Tyra Banks was in one of the first L’il Penny commercials for Nike, beautiful, but heavy maintenance. We had to spend several hours on her hair extensions. They were her ‘look’ at the time. I lit her for the scene and she complained about the lighting without even seeing a monitor. She could ‘feel’ the light. I turned to Curtis, my gaffer and he laughed.
‘Are you going to listen to her?’
‘Let’s just do what she wants.’
‘Are you crazy?’
‘Just take off the muslin. Hit her with hard light.’
Curtis took of the diffusion and she liked what she ‘felt.’ Placation. It didn’t hurt what we were doing. Later she went into her trailer for a touch-up that took two hours.
I worked with her a few more times, another Nike and a Pepsi. Years go by. I’m coming off a flight from England and an attractive black woman says hello to me. I reply and make a little bit of smalltalk. She is met by her driver and walks away. I turn to my producer.
‘I have no idea who that was.’