Bresha Webb would have made a great reporter. She rattles off fashion references, describes beauty techniques, quotes style luminaries, and credits contemporary designers with the authority of a seasoned fashion editor. “That’s kind of my obsession,” she revealed during a candid conversation on a Sunday. Her early exposure to fashion in the Black church inspired her personal style, which she said is a combination of Sporty Spice and Victoria Beckham.
Webb was perfect to bring to life Renee Ross on Starz’s unfiltered new show Run The World. Renee swats away colonizers, snacks on chopped cheese, and clinks champagne glasses with her girls. She’s partial to a “pop of color” that’s “sexy and vibrant” and loyal to her squad.
Created and written by former HelloBeautiful.com editorial director Leigh Davenport (Boomerang, Wendy Williams: The Movie) with super-producer Yvette Lee Bowser (Living Single, A Different World) serving as showrunner, Run The World brings viewers the best of both worlds: fashion and friendship. With Patricia Field—the iconic costume designer who selected Andy Sach’s Chanel Boots and Carrie Bradshaw’s blush tutu—and series costume designer Tracy L. Cox behind the seams, Run The World has been dubbed the Black Sex and the City.
Harlem serves as the backdrop for Run The World’s vibrant Black sisterhood story, and the fashion playground for the characters to have fun. Ultimately, Run The World is a love letter to Black fashion, and things that have raised me,” Bresha shared.
Her First Love
Bresha Webb fell in love with fashion sitting in a sanctuary pew. “I was raised in the church. So Easter Sunday and women’s day was a big thing. You know, Ebony, Fashion Fair, all of that.” The “women in the church” who dressed in their Sunday’s best for weekly service set the precedent for Bresha’s versatile style. “They know how to improvise with what they have and make it fashion,” she added.
Webb, a Baltimore native, spent afternoons after class at her performing arts high school in thrift shops in Bolton Hill and Federal Hill “mixing and matching,” she recalled. She and her friends would find treasures on the racks, something she learned from watching Sex and the City.
“My friends and I would give ourselves a Sex and the City day,” she joyfully remembered. “We would go to New York City for lunch, go shopping and then hop back on that Chinatown bus and go back to Baltimore.”
While the hit show inspired her deeply, Webb also makes it clear that home is where the heart is.
“We have so much flavor from Baltimore that a lot of people don’t know about,” she explained. “We have the drag culture from way back in the day. And so I love thrifting there cause you never know what you’re going to find, like a pink boa that you can make into a shirt. My mom was a seamstress, so I’m always looking for something that I can make my own.”
Nobody can drag or defend you like your squad. Run The World depicts the realities of Black women’s relationships we usually only hear about in podcasts and Facebook threads. “It’s a sisterhood. It’s more than friendship. Sisters see each other through every juncture of life.” Together they navigate f*ck boys, underfunded start-ups, and adventures in quasi-step-parenting.
“This show reminds me a lot of my friendships and my sisterhood and my tribe of friends. We have good days. We have bad days. We see each other through and we hold each other up and I feel like that is the difference between our show and a lot of other shows, the sisterhood. A part of this show is reflected in my life and I can see it in other people’s lives as well. Friendship is fleeting. Sisterhood is forever.”
Webb brings her authentic self to the role of Renee. “I’m a Taurus, so is Renee,” she said referencing her astrological sign. “I’m the bull in the room. I always want to make sure that everybody’s protected and respected, especially if you’re a part of my sisterhood. Sometimes that process includes pulling up the way her character can be seen doing in the show’s first season. Webb is proud to do what she needs to for her sisters “Everybody’s business is my business.”
In the hour we spoke, the cadence of Webb’s voice leaped through octaves. She perfected her Harlemite cadence by moving into the neighborhood during production “Doing the show I really wanted to live in Harlem so the majority of the show I stayed in Harlem. I lived right on 118th street and Frederick Douglass.” The energy of the area aided her performance.
The small-town feel of the Black metropolis appealed to her. “Harlem is its own thing,” she declared. “You really feel like you’re in a Spike Lee movie.”
“I was in it and it was great. It was awesome to just be amongst the people and to see the cultures and to see how everyone was in this vibe,” she said. “I knew where to get my burgers. I knew where I wanted to go get my best salad and where I could go get some African pieces and a head wrap. I knew to get my soul food at Sylvia’s. I was really making a life for myself in Harlem. And I was getting the vibe.”
She felt safe in a sea of faces that reflected her own. “I really felt protected over there. I felt like Black people had each other’s backs,” she said. “I felt confident walking down the streets of Harlem, I felt looking at the brownstones while drinking my coffee, that these are the same streets that so many legends have walked down and made their dreams happen. And I felt blessed to be a part of it.”
Small But Mighty
Webb, who shows off her curves in a slinky Laquan Smith dress in a scene at the NYC hotspot Up and Down, really loves her booty.
“I love being small, but I love my curves, and I’m so happy that I got booty,” Webb revealed with a chuckle. “I’ve worked really hard on it and I’m into making sure that the clothes I wear accentuate all of that,” she continued. “I like to get a lot of my things altered, so that I can show off my assets.”
Field and her team, including Tracy L. Cox, made her comfortable sharing what she thought on set. “It was a very open dialogue on what looks good on my body.”
That collaborative spirit was present in the makeup trailer as well.
“Tamara Delbridge, who did my makeup on Run The World, did an amazing job,” Webb said. “I think when makeup artists are on set it’s a true collaboration with the artist. It’s two artists talking to each other and collaborating. You’re introducing your skin to the person, and your face and how you like your makeup done and how you envision this character to look.”
Hair To Slay
“My hair always gotta be banging. I mean that! I say that’s an accessory because I change my hair so much.” When she’s done conditioning her crown with her favorite hair care products (TPH by Taraji Master Cleanse and After Dark Overnight Hair Mask, Pattern Leave-In Conditioner, and 4C Only Too Thicke Deep Conditioner), she’s planning her accessories around it. “I choose my earrings and my whole vibe, according to whatever my hair is giving.”
Webb revealed she was inspired by Davenport, who insisted her characters wear dramatic accessories. “Playing this character has made me a lot more comfortable with wearing big accessories. I have a very small face and a very small frame. So I always get overwhelmed by big gaudy earrings.
Davenport’s guidance demanded that she get used to sporting massive baubles. “She was like, ‘No, all of the girls have to wear really amazing jewelry and accessories,’ and that pushed the envelope for me.”
Webb wants the show’s glittering costumes and cocktail-drenched girl chats to provide a break from the world’s ugliness for viewers. “We’re 30 minutes of escapism. And that’s what so many of my favorite shows are. And so hopefully we can be a part of that collection of shows that bring people joy.”
She also wants Run The World to inspire. “I only hope and pray that our show inspires young women and women of all ethnicities, especially women of color, to be so proud of the vibrancy that they have…I hope it inspires them to be comfortable and confident in their own skin and to fearlessly walk in their truth. If I could be a part of their growth in that way, the way that Sex and the City was for me, the way that Yvette Lee Bowser’s Living Single was for me, it would be a dream come true.”
Talent : @BreshaWebb
Photo Assistant: @samcornwallphoto
Digi Tech: bnickleberry
Stylist Assistant: @chaquita_bee
Production: @jbthegawd @oraclemediallc