Cheryl Boone Isaacs made history in 2013 when she became the the third woman and first African-American president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. It wasn’t the first time the Hollywood vet had broken boundaries. In 1997 she served as president of theatrical marketing at New Line Cinema—a first for a Black female executive.
Here are five more things to know about Boone Isaacs.
1. She has over 30 years of experience working in Hollywood. Some highlights include her work behind the marketing campaigns for blockbusters like Forest Gump and Braveheart. As president of theatrical marketing for New Line Cinema in the 90s, Boone Isaacs oversaw box office hits like Rush Hour and Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.
2. She began her professional journey as a publicity coordinator at Columbia Pictures. Her first assignment was working the film junket for Close Encounters of the Third Kind. “I remember being so excited to drive onto the studio lot every day,” she told ESSENCE. “I told myself, I’m going to put my head down for 10 years and not look up. This is a tough business, and you’ve got to have something inside that makes you want to do your best and be counted on as a good team member.”
3. It was her brother Ashley A. Boone, Jr., a film marketing and distribution executive, who inspired her to pursue a career in Hollywood. “Ashley was a trailblazer in the entertainment business,” she told ESSENCE of her brother, who passed away in 1994. “He had the first title of president of marketing and distribution at any studio.”
4. In 1999 she launched the consulting firm CBI Enterprises and has consulted on films like The Call (starring Halle Berry), The Artist, and Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire.
5. Before her election as president, Boone Isaacs had served in every office within the Academy’s board of governors.
Join our red carpet live coverage of ESSENCE’s Black Women in Hollywood event this Thursday, February 24 at 11:30am PST, honoring Cheryl Boone Isaacs. Lupita Nyong’o and Ava DuVernay.