March 7, 2007: It’s a bright, picturesque morning as we kick-start our day at Hollywood’s famed Siren Studios with glam couple Mary J. and Kendu Isaacs. Not only is this Mary’s sixth Essence cover and the couple’s second, but 2007 also marks the fifteenth anniversary of Mary’s breakout album, What’s the 411? … Mary J. looks drop-dead gorgeous as she readies for her close-up.
Though shoot veterans, Mary J. and Kendu smile like new kids on the block when they hear our vision: a modern spin on that classic 1970’s love story, the movie Mahogany. Mary is quite at ease as makeup artist Troy Jensen illuminates her flawless skin, and hairstylist Kim Kimble delivers one irresistible do after another. As Kimble’s old-school playlist (including George Benson’s “Star of a Story” and Deniece Williams’s “Black Butterfly”) echoes in the background, Mary connects with photographer Mark Liddell while he gently directs her every move. When Kendu joins her on set, pulling her into his arms to the tune of Slave’s “Just a Touch of Love,” the tempo shifts. Asked how she feels, Mary simply says, “Gorgeous!”óMIKKI TAYLOR, beauty director and cover editor.
Kendu checks out his Queen.
Mary gets glam for her next shot.
Mary gets that glow!
It’s all in the angles.
Diamonds are a girl’s best friend.
Mary and Kendu pick out their favorite poses.