Prince is a unique musician. This we know. For his most recent video, he did something really strange: He chose an unknown teenager to direct it. Danielle Curiel, 18, is a fledgling dancer, model, and actress who got an email from Prince recently that changed her life. We talked to her about her crazy experience with the Purple One!
OK!: How in the world did you get connected to Prince?
Danielle Curiel: I got an email one day from Nandy and Maya, the Twinz. The email said, “Prince is requesting Danielle Curiel to submit a video for his new song,” and to pick my favorite choreographer, who is Nicole Kirkland. We did the submission, and he loved it. He asked me to write a treatment for it, to direct it, and he gave me a budget. I’m like, What! Me?! I’m only 18. He said he wanted it to be very big in the dance world, so I made it very dance-influenced. I had auditions, and there were like 1,000 people. That’s how it started.
OK!: Did you get a sense of why you? Had he seen your work?
DC: I asked him, and he won’t really tell me specifically how he found me. I feel that it’s through the internet, I’m sure he saw something of me dancing. That’s what Maya and Nandy say, that he just emailed them, and said, “This Danielle Curiel dancer, have her submit a video to me.” And that’s really it.
OK!: How did you get this idea for this look for the video?
DC: The song is very literal. It’s about breakfast. I was thinking, if he wants it to be big in the dance world, let’s make this song make sense with dance. I thought, I would add breakfast, which is why that whole comedic beginning is there, and it’s like, No, I don’t want breakfast, I want you. Instead of making it super sexual, I thought “Breakfast can wait—for dance.” Instead of staying in one place, we entered into this imagination world, in their heads. They’re in the kitchen, and this is in their heads.
OK!: And you’re in the video, right? You’re the main girl?
DC: Yes, I’m the red, curly haired girl.
OK!: Were you nervous about all this?
DC: For sure. [laughs] There was a moment when I was like, Oh my God, what am I going to do? I’m so young! But I feel, because I moved [to LA] when I was 16, I’m pretty mature for my age. So I’m like, I can handle it. I’m not a big crybaby or anything. I’m very strong, my mom raised me to be very strong. My mom was by my side the whole time.
OK!: I know he has a quiet personality and sticks to himself. Did you get to speak or interact with Prince at all in the process?
DC: We would communicate through email, so there wasn’t much speaking. He would always say his full-on ideas of what he wanted. It was good communicating with him—he was very, very open to all of my ideas. He really didn’t disagree with anything that I said. He just let me go, which was so awesome.
OK!: The video is pretty sexy. What did your family and friends think?
DC: They were fine with it. It wasn’t like I was being sexy to be sexy. Me being sexy is through my dance. They’re open. They didn’t say anything about it. They all loved it.
OK!: What’s next for you?
DC: I want to continue to direct. I loved the experience. I do love being on camera, though. I’m not going to do any more videos, but I’d love to do shows, I want to do movies. I sing, as well, with my sister. She was in the video, with the curly hair. She raps, and I sing, so we have a little duo thing, which Prince may be interested in. He’s helping us, developing us. We might get that going.
OK!: Whose career would you love to have one day?
DC: I think J.Lo, and Beyonce are amazing. I think they’re very, very strong, hard-working women, and they kind of do everything I want to do. They both act, they both sing, and they both dance, so that’s the model I want to go to.
Can you believe this wild story? What would you do if Prince emailed you? Do you like the video? Tell us in the comments below or tweet us @OKMagazine.