Interview with Photographer and Director – Jordan Rossi

Celebrate The Journey x Jordan Rossi

Jordan Rossi taking pictures of a model
Jordan Rossi taking pictures of a model

Jordan Rossi is the director and photographer who recently shot our LGBTQIA+ Pride film. As part of the LGBTQIA+ community, his work explores issues that queer people care about. He spoke with us about how brands can support the LGBTQIA+ community.

Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert: 16 l/100 km | CO2-Emissionen kombiniert: 363 g/km | Emissionsangabe [1]

Talk to us about the concept of the AMG Pride campaign – what did you set out to capture?

When I first came onboard the project, it was described to me as ‘Carpool Karaoke’ without the singing but instead including members of the LGBTQIA+ community talking about their own experiences – in a very upbeat and uplifting way.

I looked at this and thought ‘that’s great that you want to do something real, but I think we can do something that’s even more meaningful’. I wanted to do something that showcases members of the community in a very authentic way. So, I took that ethos and came up with the LGBTQIA+ quiz – a fun way to teach LGBTQIA+ history, which is so important as there’s a real lack of this out there, it’s still not even taught in schools. But it also allowed us to organically tell people’s authentic stories, we didn’t want to just ask ‘hey, what’s it like being trans?’. The quiz idea allowed them to come to these moments by themselves by talking in a safe space.

What element of AMG were you keen to communicate in this campaign?

No type of Pride activation from a brand should be about branding or product. These projects should be about uplifting, supporting, spotlighting and showcasing the LGBTQIA+ community. What AMG did is give these people a platform. It’s about sharing the mic and that’s crucial, because we were able to spread this message to people that may not be as informed on these issues.

It was a brave first step for AMG to use their platform to educate and allow people to tell their authentic stories. AMG were amazing, putting their time, effort and resources into this project. That was invaluable. But this is not about selling cars, this project is about showcasing the community

A portrait of Jordan Rossi
A portrait of Jordan Rossi

How did the selection of talent in the video embody the message of Pride?

Casting was really tough for this project as we only had five spaces available and of course the LGBTQIA+ community is made up of A LOT of different people with different sexual orientations and lots of different gender identities, but then again casting is one of my favourite things to do. I never cast in a tick box fashion, I just gravitate to the people that have big, bold and exciting personalities, those who are really authentic with a real sense of self.

The first person I thought of casting for this was my friend Darkwah, I’ve worked with them multiple times on multiple projects. They’re one of the most wonderfully warm and welcoming people, which is great, as I know as a director, we can ask them to talk about anything and they’ll always answer in a warm, sensible and safe way that feels encouraging to people.

A model sitting in front of a Mercedes-AMG vehicle
A model sitting in front of a Mercedes-AMG vehicle

Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert: 13 - 12.7 l/100 km | CO2-Emissionen kombiniert: 294 - 287 g/km | Emissionsangabe [1]

Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert: 13 - 12.7 l/100 km | CO2-Emissionen kombiniert: 294 - 287 g/km | Emissionsangabe [1]

Jordan Rossi
When we assembled the entire cast together, I felt it reflected AMG’s own sensibilities in the sense of being game changers, being rule-breakers and having an attitude and charisma that felt very AMG.
Jordan Rossi taking pictures of a model


What do you think the common missteps are from brands when interacting with Pride?


Any time a brand uses a community to sell their product, they go from being an ally to being a performative ally. You go from genuinely trying to help, to essentially using a community to sell your product for your own commercial gain. Quite a few brands do it every single Pride Month. Along with AMG, the Pride month campaign wasn’t about trying to sell a product or rainbow washing, it was about championing individual stories from the community.

To me, when brands change their logo to rainbow colours for Pride month it’s good for visibility and to show solidarity for the LGBTQIA+ community, but there should also be something behind the logo. Much in the same way that AMG have produced this content that showcases the genuine and authentic stories behind the rainbow flag. We need more than just rainbow logos.

I know AMG’s brand values, they don’t jump on bandwagons, they lead.

Jordan Rossi
AMG genuinely wanted to support and help uplift the community and that’s such an incredible thing to have both as a director and a member of the LGBTQIA+ community.

What impact do you hope that AMG’s 2022 Pride campaign had when people interacted with it?

I guess the best reactions are the ones that no-one would come across, the person who watches the films, does a bit of research and ends up becoming an ally. And for members of the LGBTQIA+ community, a good reaction could be that maybe someone watches the film and thinks ‘Oh, I see myself there.’ And they feel, for the first time, actually seen and understood. I’d love it if someone can take away from this a feeling of ‘it’s ok to be myself’.

What were some of your most memorable moments from filming on the day?

Going back to the casting, obviously it was very challenging finding the right people to front it. So, when I found my cast, I really dug my heels in and said ‘these people are perfect, trust me’ and AMG did. So for our first shot we took Darkwah and Marcus out and I remember listening to their conversation. As soon as they started talking, I could hear it was fun, it was exciting, it was meaningful and it filled me with so much joy because then everyone could see why I was so confident about my cast, not only as a director but also as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community.

A portrait of Jordan Rossi
A portrait of Jordan Rossi

Finally, whilst creating supportive, charitable or representative content is important at Pride, what do people still need to remember about Pride?

I think it’s really important to remember and celebrate Pride because it’s a reminder of how far we have come but it’s also a reminder of how far we’ve still got to go. We still need to fight, to take to the streets, to protest and be activists. We need to push for more visibility to get those rights that we still lack.

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Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert: 16 l/100 km | CO2-Emissionen kombiniert: 363 g/km | Emissionsangabe [1]