Check out our interview with super popular director, activist, model, and the Changemakers Studios production company co-founder Sarah Talabi.

From a young age, Sarah and her sister Leah knew they wanted to combine their love of film with their passion for standing up for what’s right – and Changemakers Studios was born. The production company is a multimedia storytelling studio for environmental and social justice. They tell stories to inspire action on society’s most pressing issues, and their upcoming documentary streaming on Prime Video in 2023, Democracy Dies In Darkness, explores the seismic political and societal shift caused by the overturn of Roe v Wade.

While many may recognize the Talabi sisters for their robust modeling portfolio including the likes of Victoria’s Secret, Pretty Little Thing, and more, the 23-year-old rebels with a cause have been using their platform for good since 2015, growing a collective of young filmmakers, writers, and producers dedicated to communicating how we navigate social, political, and environmental crises. They strive to represent marginalized voices and diverse perspectives through their work.

Follow Sarah @sarah.talabi

Who has made the biggest impact on your life so far, and why?

My grandfather had a really big impact on my life. He passed away in 2017, but he was from Lagos which is the capital of Nigeria. He came from very little and he was the first in his family to go to college. He was very ambitious and he started his own law firm in Lagos and it quickly grew to become the biggest law firm in Nigeria. He then moved to Europe and built law offices in London and Paris – where my mom was born. He moved to Europe in the 60s and at the time there was a lot of overt racism towards black people – his experience was very difficult, especially being in the law field. He faced a lot of discrimination and he would always say that he had to be twice as good as his Nigerian colleagues and three times as good as his white colleagues. Despite this, he still achieved immense success and he would always say that the Talabi name stands for dignity, honor, and respect: “You don’t have to like us, but you do have to respect us” was his motto.

What is fun and rewarding about modeling? And what is not?

I love modeling because you get to be a part of creating art. A fashion editorial is like a painting and as a model you are the paintbrush. You are used to create the work during production and your contribution to the work is forever captured by the photographer. The worst part about being a model is the negative stigma that comes with it. I’ve had people message me on social media telling me that I don’t have a right to express my political opinion because I’m a model and that I should “stay in my lane”. Also, any time you attempt to do more intellectually engaging work – like direct and produce documentaries for example – people are quick to discredit you and not take you seriously because you are a model. There is some sort of ridiculous and misogynistic stereotype around models that you must not have any intellectual capacity whatsoever and that you are incapable of doing absolutely anything else beyond selling your physical appearance – totally not true!!

Now let’s talk about your studio “Changemakers Studio?” How and when you and your sister Sarah decided to create this?

In 2017, my sister and I started our company: Changemakers Studios, a multi-media storytelling studio and production company, with the goal to change the world. We set out to build a company where we could utilize our passion for the arts to communicate and drive social change. Over the past six years, Changemakers Studios has designed awareness campaigns on social and environmental justice, produced documentaries on humanitarian crises, and partnered with various charities through our nonprofit arm. It has been the greatest honor of my life to build this company from the ground up and we will continue to lead Changemakers Studios, always prioritizing the amplification of marginalized voices, telling the stories of individuals who never get a chance to have their stories told, and creating socially conscious art.

What is the mission of the studio and what kind of content are in the works?

The mission of Changemakers Studios is to drive social change through the arts. Our upcoming film, Democracy Dies in Darkness is about the decades long “tug-of-war” between governmental institutions and women fighting for their right to bodily autonomy, reproductive freedom, and on a larger scale the ability to exist in this world with the same rights that men do. The film will be available to stream on Prime Video.