In 2012, Curvy girl activist Dellany Peace grew tired of being just an actress. Or more specifically, she grew tired of the confines within which an actress of her proportions seemed destined to spend her life. From her earliest acting, dancing and singing pursuits in her home state of North Carolina, to her migration to conservatory and stage in New York City, and throughout her adventures in L.A. film and television, Dellany has endured the same frustrating chorus from the mainstream:
“You aren’t pretty enough. You aren’t thin enough. Your hair is too curly. Your hair is the wrong color. You’re too ‘character’ to be a lead. You’re too ‘pretty’ to be a character. You’re too tall. You’re too curvy. You stand out too much. You smile too much. You aren’t white enough. You aren’t ethnic enough. You’re TOO DIFFERENT.”
Fueled by a powerful mix of frustration and determination, Dellany decided to take the matter into her own hands and set out to create something herself… a show that she could cast herself in regardless of what she looked like. Dellany co-created, co-produced, co-wrote & co-starred in a comedy web series called 2 Hopeful Spinsters ( co-starring Michael Madsen) that went on to win numerous prestigious awards, garnering press attention and helping women begin to embrace the radical concept that they can be simultaneously ‘different’ and ‘happy’.
The positive response to her storytelling galvanized Dellany toward more outside-the-box thinking. Why stop with only one story? Why not create a whole universe of stories designed to empower the silent, suffering minorities? As a feminist and an activist, Dellany embraces the potential to successfully shift traditional Hollywood behavior towards all types of people.
“Right now more than ever there is an underground rumbling for an ‘Acceptance Revolution’ in our society. Our culture has gone long enough to try to meet unrealistic industry standards. In today’s world, we have quickly spiraled with no end in sight INTO a shaming society. There is shaming for every difference a person could have out there. From racism, to homophobia to obesity – to showing no compassion to people with special needs, our culture is focusing more on why everyone should be ashamed to just be themselves and less on their education, ethics, environment or real world issues.”
Born and raised in North Carolina, Dellany shared a poor, single-parent household with three other siblings, including one who required extreme neurological care. Her conservative neighborhood was particularly intolerant of a single mother and a special-needs daughter. As a result, Dellany learned to endure shaming early in life.
“My siblings and I were bullied on a regular basis all throughout school. Why? Because we had an independent mother who never re-married. Because we didn’t have a lot of money or nice things. Because we had a sister with special needs – and none of us were ‘acceptable thin’. If it wasn’t one thing it was another. To help distract us from all the pessimism at school, my Mama put my siblings and I in numerous after school activities. My favorite ones were all the creative classes, of course, especially dance class. It was my sanctuary; a haven where I truly felt 100% safe and free to be ME. My Mama allowing and encouraging me to venture into the creative world outside of all the bullying and shaming was something that ended up saving my life, paved my future and made me who I am today. She always encouraged me to pursue my goals and be a proud independent woman fighting for others – and to ignore all the naysayers; use their negativity to push me further along and work harder.”Dellany is inspired by not only her own personal and professional endeavors but by hearing and responding to the outcries from multitudes of artists who are thwarted by Hollywood’s influence by not being represented properly on film, tv, magazines or the internet.
With marketing, advertising and media prevalent every second of the day, reminding all of us of what we don’t have or don’t look like – outside appearance of oneself has becomes first priority. Millions tune in everyday to watch any given reality show of the moment that is usually about people talking about themselves and what they look like.
“When watching a feature film or a TV show, have you ever wondered to yourself, ‘why aren’t there more people who look like me in this story?’ As a female artist I have become increasingly exasperated at how my gender, body type and overall looks have been portrayed in art and storytelling. Because of this, I have decided to meet the challenge head on and change the stereotypes. I have chosen to do this so I can be a trailblazer within the art community and deliver a new kind of message to the masses…I want to give birth to female characters who could pass the Bechdel test. As a woman, I’m always astounded by the lack of characters in tv and movies who look anything remotely like me, or anyone I know. Our entertainment culture has a long history of promoting an extremely narrow-minded female image stereotype. Most of us, if we’re honest, are aware of this – but after a decade of acting and waiting for the phone to ring – I’ve made up my mind to go a step further and do something about the scarcity of female heroes with whom I can actually identify…”
Dellany decided the only logical next step was to start her own production company. Thus the journey begins.