EXCLUSIVE: Diona Vaughan Mankowitz, who has worked on shows such as Netflix’s Love Is Blind and Skin Decision, has launched a collective of casting executives and producers to improve the diversity of non-scripted shows.
Vaughan Mankowitz has launched Divergent Content, based in LA, that aims to improve the diverse make-up of reality shows, daytime formats and docu-series.
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“It’s a collective of Black and Brown people in entertainment,” Vaughan Mankowitz told Deadline. “Often times you’ll go onto a show and you’re the only person who looks like you or there’s no one higher up that looks like you. Sometimes you’re watching these shows and you can tell right off the bat that had a black person had a seat at the table, that wouldn’t have happened.”
Having started her career as a buyer for Bloomingdale in New York, she moved to LA around ten years ago and began casting and producing reality shows. A couple of years ago, she started a Facebook page called Black Women In Entertainment and Divergent Content grew out of that.
She said that it’s a “pivotal time” right now, following the killing of George Floyd and the subsequent protests against police brutality. “We’re in this moment right now where people are supporting diversity and people of color and the catalyst was George Floyd. I felt like now’s the time. Everyone’s looking to hire diversity and they want black content,” she said.
“I wanted to create something for production companies and networks which want to hire Black people. Here we are. What I keep hearing is that these companies do want to hire diverse people but they don’t know where to find them,” she added.
In addition to herself, the collective includes Jazzy Collins (The Circle), Kelley Allen (Gordon Ramsay’s: 24 Hours to Hell & Back), Dana Asadi, (Revenge Body with Khloé Kardashian), Courtney Branch (CBS’ This Morning), Chantay E. Brown (House Hunters), Amari Collins (Tiny House Nation), Devorn Hannah (Dr. Phil), Kellie Brook Malone (Divorce Court), Carla Mitchell (Temptation Island), Randy Pennington (Divorce Court), Cynthia Simpson (Project Runway) and Lisa Visagie (The Great Food Truck Race).
“I want to help turn the needle. I see this company really growing to the point of becoming a full-service production company as I grow the collective,” she said.
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