Desiree Kennedy

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Desiree Kennedy

www.desireekennedy.com

Desiree is extremely skilled and resourceful, from estimating to actualizing. She has built solid relationships with her vendors from Model Agents, Location Scouts, Hair/Makeup/Stylists, Caterers, CGI houses, Retouchers, etc., all providing great assistance to her successful productions. Her client list covers all genres of photography; fashion, beauty, lifestyle, celebrity, food and still life.

Desiree energetically takes on all projects, big, small, studio and location with great enthusiasm and professionalism. From campaign launches, multiple campaign shoots, one time projects or coordination of a photo shoot, each project is managed with attention to the smallest detail. Her experience has taken her many places, working with a variety of personalities and when presented with challenges, she has the ability to think creatively and implement the solutions.

Casting relatable, real people seems to be a trend over the last few years, how do you see 2017? What type of models are the big brands casting this year?

I can speak from what I see since lately my work has been more government based.

I see that the pharma, retail and the beauty industries are seeking out “real” people.  I think the popularity of reality TV has made advertisers seek out folks that their customers can relate to (but also aspire to be). In the past few years they have been becoming “braver” in their casting.  You are seeing more same sex couples, more interracial couples, and people with disabilities.

Why do you think that audiences are more engaged with imagery with real people in? Are they more emotive?

Like I mentioned, folks would like to see talent that they can relate to but it is also important that they be a source of aspiration.  I think that is why many Food Network chefs are so popular, the “average Joe/Jane” can relate to them and also would love to be their friend, get together and cook, entertain, have fun.  

We love the Beauty on Your Own Terms advert by Dove, what adverts stand out for you that carry these traits?

Honey Maid Graham Crackers (the campaign featuring all kinds of families) and I really like the “Dancing Dads” Cheerios campaign.

We can see from your site that you work with some fantastic clients, what was the stand out project for you and your team in 2016?

My work with the NYC Deptartment of Health & Mental Hygiene, first and foremost the “Play Sure”/”Stay Sure” campaign. 

This is the safe sex/sexual health campaign that is the baby of the Assistant Commissioner. It focuses on safe sex, HIV drugs and PrEP.  I have been dispatched to cast openly gay, openly HIV+ (gay & cis gender people), Transgender women & men and the usual straight cis gender folks.  Truth in advertising is extremely important to them.  If we identify someone as taking HIV drugs, one or both folks in that ad are HIV+, if we show two men in an intimate embrace, they both identify as gay (the Department of Health likes me to use the term MSM which means “men who have sex with men”). We have shot many well known Trans women & men, Carmen Carrera, Isis King, Laith Ashley, Peche Di, Tiq Milan, Jonovia Chase and Seven King, some who are well known in and outside of the LGBT community.  I have developed strong ties in the Trans community and I laugh when I put out a casting call and cis women respond stating “I can play Trans”.  Um no thank you.

Many of these jobs, I reach out to the community and various community based organizations.  There are so many folks out there who are advocates and are very open with their sexual preference and HIV status.  When I first started these castings, it was easy finding out MSM and MSM HIV+.  Then they hit me with “we want Laverne Cox” and “we need 8 female to male Trans”, “we really want an HIV+ Trans woman of color”. Not easy at first, but the more of these campaigns we do, the more high profile they have become and these people seek me out to be considered.

What’s on the cards for 2017?

I just wrapped and it launched immediately the Naloxone campaign.  Naloxone is a drug that revives people from opioid overdose.  Opioid addiction is rampant in America.  The NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene has Naloxone kits that they give out for free along with free training on how to use it.  They wanted me to find people who saved a friend or loved one with it. NOT a professional i.e. Doctor, Nurse, EMT or Police.  They wanted personal stories.  I reached out to 60 Community Based Organizations listed on the NYCDOH website and also reached out to various support groups like Narc-Anon.

I heard some unsettling stories, I met people who came thru in a life and death situation that changed them and the person they saved for better or for worse.

I also just wrapped a campaign for a hospital featuring real pregnant women and newborn babies as young a 13 weeks!

I do enjoy the challenges of these projects and I am always thinking “what else will they throw at me?”

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About Author

My job is to make sure everything runs smoothly, from image ingestion and video production to partner distribution. I project manage the development of our submission processes and streamline technical workflows. I have a BA (Hons) in photography, over 10 years industry experience and a penchant for taxonomy. I’m also on hand if our contributors have contractual or legal questions, need technical assistance or system support

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