WHO: A whole bunch of bad-ass black models, actors, and musicians; and photographer Tim Walker
WHY WE CARE: The Pirelli calendar has really shown signs of maturity these past few years. The Italian tire company’s calendar was initially just ogling fodder, predominately featuring top models like Gisele Bündchen, Heidi Klum, and Karolina Kurkova. However, beginning with 2016’s calendar shot by Annie Leibovitz, Pirelli began shifting toward something more enlightened. With Amy Schumer’s topless, IDGAF shot seen ’round the world and Serena Williams unapologetically toned body front and center, Pirelli’s 2016 calendar ushered in a new wave of models who were being chosen less for some ideal of beauty and more for what that person represents. 2017’s calendar featured a host of barefaced actresses, and now for 2018, photographer Tim Walker is tumbling through Wonderland with a slight twist: It’s an all-black cast, starring RuPaul as the Queen of Hearts, Lupita Nyong’o as the Dormouse, South Sudanese-Australian model Duckie Thot model as Alice, and more.
In an interview with The New York Times, Walker says:
“The story of Alice has been told so many times and in so many ways, but always with a white cast…There has never been a black Alice, so I wanted to push how fictional fantasy figures can be represented and explore evolving ideas of beauty.”
Of course, the ideal scenario would be for an all-black Alice In Wonderland to exist as is without having to carry the weight of some sort of statement–and the same goes for Pirelli’s 2016 and 2017 calendars. But if conversations like the representation of women and minorities need to keep happening, it’s nice to know that an institution with as much cachet and influence as Pirelli is chiming in.
Check out the full cast below and Walker’s stunning images above.
Duckie Thot, Alice
Lupita Nyong’o, The Dormouse
RuPaul, The Queen of Hearts
Naomi Campbell and Sean “Diddy” Combs, The Royal Beheaders
Djimon Hounsou, The King of Hearts
Lil Yachty, The Queen’s Guard
Adwoa Aboah, Tweedledee
Slick Woods, The Madhatter
Sasha Lane, The Mad March Hare
Whoopi Goldberg, The Royal Duchess
Adut Akech, The Queen of Diamonds
Alpha Dia, the Five-Of-Hearts-Playing-Card Gardener
King Owusu, the Two-Of-Hearts-Playing-Card Gardener
Thando Hopa, The Princess of Hearts
Wilson Oryema, the Seven-Of-Hearts-Playing-Card Gardener
Zoe Bedeaux, The Caterpillar