Gorgeous, intriguing, exotic… Jessi M’Bengue. You’d have to have been living under a particularly sound-proof, pop-culture-proof rock not to have at least heard of Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines video, the one that put Emily Ratajkowski‘s name onto everyone’s lips. M’Bengue’s name may not be as well known but it was always her toned, dark shoulders I was admiring while she played the banjo like she meant it alongside a peppy Pharrell Williams.
Hair cropped and lips bereft of any lipstick, M’Bengue looks different – but no less captivating. Possibly more so. Her exotic looks are the gift of her parents: a French Algerian mother and an Ivorian-Senegalese father. And in his short fashion film of M’Bengue, director Alexi Papalexopoulos plays perfectly to her body and her beauty.
Mirror images, plays with shadows and use of silhouettes – coupled with a soundtrack of Bonobo’s electronica-jazz – make the film feel like a long lost James Bond title sequence. Papalexopoulos’ aim was to create something “timelessly sexy”, something with substance. “I am fascinated by mysteriously seductive characters,” he tells me, “and a lot of my photo work has those elements in it.”
Mysteriously seductive? Yes. Worth watching in full? Most definitely. You can see all of Jessi M’Bengue by Alexi Papalexopoulos (apdirector.com) by hitting play below.