What's the most creative advertising idea you’ve seen recently?

I really enjoyed how the BMW team made me watch two minutes of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Salma Hayek as the modern-day depiction of Zeus and Hera before even questioning why. I’m a huge fan of pairing opposites, which usually yields really interesting results or, at the very least, some humorous moments. And pairing a retired man who’s basically made of electricity and tired of powering everything in his life with a new electric vehicle that he doesn't have to charge is genius.

A close second is the AirBnB BaeCation ad with the song Bonnie & Clyde by Jay-Z and Beyonce, featuring a pretty old couple flexing in a sick pad on their Bae-cay. Showing us they still got it! It's the simplicity of Instagram-like pics and, again, the pairing of opposites for me – a hip hop track juxtaposed to a very non-hip hop couple. Love it! 

BMW – Zeus & Hera

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What website(s) do you use most regularly?

I am constantly on travel sites like Google Flights and Delta, looking for flights to various locations. I love to travel, and if I’m not working, I’m itching to go somewhere. Recently, I’ve also found myself on Redfin checking out real estate options. 

What’s the most recent piece of tech that you’ve bought? 

I’m obsessed with my Yale Smart Locks. At first, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to add another electronic device to my home but, for a person that travels a lot, it really makes life simple when you need little favours done when you’re not home, or if you have a house guest while you’re away. My favourite feature is that you can set a multitude of codes for different people and delete them once the person leaves. So, now, my house plants stand a chance of living. 

What product could you not live without?

If we’re talking basic necessities, I’d have to go with soap. But, more specifically, Alaffia’s African Black Soap All-in One Salt Stone Water. I love all-natural and organic products that smell natural, especially products from brands that give back and have integrity. But, soap, that’s the product I need. I have a huge aversion to bad smells, so I gotta keep it fresh..

What’s the best film you’ve seen over the last year?

Everything Everywhere All at Once by the Daniels was just such an out-of-the-box, original, genre-mixing and weirdly captivating film that as I walked out of the theatre, it made me want to create something completely original myself.

But also, The Woman King, directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood and starring Viola Davis, is everything I needed to see as a lover of African history. The film, based on true events and people, beautifully portrayed all facets of a woman in a male-dominated kingdom during times when women were definitely thought to be the weaker being.

What film do you think everyone should have seen?

The Autobiography of Malcolm X is a book that I remember my father telling me about as a kid, and how it had a huge impact on him as a Black man in America. It later became one of my favourite books. The film Malcolm X, based on the book, is just as compelling and impactful for understanding a simple yet controversial man that. against odds, essentially went all-in with his beliefs while still acquiring knowledge along the way.

 A Day Without A Mexican is a small indie film that’s done mockumentary style with a political message that is so witty it had me in stitches. The plot revolves around the concept of what happens when all Mexicans in California disappear. It leads to all sorts of disasters when all those California Dreamin find out the Latinx construction workers, policemen, maids, teachers etc, are no longer there doing the jobs the masses take for granted. The film effortlessly tackles an often difficult and ignored topic without being too on the nose and in a humorous yet thought-provoking way.

What’s your preferred social media platform?

Instagram. As much as I love words, I love images even more. So much can be said with a single image, especially one paired with a caption. I’m a visual learner, so seeing images and interpreting them right away is how I’m wired. 

What’s your favourite TV show?

There are so many great ones out there, but one of my all-time favourites is I Love Lucy. It brings back memories of my childhood and how I, back then, viewed and perceived television. As a young Jamaican immigrant being introduced to America and its television programming, I found comfort in watching a woman who had a mind of her own and a male immigrant artist who never seemed to give up. Both made me laugh constantly. 

Being an immigrant myself, and a female whose mind differed from the norm, I felt… okay… being me. But shows like Family Matters and A Different World also had a huge impact on how I saw myself as a Black teen in America and what I thought I could be capable of during my adolescent years.

What’s your favourite podcast? 

I must admit I’m not a huge podcast listener. I’m all about the visuals and find it hard to concentrate if I must depend solely on my ears… unless we’re talking about music. But, I have listened to Screenwriters Rant Room and find it entertaining and informative. It features a mix of film and TV industry veterans and up-and-comers that go on and drop gems. I’ve also guested on the show and talked about my crazy journey. So… yeh… I’m totally open to podcast recommendations. But I do think there should be an option to stream the podcast as a video, but then again, that may just change the format to a talk show… I dunno.

What show/exhibition has most inspired you recently? 

The Netflix series King of Boys: Return of The King is a Nigerian show that’s in English and Yoruba; no I don’t speak Yoruba, but it was easy to follow along. I found myself being not only entertained but also caring about the characters and wanting to see more about a culture that I didn’t grow up with. It reminded me that as storytellers, we just have to keep telling our stories, and they will always find their audience and into the hearts of people you never imagined.

If you could only listen to one music artist from now on, who would it be? 

If I had to listen to one artist for the rest of my life, I’d have to go with the home team and say Bob Marley. To this day, I’m still discovering songs of his I never heard. Bob’s good for just about all my moods. When I’m feeling happy, I can throw on Sun is Shining. If I need to cheer up, I can throw on Lively Up Yourself. When I wanna chill, One Love. If I’m feeling revolutionary, War or 400 Years. There’s a Bob Marley song for every Candice Vernon mood.

If there was one thing you could change about the advertising industry, what would it be?

The obvious is more inclusion, but something else that I always chat about that I think needs revamping is the process of triple bid and treatments. As a former agency producer and Head of Production, I have some ideas on how to streamline this process while keeping it creative, making it simpler, and efficient and budget-conscious for clients. Maybe one day I’ll go on a Live about it… ha!

Who or what has most influenced your career? 

Growing up as an only child in my Jamaican family has had a huge impact on my career. For starters, I can't believe my parents let me go to film school. If you know anything about Jamaicans, then you’d know that doctors, lawyers, nurses, or anything in similar fields are respectable careers… filmmaking is not. 

I’m certain that to this day, my parents still don’t know what a director does. But they allowed me to go study film at Temple University instead of graduating from Cornell University. (I also don’t think they really knew the difference between an Ivy league vs. a public university…. phew!) So, in a nutshell, there was never a choice of failing because I needed to prove that there is a path to directing for little Black girls from the Caribbean, more specifically, a small village in Jamaica. 

Tell us one thing about yourself that most people won’t know. 

I’m a huge believer in mentorship and helping others to unlock their potential. I recently acquired some acres of land in Ghana, since I’ve been spending time there for the past three years. I’m in the process of developing and building an academy called the Candice Vernon Institute of Creative Arts and Technology, amongst other ventures that I'm developing with partners in West Africa.