Ilfenesh Hadera of “Godfather of Harlem” Talks About Power Of Fashion

Ilfenesh Hadera, the self-professed homebody has seen her acting career rise steadily since her breakthrough performance in acclaimed HBO limited series Show Me a Hero in 2015, working with the likes of writer David Simon (The Wire) and director Paul Haggis (Million Dollar Baby), opposite Oscar Isaac (Moon Knight). She followed that up with a string of impressive recurring roles on hit shows like Showtime’s Billions and Netflix’s Master of None. After a high-profile turn as The Rock’s love interest in the blockbuster Baywatch movie adaptation (2017) and a prominent role in Spike Lee’s TV version of She’s Gotta Have It, leading lady was just around the corner.

Hadera currently stars as Mayme Johnson, wife of real life ‘60s mob boss Bumpy Johnson, played by Forest Whitaker in the EPIX drama Godfather of Harlem. The setting and era of the show allow it to highlight not only old-fashioned, big city gangster- ism, but more noble causes like the fight for Civil Rights (a budding Malcom X is another main character). These themes line up with Hadera’s passionate work with political refugees in her real life, fueled by her family and community’s experiences escaping tyrannical regimes in Ethiopia and other war-torn nations.

A walk through her childhood neighborhood in New York reveals a playful, vibrant 36- year-old who finds joy in perfect work/life balance and uses fashion as a mood barometer. When it comes to style, she knows there’s no such thing as “too old.

See Ilfenesh in season 3 of Godfather of Harlem expected later this year on EPIX and the Renny Harlin’s action flick, The Bricklayer.


Stay Ahead In Style
Sign up now for the latest runway updates, original editorials, emerging trends, and exclusive sneak peeks delivered straight to your inbox.
Thank You For Signing Up
You will hear from us soon.
Oops, something went wrong!

This will close in 0 seconds