December 1: World AIDS Day

December 1, 2017

FROM THE DAILY MAIL: HIV diagnoses have reached an all-time low in New York City, new figures reveal.

A report released today by the New York City Department of Health showed 2,279 new diagnoses were recorded in 2016 – a nine percent drop from the 2,493 new cases in 2015.

The biggest decrease in infections was seen among gay men, dropping 15 percent from 1,450 new cases in 2015 to 1,236 new cases a year later.

But while activists and public health officials rejoice, they warn there is one caveat: the rate of new diagnoses among women went up, suggesting public health campaigns may not have spoken to every demographic.
‘I feel very optimistic and motivated by these new figures,’ Dr Demetre Daskalakis, deputy commissioner for the health department, told Daily Mail Online.

‘It’s exciting, especially considering that many of New York City’s innovative “Ending the Epidemic” programming only really got off the ground in late 2016!

‘These 2016 numbers are a harbinger or good things to come as these new programs have more time to make an impact on HIV transmission.’

From Desiree: I am so honored and proud of the work I do for the NYC Department of Health and their “Be Sure” “Play Sure” and “Stay Sure” campaigns.  The message is working, “protect yourself, take precautions and know your status”!


Child Asthma is a serious health issue.  This PSA from the NYC Dept of Health gives parents tools to manage their child’s asthma and to keep kids healthy, so they can be kids!

Casting & Production by Desiree Kennedy Productions, working with Director Larry Baglio on another successful PSA!

Larry Baglio:

Wardrobe: Mindy Saad, Hair & Make Up: Tanya DeJesus & Eva Moshouris,                   Props & Sets: Natasha Senko. Location: DREAM Charter School East Harlem, NYC

It is that time of year!  Here is a new campaign Produced & Cast (English & Spanish) by Desiree Kennedy Productions reminding you to get your flu shot!

Director/DP:  Larry Baglio

Still Photographer:  James Weber


Wardrobe: Mindy Saad, Hair & Make Up: Tanya DeJesus & Eva Moshouris, Props & Sets: Natasha Senko, Sound: Andre Logan, Production Coordinator: Drew Tobia CREW: Sarah Stein, Duck, Sebastian Beckmann, Rico Elvina

Gun violence has increased in every major city across the United States. The city of Philadelphia has seen a surge in the past few years and has launched a campaign about the consequences of using a gun to “solve a dispute” or in the committing of a crime.

Philadelphia Magazine 6/9/2017: “On average, Philadelphia sees more than three shootings per day. So far this year, more than 480 people have been shot in the city, and 100 of those people have died”, according to the City Council.

Two days of still photography shot by Philadelphian Raymond Holman Jr.  Day 1 the location was a park in West Philadelphia which had been the location of multiple shootings and day 2’s location was the Curran Fromhold Correctional Facility (yes, a real, working prison).

Many thanks to the City of Philadelphia Police Dept. (who portray themselves in the PSA) and to my Philly crew: Production Assistant- Crystal Haring
Hair & Make Up- Jessica Saint and Toni Burke   Wardrobe- Christie Proud Bernstein

I would also like to thank all the local actors who did such a great job!





If you grew up in the Pennsylvania, NJ, NY area in the 80’s you’ll remember the commercials. A couple in a heart shaped tub, covered in bubbles, toasting with champagne glasses. You will also remember the jingle that ended “beautiful Mt. Airy Lodge!”. It was a lover’s get away with a big wink.

A few months ago, Stewart Cohen called me and asked me if I was available to
help him with an upcoming shoot there, I couldn’t resist singing him the jingle!

That old lodge and its heart shaped tubs were torn down years ago and in 2007 The Mt. Airy Resort & Casino opened. The place is hipper, the decor is beautiful, the rooms are modern and boutiquey. The casino is fun (one of our models won $480.00 at the slots!)and there are some great restaurants.

It was a fun day & 1/2!

Photographer: Stewart Cohen
Hair & Make Up: Margina Dennis
Wardrobe: Mindy Saad
Models: Christine Walker, Richard Glasser, Jamie Choi & John Anthony Wylliams.

Save a Life

July 7, 2017

If you live in a community or watch the news- you know that opioid addiction is a big and growing problem in our country.  In the tri-state area death by opioid overdose his at an all time high.  Personally, when I visit my family in NJ, I have been shocked by the amount of 19, 20, 23, 24 year old people in the obituary section of the Asbury Park Press.

It is shocking and sad.

I was asked to cast the campaign by the NYC Dept of Health’s ad agency; to find people who had personal stories.  Not professional EMTs, Doctors or Nurses, but folks who “saved” friends and family.  I listened to a lot of stories, some broke my heart.

The people in this campaign are not actors/models.  They are 100% real New Yorkers like you and me.  Their stories are true.

If you would like to be trained on what to do if someone is overdosing and to get a FREE Naloxone kit check out this site:

Photographer: James Weber

Stylist: Mindy Saad  Grooming: Mahfud Ibrahim  Backdrop: Oliphant  Studio: Go Studios

GREAT campaign- Just in time for PRIDE NYC!

The casting was so much fun!  “Are you ready to strip???” some folks weakly said “yeah?” but most said “HELL YEAH!”

About the campaign:  People who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer (LGBTQ) deserve to get the most out of their health care visits. That means working with providers who affirm who they are and incorporate their sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression into care.

“Bare It All” is a citywide campaign encouraging LGBTQ patients to have open and honest discussions with their health care provider.  Speaking of health care provider, our own Assistant Commissioner of Heath Dr. Demetre Daskalakis was part of the campaign!DOH_Bare_It_All_DrD2


Photography by James Weber

The “BE” Project

June 5, 2017

The Print & Broadcast campaign for “BE”; The Neighborhood Health Action Centers in Central Harlem, East Harlem, Tremont and Brownsville have everything you and your family needs to stay healthy!

When I was delivered the casting details, the NYCDOHMH was very clear they would like to focus on casting people from the following neighborhoods (and corresponding zip codes). Manhattan: Central Harlem, East Harlem  Bronx: Mott Haven, Hunts Point, High Bridge, Morrissania, Crotona, Tremont  Brooklyn: Bed Stuy, Bushwick, East New York, Brownsville.

So, we needed folks over 60, African American/Hispanic men over 60 who are Korean or Vietnam Veterans, B-Boys & Girls, Kids, West African young men, a young pregnant Latina with a toddler and Middle Eastern family with a kid under 12.

A challenge for sure, especially given I have to consider WHERE they live!

I actually live in the Central Harlem zip code in a housing complex built in the late 50’s/early 60’s. One of many complexes in the neighborhood that were marketed/advertised at that time to middle class African Americans living in the south- offering them better opportunities in the north. The average age of my neighbor is 70, and so many men here are Vietnam Vets. I hung fliers in all the laundry rooms AND even though many folks here don’t know my name, at the bottom of the flier I put: “Desiree aka the White Lady with the Little White Fluffy Dog”. BINGO, I got calls & emails!

The NYCDOHMH also likes me to reach out to Community Based Organizations; I made an amazing connection with Bronxworks!

They have programs for seniors, young moms, etc. They have centers in all the neighborhoods in the South Bronx where these health centers will be operating. Between the workers, volunteers and participants of Bronxworks programs we had a great showing!

I also hit up every livery cab driver I rode with up in my neighborhood since the majority are West African, but the language barrier was tougher than I thought.

It was a successful shoot; we experienced the wonderful farmers market at the beautiful Joyce Kilmer Park in the Bronx. Joyce Kilmer wrote the very famous poem “Trees” with the line:  “I think that I shall never see, a poem lovely as a tree.”  Good stuff in the Bronx! Our second location was East Harlem.

Photographer: (stills) James Weber    Director of Photography (video) Larry Baglio  Wardrobe: Mindy Saad  Hair/MakeUp/Grooming: Mahfud Ibrahim  Crew: Duck Feeney, Sebastain Beckmann & Rico Elvina  Casting Crew: Justin Wilson, Drew Tobia & Jesus Baez


December 21, 2016

It is EVERYWHERE in all five boroughs! There was “Be Sure” and then “Play Sure”, now there is “Stay Sure”!  We cast Gay, Straight, Trans, Gender Non-Conforming,  HIV+, HIV-, Caucasian, Asian, Latin and African American.  These shoots are always a lot of fun and great camaraderie happens between all the talent!

Photography: James Weber

SUBJECTS: Trevon Haynes, Joshua Keith, Xavier Smith, Richie Moo, Elliott Sailors, Peche Di, Sherise Powell, Kouryou Ngin, Raven Lopez, Caliph Jones, Anais Almonte, Anthony Varrecchia, Achilles Tsakiridis, Alisa Murray