The story of African American Madam CJ Walker, who was born in 1867 and first carried the name Sarah Breedlove, and who became a heralded hair product pioneer and entrepreneur – is truly remarkable.
And Netflix has packaged that story in a series entitled; ‘Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker’.
Vincentians here and in the diaspora have an added reason to follow the series, for Vincentian Canadian media personality, Nneka Elliott, daughter of Jacinta Elliot and granddaughter of renowned novelist George C. Thomas, makes her mark in the series, playing a sales agent.
Elliott, resident in Canada, is an award winning TV news personality turned actor and beauty influencer. She has served as president of The Media Huddle, reporter and anchor at News Talk 1010, national weather broadcaster for The Weather Network, weather anchor for CTV news Toronto/ Canada AM, and most notably Reporter/Anchor/Host at CP24 news.
She trained at the Armstrong Acting Studios and Second City Toronto.
Now a beauty specialist on The Marilyn Denis Show, Eliott also writes for CBC Life and Refinery 29 Canada.
She can be recognized in TV/Film roles such as in ‘Shazam’, ‘Designated Survivor’, ‘V-Wars’, ‘Conviction’, ‘Remember’ and now, ‘Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J Walker’.
THE VINCENTIAN quizzed Elliot about her recent Netflix opportunity.
What role did you play?
I played the role of sales agent. Madam C.J Walker who empowered thousands of women to become entrepreneurs in their own right. She trained them, gave them licenses and they sold her products and got a percentage. I played one of these women. Towards the end of the series, we were frustrated by news of a big decision that Madam C.J Walker was about to make. I, as the sales agent, spoke out on behalf of the sales agents.
Tell us, how was it?
Even though I was only in a few scenes, it was still a magical experience. In this business, you come to learn, so there are really no small roles. I always remind myself that Viola Davis won an Oscar after being in one scene in the movie “Doubt”.
I’m no Viola Davis though LOL…at least not yet. I’ve fortunately been on many sets, but never had I been on one where every department head was a black woman! The directors, director of photography, wardrobe, hair…I could go on and on. To see them all working together, calmly, delegating to men, empowering other women. On top of that, I had never seen so many black actors in one place. It was a beautiful thing to see!
What was your most memorable moment?
There were so many, including what I mentioned above. But a key moment had to be when acclaimed director DeMane Davis of ‘Queen Sugar’ and ‘How to Get Away With Murder’ came up to me, squeezed my hand and said, ” I’m so happy to have you. Thank you for being here, I really loved your audition.”
I felt so seen. There were hundreds of people on set that day; there was so much going on. The fact that she could take that time out to say a few words of kindness to me, meant the world!!!
Media, film and television could be tough, any advice to others? (TheVincentian)