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There weren't enough roles for her to play. So Madeleine Sami wrote 5 for herself.

She's building her own bridge across the diversity gap.

There weren't enough roles for her to play. So Madeleine Sami wrote 5 for herself.
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Facebook #SheMeansBusiness

When Madeleine Sami started off in theater, she found herself playing stereotypical roles for people of color.

The New Zealand filmmaker/writer/actress is half Fijian-Indian and half Kiwi with Irish heritage, and she found that there were not a lot of three-dimensional roles available to her.

According to a recent survey in New Zealand, only 38% of television writers are women. And a recent UCLA diversity report in Hollywood shows that minorities are underrepresented 2 to 1 in cable, scripted, and reality TV leads and that for women, it's about the same.


So she made a decision: She'd cast herself in the roles she wants.

She's not just one lead in her TV show, "Super City"; she cast herself in five lead roles.


GIF via NZonscreen on YouTube

"Super City" shows that an actor of color can play multiple roles — roles that even open-minded casting directors might never have considered!

When you're the writer of your own story — literally or figuratively — you can consider anything.

She wrote roles for herself like these:

— Pasha, a ditzy actress and socialite


All images via "Super City" trailer/YouTube.

— Azeem, a patriotic male cab driver

Did Sami do such an incredible and hilarious job in a male role that I'm reconsidering the necessity of casting based on gender? Those thoughts are forming.

— Linda, a middle-aged and uptight aspiring artist

— Jo, a fitness trainer grappling with her sexuality

— Georgie, a homeless mom trying to make it as a parent

And all in one show!

By both making her art and selling it on the entertainment market, Sami and her show are a powerful proving ground for the marketability of diverse voices in entertainment.

It was through social media, Facebook in particular, that Sami realized just how much people were really responding to her show.

GIF via NZonscreen/YouTube.

She says, "Someone set up a 'Super City' quotes page on Facebook. ... I had a look at it the other day ... people remember whole paragraphs of dialogue from the show!"

Because of Facebook, Sami was able to hear from her fans directly. She was able to get confidence directly from the people she was trying to reach. And things must've gone well with TV studios because the show got a second season!

Diverse characters, voices, and perspectives all interact in "Super City." It's a comedy, and if you watch the trailer, you'll see how funny it is but that something else is going on.

By having all the parts played by one person, we can see how alike we all are! It's pretty cool.

Watch the trailer for Sami's show and have a laugh!

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Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday are teaming up to find the people who lead with love everyday.

Know someone in your neighborhood who's known for their optimistic attitude, commitment to bettering their community and always leading with love? Tell us about them for the chance to win a $2,000 grant to keep doing good in their community.

Nomination ends November 22, 2020

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