Los Angeles native Slick Woods (born Simone Thompson) quickly made a name for herself as a model. She burst onto the fashion scene in 2015, modeling for major brands like Calvin Klein, Marc Jacobs, and Fenty Beauty. Now 23, Woods is making her acting debut in the indie film Goldie. She strips off the glamor and the glitz to get personal, telling a story that hits almost too close to home.
In Goldie, Woods plays the titular character, a teenager growing up in a low-income community in the Bronx. Burdened with the new responsibility of providing for her younger sisters after her mother is arrested, Goldie is forced to pursue every avenue (legal or otherwise) to make sure her family stays together. All the while, our free-spirited heroine attempts to hold onto her lifelong dream of becoming a superstar, the promise of a lead role in a local rapper's music video propelling her forward. Despite everything that is thrown her way, Goldie presses on, driven by her obsession with finding a way out.
The film may be based in the streets of New York, but Goldie is a raw story that has roots in Woods' native L.A. as well as its director's childhood near Amsterdam thousands of miles away. Growing up in the rougher areas of the Netherlands, director Sam De Jong had seen firsthand a similar struggle with poverty, and his personal experience inspired him to write the first drafts of the film.
After meeting Woods in 2016, de Jong decided to take Goldie in a different direction, basing much of the project's script on the model's tumultuous childhood. Like her character, Woods also grew up in an unstable environment. Her mother was also imprisoned (due to a manslaughter charge) when she was only 4 years old, leading Woods to wander the streets of L.A. for 12 long years.
Reliving that pain years later for the role of Goldie was understandably painful for Woods, specifically the scene in which the character's mother Carol (Marsha Stephanie Blake) is suddenly taken away by the police in front of her young daughters. "It was really hard to watch that over and over again, and then we did it like 30 times," Woods told The Cut last April. "I broke down, and I was like, Y’all playing dress up, you don’t know what real life is like...it was really hard for me because that’s something I really lived through."
Though it was a challenge, playing the troubled teen was a belated but very necessary therapy for Woods. And de Jong was instrumental in the intense process, helping the new actress tap into the deepest parts of her pain to embody Goldie. "It was rough, but at the same time, you were completely professional," Woods told de Jong in the same interview with The Cut. "You were like, Yo, let’s push through it, let’s use those tears. You really were on it, and that’s what helped me a lot. It kept me professional where I was like I’m crying, fine, let’s do this shoot real quick."
The emotional collaboration between Woods and de Jong paid off, resulting in an authentic and textured narrative about the endless pursuit of a dream no matter the circumstances. For Woods, Goldie was more than an opportunity to expand her career — it was a chance to finally share her story with the world.