"A a tribute to an Black woman who made such seismic shifts that we should never forget her name or her contributions to equality in the fashion industry and beyond. Bethann Hardison's revolutionary spirit and tenacity is awe-inspiring" - Carla Renata, The Curvy Film Critic
"With every scene one feels as if Hardison is finally given the opportunity to take in the magnitude of her life, making the film both a celebration and elegy-of-sorts." - Jose Solís, The Film Stage
In this absorbing record, fashion revolutionary Bethann Hardison looks back on her journey as a pioneering Black model, modeling agent, and activist, shining a light on an untold chapter in the fight for racial diversity. From walking runway shows alongside Iman to discovering and mentoring models like Naomi Campbell, Hardison has been at the epicenter of major representational shifts in fashion. Catalyzing change requires continuous championing, and as the next generation takes the reins, Hardison reflects on her personal journey and the cost of being a pioneer. Film Center exclusive.
Awards & Nominations
Winner - Industry Audience Award Winner, Sundance Film Festival
Winner - Best Documentary Feature, Sundance Film Festival
5 QUESTIONS WITH BETHANN HARDISON
(Interview from the September/October issue of the Gazette)
You are both a director of and the subject of INVISIBLE BEAUTY. What did you learn about yourself, or what discoveries did you have, in the process of making the film?
I discovered that I had to learn to get out of my own way. Just let it be, just let things happen. If you’re trying to achieve anything in life—sometimes we’re stuck in our own heads, or we don’t think we deserve it, or we don’t know how to get there—it is important to step out of the way and let it happen.
INVISIBLE BEAUTY is your first directing credit. What advice would you give to emerging/new filmmakers?
Most important: get a really good producer, and definitely a good bookkeeper. You want to get the right people who can help to make things easier. If they have experience, and they are good, it's like a blessing. I look at my producer, and I’m always in awe. They will really help keep the ball moving, and they can have vision.
SAIC has a highly respected Department of Fashion Design. What is something you hope young designers and individuals emerging in the fashion industry take away from INVISIBLE BEAUTY?
I would tell every young person that aspires: go be an apprentice. Learn. It's very important to learn everything you can about everything that surrounds you, so when it's time for you to do you, you can do everything from sweep the floor to make a great garment.
What is a memorable moviegoing experience you've had?
I’ve had a few! From a younger part of my life was BAMBI (1942), the second—from another time of my life—was SPARTACUS (1960), and the most recent moment was DUNE (2021), because of the score. There was no way to see that film but in a good theater with good sound. I’m very blessed that INVISIBLE BEAUTY is getting the opportunity to have a theatrical release. All I said from the time we were making it was, “I need the film to be on the silver screen.” It means everything: it gives you the opportunity to get the essence of the film, when you can see it in the right setting and with people. Everyone who helps to make a film has contributed to something that really belongs in a movie theater.
What film do you watch again and again?
I’m someone who once I’ve seen a film, I’m done. The only film that I felt I could see more than once was MISS SLOAN (2016), with Jessica Chastain. I discovered it on a plane, and then I went back and saw it again, and then when I met Jessica, I told her, and she said “My god—I think you’re one of six people who’ve seen that film!” There's a lot of good films out there, but I don’t have time to go back and watch things over and over again. To repeat things is not my style.
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