How a daughter's question turned into her Mother's business, and recognition from the Black Panther cast
This Women’s History Month, in OTHER NEWS are showing off some of the incredible women and girls on the British shores who are dedicated to increasing the visibility of Black Girl Power! In line with Mother’s Day this Sunday, our first representation of #BlackGirlMagic is Mother and Daughter duo, Selma Nicholls, Founder and Creative Visionary of Talent and Casting Agency Looks Like Me and her princess, Riley-Ann.
Coming from a performance and production background, Selma has easily transferred her skills into her new territory, and the inception of Looks Like Me was birthed out of 3-year old (at the time), Riley-Ann’s questions around not seeing people who looked like her in fashion and advertising. The commercial power of these industries, especially geared towards children, promotes a sea of products but often lacks in the inclusivity of children of colour endorsing them.
"Someone had to present the connection between our children and these phenomenal characters that look like them"
Selma picked up the mantel to be the solution to the problem her toddler raised, and tells us that “Looks Like Me raises the profile of underrepresented groups, illuminating Black and Minority Ethnic children featured in advertising and fashion content due to my daughter questioning her own identity”.
Providing opportunities for children to see themselves in multi-faceted industries is crucial for their cogitative development, and last month, the release of the Marvel and Ryan Coogler remake of the comic book, Black Panther, leveraged the importance of representation in media. In response to this, Selma created a Passion Project titled ‘Hero in us all’.
The campaign was a cast of the next generation of models paying homage to the main characters from the film, while celebrating the regal legacy and cultural heritage of African people. Films are a great imaginative tool and given that Black Panther is the highest grossing Marvel film in its history, what a time to be a person of colour, and better still, a child of colour.
“Looks Like Me raises the profile of underrepresented groups, due to my daughter questioning her own identity”
For Selma, it was imperative that this project happened, “Someone had to present the connection between our children and these phenomenal characters that look like them. I am proud to use my creativity, passion, determination, platform and personal funds to represent the future generation of culture, pride & the hero in us all”.
As Selma upholds the dual role of Casting Director and the talents biggest cheerleader, her relationship with her daughter continues to strengthen, and often found Riley-Ann schooling her, “Riley-Ann teaches me so much, she teaches me things I hadn’t acknowledged in myself. It’s such a wonderful learning experience.” As Riley-Ann sees herself represented more due to her mum’s work, this mother daughter relationship always enables them both to “teach each other to be the best versions of ourselves daily.”
In that pursuit, we can often feel like we have to do everything exponentially but in doing so, we can miss some of life’s most beautiful nuances. One of the most poignant lessons the Looks Like Me journey has taught Selma so far is around timing, “learn to love the process of patience, nothing happens before it’s time”.
Selma will be speaking at The Southbank Centre on Saturday 10th March 2018 as part of the Women of the World series called Mothers of Colour, alongside Afua Hirsch, Leyla Hussein, Sarifa Patel.
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