By Anesta Henry
Nine-year-old Isis Hinkson is about to become probably the most famous Barbadian schoolgirl in the world.
The Class 2 Sharon Primary student is the featured personality in a short film, Run This Town, released by Rihanna and Apple Music ahead of the Barbadian superstar’s performance at the Super Bowl LVII Halftime show on Sunday night.
Sitting in her Bairds Village, St George home on Friday evening, Hinkson told Barbados TODAY she was pleased to have been chosen to be included in the video which has gone viral.
“I love Rihanna. I like everything about her – her music, how she dresses and how she looks. I want to be just like Rihanna – a billionaire, rich and look good. I believe that one day I am going to be a superstar,” the soft-spoken child said.
Hinkson has already left an impression on the Barbadian public with her performance in the 90-second promo which was produced by local production company Parachute Film Studios Ltd and stands to give Barbados massive exposure.
Hinkson, dressed in the uniform of Charles F Broome Primary School which Rihanna attended, is shown walking along Rihanna Drive, the singer’s childhood home. The video includes footage of Barbadians playing dominoes, children riding bicycles as well as children flying kites in the nearby Westbury Cemetery, just as Rihanna did in her younger years.
The scenes were an ode to the national hero’s childhood and her big dreams.
Many were impressed with Hinkson’s confidence and bold display.
Admitting that two consecutive days of shooting the video was no easy task, the little girl described her experience as one she will never forget.
“We had to do certain parts over and over. In my mind I was like, ‘is Rihanna going to see this? Is Rihanna watching it now? Is Rihanna going to see me?’ I would tell her ‘I am the girl in your video. I am your biggest fan’,” she said, adding that at the age of five, she told her mother she “wanted to be just like Rihanna”.
Hinkson recalled how excited she was when the video came out.
“On Thursday, when I got in the car, I asked my mummy if it came out . . . I snatched the phone and I said ‘Mummy, that’s me, that’s me!’. I felt amazing,” she said.
“This morning when I got to school, my friends’ reactions were like, ‘wow, you did a good job, I wish I could be like you’; and my teacher was like ‘wow, I am going to run this classroom today’.”
Beautifully dressed in the colourful African attire she wore to her school’s African Awareness Day event, a smiling Hinkson said her role in the video has left her with a desire to possibly pursue acting as a career.
“I love animals too. I don’t like to see homeless animals on the road; that breaks my heart,” she added.
Hinkson celebrated her birthday on January 13, just days after the production.
While many are proud of her and her fellow young actors, Hinkson’s mother, Tanya Delice and father, Damian Hinkson are the proudest parents in the world at this time.
A smiling Delice gushed: “I can’t express how I am feeling. I do feel like I want to cry. I am excited, I am scared, I am everything at the same time.
I am grateful for the exposure, but at the same time, I would still like her to have a normal childhood because that is important for development. But at the same time, I want her to enjoy it because it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
She explained that, ironically, when her daughter who had no prior experience auditioned for the role in early December 2022, she did not even make the shortlist.
“When I took her to the audition she said, ‘Mummy, give me my time, let me work my magic’. I told her to go ahead, girl. There were a lot of little girls there. But Isis was
shy that day, she was most definitely shy and she did not make the shortlist. But I knew she had it in her because from like two years old, she would always pick up the phone
and record little videos of herself,” the mother said.
Earlier this year, just before the start of the new school term, the video producers called Delice to ask if she would allow her daughter to “do the stand-in role”.
“She was supposed to do the fill-in for the actual girl that they would have probably chosen, and it ended up that she played the role. It is amazing. I mean it was like Rihanna brought Hollywood to Rihanna Drive. Everyone on the shoot was very loving and caring, they connected with the children. It was almost like we were a family ever since,” the proud mother said.
“It was the Saturday and Sunday before school opened so she only had the Monday to rest. And all of those children did an amazing job; they are so talented, they are focused, they worked diligently. These children were on set from like 7 o’clock. They got their breaks but they worked. The production team didn’t even think they would get it done in those two days,” Delice said, adding that members of the production team have advised her to support and nurture her daughter’s talent.
Hinkson’s beaming father showed his affection for her throughout the interview, showering her with spontaneous hugs and kisses.
“I spend a lot of time with Isis, so I wasn’t really surprised with her performance. When she sets her mind to something, she just does it.
“But this is the first time she is in front of a camera in a serious way, outside of selfies and little Tik Tok videos. She performed very well and the end product is excellent and I
am very happy with that,” he said, adding that the time he spent on set was an eye-opening experience.