Davina Bennett: Maluma's Leading Lady
International fashion model, former Miss Jamaica, and Miss Universe second runner-up Davina Bennett shares her experience working with Latin superstar Maluma on his new album, 7 Días En Jamaica. Davina plays the female lead in #7DJ (Seven Days in Jamaica), companion film to Maluma’s seven-song EP by the same appellation.
It was the first day of shooting on set in Jamaica. I remember being so nervous because I had never done anything quite like this before. There I was, a small town girl about to shoot a very sexy scene with a superstar, Maluma. I went on set, did as I was told, and the entire production started clapping. The producer said, “One shot, and we’ve got it!” They showed the playback to Maluma and he said, “This girl knows what she is doing. Beautiful!” In that moment, I gained the confidence to get this job done.
Being Miss Jamaica and the muse for a project that’s meant to be a love letter to the island is a feeling I can’t quite explain. The experience was unlike anything I had done in this lifetime. Scenes from the videos --“Love” featuring Charly Blacks, “La Burbaja,” “Agua De Jamaica,” and “Desayun-Arte”-- were shot in Jamaica. We shot in the parishes of Portland and Kingston, showcasing the breathtaking views, scenery of the countryside, and the vibrancy and simplicity of the city.
The most thrilling aspect of this project was Maluma’s painstaking effort to showcase Jamaica and life on the island. Our culture was respected and the Jamaican people were included in bringing this project to life --from the production teams, dancers, extras, and creatives alike. Being on a production in my country, alongside other Jamaicans and the best teams from Colombia, is a feeling I’ll never forget.
After Jamaica, we packed our bags and headed to Colombia to continue shooting. I was fortunate enough to be able to bring along my stylist Neko Kelly and hair stylist Melleisa Dawkins. Our first stop was Cartagena. We were shocked by how similar it was to our country, it was almost frightening. Our first scenes were on the Island of Baru, a place full of diversity. The houses, shops, roads and people reminded us so much of Jamaica, it was almost impossible to tell the two apart.
The production crew had sought advice from me and my team about the location, styling and the overall creative setup of the shoots when filming scenes. This was to ensure Jamaica was being depicted in the most authentic way at all times, a commendable display of respect I’d say. After shooting various scenes in Baru and other neighboring towns in Cartagena, we journeyed to the city of Medellin, Maluma’s hometown.
Medellin had astonishing scenes of the mountains, luxurious malls, tall buildings, an awe-inspiring culture and history we couldn’t get enough of. It was an honor to be there to shoot and work amongst talented people, all whilst experiencing the culture and what the city and its people had to offer. Revisiting Colombia is definitely on my bucket list.
Keeping this project a secret was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. The premiere came quickly, and then the album was out. I remember feeling a deep pleasure and sense of pride from this achievement, knowing that I was selected for this role where I got to represent black women, Jamaicans and the Caribbean people. To me, this is more than just any music album—it’s a celebration of cultures, music, race and backgrounds coming together as one.
Being the representation for my island is not something I took lightly, and seeing the outcome of this project has not only given me extreme gratification, but a renewed faith that we are constantly evolving as conscious beings. 7 Días En Jamaica was the first domino. I hope that this is the beginning of something new in the industry, and that this project will inspire other artists to explore and celebrate new cultures, unite countries, art, people, talent and creatives to create magic around the world that will inspire our future generations to continue.
Follow Davina on Instagram: @davinabennett