More Power to Stacey

Entertainment

More Power to Stacey

BY RICHARD JOHNSON
Observer senior reporter
johnsonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, February 16, 2020

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Jamaica-born, Canada-raised supermodel Stacey McKenzie is making moves in the world of film and television as an actress.

The freckle-faced McKenzie has recently completed two screen projects. She made a guest appearance in the finale of the hugely popular series Power, which aired on the American cable network Starz, and also has a role in Utopia Falls which is broadcast on Hulu and CBC in Canada.

McKenzie admits that she was always a huge fan of Power, the crime drama created and produced by Courtney A Kemp in collaboration with Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, and has always harboured thoughts of a role on the hit show, but never made any moves to make it a reality.

All that changed with some encouragement from a friend with whom she was staying in New York. Her friend suggested that she give her long-time friend and film/television director Anthony Hemmingway a call and see what happens.

“I was in New York for a shoot and was just saying to my friend how much I would love to be on Power. She said, then call the director since you know him. So I called him up and he said, 'I was just about to call you because we have a small role on Power and I was thinking of you... you have the look and voice that we want'. I was like 'wow'!.... I explained to him that I am a huge fan of the show and was calling to see how I could get a role. He then asked how soon I could get to New York, I said I was in New York and two days later I was on set,” McKenzie explained to the Jamaica Observer.

Despite the fact that it was a small role, McKenzie is equally pleased that on her suggestion she was able to inject some Jamaican culture into the lines which she delivered to actor Michael Rainey Jr, who plays Tariq St Patrick.

“When I first saw the script the lines were in standard English. So I said to the director, can we do this in Jamaican patois? I explained to him how much this would mean to my Jamaican people, just to hear the culture being shared on a hit show like this.I said if you don't like it then we can just use the original. He was like, 'Why not?'. When he spoke to the other producers they were like, 'sure'. I did one take in patois and they all love it and decided right there that they are going to use it,” she shared.

“So often you hear non-Jamaicans on screen trying to speak like us and not getting it right. This is major for our young people to hear somebody speaking our patois on screen like this. Mi caan stan fi see the fake Jamaican dem pon screen more time. I keep saying, you couldn't get a real Jamaican fi play da role deh...so many talented Jamaican actors out there, jus get one a dem. This will come across to many as being so refreshing, because it's the real thing and not somebody learning the accent.”

McKenzie's on-screen chemistry with Rainey, who has a Jamaican mother, only got better when he realised she was Jamaican.

“We met on set, and when I did the take in patois his eyes opened up and you could see it in his eyes. Once they cut he yelled, ' You a yardie', I had to tell him I am more yardie than he is. He just hugged me and took me to meet his mother. It was just lovely, “McKenzie said.

Within days of the shoot for Power, McKenzie got a call from the manager for a director asking if she was interested in a guest role in the futuristic drama Utopia Falls. Unlike her other film roles, this one had pages of lines to memorise and would take quite a bit of work, but McKenzie said she was up to the challenge.

“Once I found out the concept of the character. I said let's go. It was intense, because it was unlike anything I had ever done, but it was great as it pushed me to limits I never knew I had with acting. It made me realise that I do want to explore more in the world of acting. I can't wait to see what comes of this as it's a totally different ball game. I am excited and nervous all at the same time.”

McKenzie famously played a flight attendant in the thriller Fifth Element back in 1997, which also starred Bruce Willis, Gary Oldman, and Milla Jovovich.


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