Creator Shakesha Williams talks about the inspiration for Curvy Girls Rock

Written by Urey Onuoha

There’s something about the friendships on an ensemble TV series like Girlfriends and Sex and the City that is highly appealing and can even be aspirational. But when even your favorites don’t have characters that you can relate to, what do you do? If you’re Shakesha Williams, you create your own.

The new web series, aptly titled Curvy Girls Rock, follows five plus-size women as they explore careers, sex, love, and relationships. The goal of the series, says Williams, is to show that women of all sizes are sexy, desirable, and strong. “I love ensemble TV series…I just always feel that being plus-size is the butt of the joke,” she says. “Women of every size have sex and are beautiful and desirable. We have life partners, lovers, and face the same things that all women do. I want to see those stories played out on screen.”

In addition to casting actors that are actually plus-size, Williams is answering other calls for diversity in entertainment by writing ethnically diverse characters (and casting them appropriately), and heading up a production that is led primarily by women. Williams, who in 2017 won Best Screenplay Short at the Widescreen Film and Music Video Festival for her short film My Story, sheds light on the show, the importance of body positivity, and how she’s overcome challenges she’s faced as a filmmaker.

Q: Tell us a bit about Curvy Girls Rock.

A: Curvy Girls Rock follows the lives of five plus-size women as they explore their careers, sex, love, and relationships. The women — Jazzy, Adrienne, Zuri, Reagan, and Ivy — are all from different walks of life but are connected in some way. The series is amazing. We have a great cast and season one is filled with characters that everyone can relate to. We want to show that women of all sizes are sexy, desirable, and strong. Not that they can be, but that they are.

Q: Why this show? Why is it important?

A: The success of Curvy Girls Rock will show Hollywood that it’s time to cast size diversity in leading roles more often. It will also make it clear to the industry that plus-size women are the majority, not the minority, and are sexy, desirable, proud, ambitious, and intriguing.

Q. Who is your favorite character and why?

A: I don't know if I have a favorite character. As the writer, I feel connected to each character in many ways. I'm a fashionista like Jazzy, a business owner like Adrienne and Zuri, a mother like Reagan, and a passionate artist like Ivy. That's why I love each of them. They are beautifully flawed like all women. I think each character is relatable in a way. The character diversity is why I absolutely love the series!

Q. Besides My Story and CGR, you have a number of other credits to your name. How did you get into filmmaking?

A: I knew when I was a child I would become a filmmaker. I started writing scripts after I was cast in Annie in fourth grade. I loved everything about the stage and the screen. In 2010, I attended AIU Atlanta and was a Digital Film and Post Production major. I began making shorts in 2012. I love how a good film or television show makes you feel. I love that good content can make you think. It can drive a full day of conversation at work or it can impact a life. I knew I wanted to be part of that. I knew I wanted to move people. That's how I feel about filmmaking!

Q: What challenges have you faced as a woman, and a woman of color, in the industry and how are you overcoming them?

A: My road has been unique. I've never been one to wait for an opportunity. When I realized I was ready to begin making films, I started Harlem Fusion Studios. With HFS, I have the ability to create the content/movies/shows that I want to see. As a writer, my worldview is shaped by my culture, upbringing, and experiences. It's not easy being an executive producer, but I'm getting an invaluable education in filmmaking. I can say that with everything there are challenges and roadblocks. But I don't tend to let too many things get in my way. I'm pretty much a fireball. I'm not always confident but I will never stop trying or give up in the face of adversity. 

Q: How can people find more information about the Curvy Girls Rock series?

A: There’s a number of ways. First, through the Curvy Girls Rock website (http://www.cgrseries.com). We’re also all over social media. We have a pretty active Facebook page (Curvy Girls Rock: The Series) and also share behind-the-scenes content on Twitter (@cgrseries) and Instagram (@curvygirlsrockseries). 

Harlem Fusion Studios Announces Curvy Girls Rock Digital Series Episode Two 12.23.18 Release

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New York, NY: Harlem Fusion Studios announced today that it has ordered eight episodes of season one of Curvy Girls Rock Digital Series. Episode two debuts on December 23rd at 6PM EST.  The series is the first new media project for the independent production company. The series debuted in November of 2018.

The first season of Curvy Girls Rock Digital Series was released through Vimeo On Demand. The pilot episode of the series is currently streaming online at vimeo.com/ondemand/cgrseries  Harlem Fusion Studios will release each episode now through 2019.

“Curvy Girls Rock has meant so much to the mainstream community of plus size women who are underrepresented in both film and television”, said Shakesha Williams, Founder of Harlem Fusion Studios and Creator of Curvy Girls Rock Digital Series. “After two years of production, we know thousands of our fans will be eager to find out what the ladies of the series have in store.” Following the premiere, Harlem Fusion Studios has signed up for two seasons of the groundbreaking series.

Randall Holloway, Executive Producer at Harlem Fusion Studios stated: “We are proud of the fresh, hilarious, smart storytelling on Curvy Girls Rock Digital Series. The writing, along with the actors, surprise us every week. They make us laugh (a lot), and think.  We are excited about the future of Curvy Girls Rock and Harlem Fusion Studios and look forward to sharing our amazing comedy with the show’s many loyal fans for seasons to come.”

Curvy Girls Rock Digital is a single-camera comedy series created by award-winning writer, Shakesha Williams, that follows plus size women navigating the tricky waters of both their personal and professional lives. The series stars Ellisha Marie, Naimah Terry, Tamala Baldwin, Zoe Goslin, and Jessica Barrish. Curvy Girls Rock Digital Series is executive produced by Williams, Randall Holloway, Tiffany Taylor, and Susan Moses.

About Harlem Fusion Studios
Harlem Fusion Studios is a film, television, and new media company that entertains, engages, and inspires through the visual medium. The company seeks to captivate and connect viewers with the stories they love by creating amazing experiences that celebrate the best of entertainment.   

Curvy Girls Rock Digital Series Episode 2 Debuts on Sunday 12.23

Catch episode 2 of Curvy Girls Rock Digital Series on Sunday, December 23 at 6PM EST. The series stars Ellisha Marie, Naimah Terry, Tamala Baldwin, Jessica Barrish, and Zoe Goslin. Don’t miss a moment of Curvy Girls Rock!!!

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EBONY Magazine Covers Red Carpet Premiere of Curvy Girls Rock

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EBONY Magazine covered the Curvy Girls Rock Digital Series Red Carpet Premiere in New York City. Jessica Bennett wrote of the event:

“As the lights began to dim, fans cheered for the new show dedicated to portraying thick women as confident, sensual and intelligent bosses who refuse to let stereotypes dictate how they move through the world. Episodes one and two include real and raw conversations between the ladies about everything from love and divorce to career moves and body confidence. The series also negates the troupes often associated with bigger women on-screen, including an obsession with dieting or complaining that men pay them no mind. Quite the opposite, these ladies pack plenty of sex appeal, and they know it.”

Read the entire article here

Curvy Girls Rock Red Carpet Premiere Sponsored by Lane Bryant

Harlem Fusion Studios hosted the red carpet premiere of Curvy Girls Rock Digital Series. The event took place at The Slope Lounge in Brooklyn, New York. The red carpet was hosted by Sharon Quinn, OG Runway Diva and the Q & A was hosted by Madeline Jones, Editor-in-Chief of Plus Model Magazine. The standing room only crowd represented the creme-de-la-creme of the plus size and body positive community.

This amazing night was presented by Lane Bryant and all of the leading ladies were dressed by the clothing company. Check out the pictures from this amazing night!

EBONY Magazine Article Featuring Shakesha Williams, Creator of Curvy Girls Rock Digital Series

Ebony magazine features the creator of Curvy Girls Rock Digital Series, Shakesha Williams, and talks about the inspiration for the series and the road to becoming a filmmaker. Read the article here.