C.D, M.F.
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Variety COVER STORY

When a Mogul Is Doing a cover story, its more than just a Photo.

On my first day working with the Media mogul, Sean “Diddy” Combs, I became acutely aware of how intense, critical, and intelligent he is. Variety magazine was trying to do a cover story with Mr. Combs for the past six months, but countless writers and editors couldn’t seem to interview him and crack the complex nut that is Sean Combs. My first assignment – Day 2 to be exact – was to spend three days with Mr. Combs to unpack his thoughts, help build his point of view, and concept his ideas that he wants to express in this article.

We started with just conversations. We would sit for hours to discuss everything from some of the best creative we’ve seen, to what mark we want to leave in the world before we’re gone. Pretty deep stuff.

Then we moved on to whiteboarding. Mapping out the thoughts that we discussed the day prior and making them actionable. I’ve included some shots of these white boards to give a sense of the range of thinking we went through.

Our next step was to meet with Variety and pitch the strategy that was developed out of these sessions. The direction was well loved by the team, and the interview session then took place. Even though I attended the session per his request, it was very intimate and authentic. The article became one of the most powerful articles in his career. The article enticed The Jimmy Kimmel show to request his appearance and discuss the same strategy. You can view those interview snippets here.


My team created a behind-the-scenes video of the photoshoot for the Variety cover. We worked with legendary Australian photographer Robbie Fimmano to create the cover.


Lastly, we wanted to give Variety some iconic photos of Mr. Combs to display on the digital article. His overall direction to me was to find photos that “cement his legacy.” Fun fact, Mr. Combs has been documenting his entire life, everyday, for the last 30 years. Let that sink in.

So my role was to comb through terabytes of photos to find the 20 best and share with Variety, so I did just that. Here is some of the ones I picked out of the bunch below.