Meet Writer, Model and Actress Who Is Bella Maori?
Bella Maori is a multifaceted creator who continues to build momentum towards a fruitful career doing what she enjoys most, creating art for others. Maori was born and raised in Los Angeles, California and describes herself as a “modern day Renaissance woman,” wild in spirit who lives life to the fullest, without boundaries or restraints. The multifaceted creator is a writer, model, actress, having written her first short pilot named Ugly, that went on to earn seven film festival awards and one nomination and semifinalist. Maori has been a Playboy Centerfold model, with modeling serving as an outlet to create visual stories of her own.
We had the opportunity to sit down with Bell Maori to get to learn more about her.
For those who are discovering you for the first time, share more about yourself. I’m a writer, model, actress, independent filmmaker, producer, Playboy Centerfold model content creator and PhD candidate. I was born and raised in Los Angeles. I guess I’m somewhat of a modern day Renaissance woman, and a jack of all trades. I believe that I have a wild spirit that cannot be tamed so I live life wild, and freely without restraints.
What would you consider yourself most? Writer, Actress? Or, Model? I would consider myself a writer before anything. I’ve been writing since I was eight years old. I feel like writing is a part of my body, my soul and if I couldn’t write anymore I’d curl up into a ball in a corner and not exist. Being an actress and model are outlets to tell the stories that I create visually or help visualize other people’s visions in that way.
Which types of projects do you enjoy working on the most? I enjoy independent projects and projects that are aligned with a social issue that can raise some kind of awareness to a social problem. I also enjoy projects that incorporate high fashion art and avant garde concepts and things that are out of the norm. I’ve always been a bit outside of conventional notions of beauty and creativity. Basically, low to no budget projects are my favorites.
Tell us where the inspiration came from for your short pilot, Ugly? The inspiration for writing Ugly came from personally experiencing colorism myself growing up in my family and then when I got to Hollywood I was still experiencing colorism. I felt it was important to bring awareness to the issue in a way that could open new conversations about how one’s skin tone limits their access to resources and opportunities in Hollywood.
Where did your interest to model originate from? This question is so ironic because I’ve always wanted to be an actress if I had to choose between the two because I loved theater but I never thought I was pretty enough to model. Theater kids were always seen as kind of corky. My look didn’t necessarily fit into America’s conventional aesthetics of beauty, but surprisingly when I got into the industry modeling opportunities just came up more than acting jobs and when I was chosen I couldn’t believe that people thought I was pretty enough for their campaigns. I’m such a humble person and an introvert. I was the geeky quiet girl who wrote poems. Isn’t that crazy? I was like this hopeless romantic. I think that’s why Ugly is so important and special because the word “ugly” is multi-dimensional. It symbolizes the ugliness that one feels when they aren’t considered pretty by Hollywood standards, the ugliness of colorism, and most importantly it brings into question what it means to say someone is ugly. I think modeling and the idea of the word “ugly” are aligned to each other because whenever one thinks of a model they tend to say things like “is she pretty enough” or “she is too ugly to model.”
What are your plans for the remainder of this year? Any new releases or modeling shoots? The remainder of the year will be busy for me. I’m in pre-production for a documentary that I’m producing about the erasure of Black women’s identities in professional work sectors. I am working to make Ugly a movie instead of a series. I am currently working on a few new scripts in the making. I have upcoming photo shoots and in January I’ll be bringing in the new year by signing as a Playboy Centerfold model content creator for my fans at X3 Expo which is an expo for adult stars and content creators so I am preparing for all of that. In addition to all of that I’m working on my dissertation proposal, yikes!. There’s a lot going on. What advice would you give to others who are chasing their dream? My advice would be to never give up no matter how difficult it seems. Believe in yourself because there will be a lot of disappointments, setbacks and tons of rejection! but keep moving forward. Sustaining one’s integrity and having the tenacity to endure will make you strong. Most importantly, always remain humble, nice to people and grounded and you will succeed in your dreams.