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Singers Raise Their Voices for Actor Obi Ndefo

Teen Actor Jamie Mann Hosts Virtual Cabaret for Actor/Screenwriter Obi Ndefo Who Lost Both Legs

9/11 to Covid 19…

It’s been a rough spring. I’ve gone quiet on Modelingmentor.com in the same way I struggled to churn out an issue of Tear Sheet magazine after 9/11. The modeling and fashion industry seemed so superficial from the vantage point of an office in Chelsea, where the stomach churning odor of the mass grave downtown lingered for weeks. Now, during the Covid 19 pandemic, we’ve all been in sweatpants for months and fashion shoots seem like opulent affairs from another lifetime.

Back in 2001, I coped by dedicating the subsequent issue of Tear Sheet to everyone in the fashion industry who was doing something to help the families and companies hit hardest. Those planes of doom may have changed the skyline of New York City but not its heart. Likewise, this pandemic has ravaged people and businesses across the globe, but hope is only ever as far away as the click of a mouse. John Krasinski’s Some Good News was my favorite feel-good pick-me-up of the spring. Watch every 15-minute episode if you haven’t yet.

Nigerian man bathed in light

Actor/Screenwriter Obi Ndefo

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood…

Closer to home, my oldest son Jamie broke out of his Netflix-binge-watching cocoon and did some good. He had been on the other side of the screen this winter, actually acting in a Netflix show (Country Comfort), up until the pandemic hit and halted production. It was like going from the high of your childhood dream come true with the most awesome cast and crew ever to being quarantined for four months with just your family. Oh, wait a minute, it wasn’t like that, it was that! But during that cooped-up time, Jamie took to running (briefly) with his dad. And that’s when he met Obi Ndefo, by chance, in Silver Lake, where Obi lives, and where we happened to be living during filming. Obi, a Nigerian-Jewish American actor/screenwriter was in a wheelchair and Jamie’s dad recognized his Yale classmate.

Jamie and Obi on Streamyard

Jamie Mann and Obi Ndefo during the June 30 Virtual Cabaret Benefit

To learn what happened next and why Obi Ndefo is the role model for the attitude we need to get through these trying times, both with the pandemic and racial tensions, read the story in Broadway World.

And listen to Obi Ndefo’s powerful message for humanity:

Have a Model Citizen story for me?  That’s what I’m digging these days. Model submissions welcome as well—fingers crossed the biz kicks in so we can shed our sweatpants someday soon. But let’s not lose our new-found perspective on the stuff that’s really important.