana NYC, 240 West 54th Street, NYC from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Weds July 12: Fundraising Mixer @ The Delancey Rooftop Lounge, 168 Delancey Street, NYC at 6:00 PM
Curvy Girls Rock: The Cast – What Is Sexy?