Damian Bao Casting is a top global creative casting studio that does traditional casting by considering represented actors and models and specializes in a seamless hybrid authentic casting style that combines actors, models, artists, real people, and dynamic street finds to create bold and striking visual projects in film and advertising.
We advocate for authenticity, inclusivity, diversity, and empathy and celebrate individuality and unique voices through storytelling. We help clients and collaborators worldwide break rules and break the glass ceiling on screen and behind the scenes. Meticulously led by casting director and producer Damian Bao, we are unapologetic visual troublemakers.
A FULL SERVICE CREATIVE CASTING STUDIO
ABOUT DAMIAN BAO
Damian Bao (he/they) is an award-winning queer Asian American filmmaker, producer, casting director, visual artist, impact strategist, photographer, and human rights advocate.
At 6 months old, his family escaped Vietnam as boat people. His early memories in refugee camps in Thailand and Indonesia, and his colorful adolescence in a diverse trailer park community on the outskirts of New Orleans, inspired Damian to always seek to tell authentic stories and give voice to humans and sentient beings who are voiceless, unseen, and disregarded in the world.
Frustrated by the lack of diversity in the media in the early 2010s as a fashion photographer, Damian started working in casting and production so that he could be involved in the hiring of talent both in front of and behind the camera. His unique life story, as a marginalized outsider belonging to multiple disenfranchised groups, has allowed him to speak from the heart when fighting for change. His distinguished portfolio in the past decade has bridged the worlds of film, art, fashion, and music with raw and unapologetic authentic representation.
FASHION AND ADVERTISING
Damian has cast diverse campaigns and commercials for brands, such as Estée Lauder, Prada, Valentino, Gucci, Versace, Cavalli, L’Oréal, Maybelline, DKNY, Balmain, Burberry, DVF, Nike, Gap, Adidas, Puma, Mercedes-Benz, Cadillac, Facebook, Apple, Google, Samsung, LG, Instagram, and Vogue. In 2020, he became the casting director for Black Opal, the most long-standing and popular beauty brand associated with serving the cosmetic needs of black women since 1994, and Fashion Fair, which in 1973 became the first international prestige cosmetics brand for darker skin tones. He has been working directly with CEO Desiree Rogers in reviving both brands and attaching actresses Ryan Destiny and Kiki Layne as brand ambassadors. Leiomy Maldonaldo also made history becoming Black Opal’s first openly trans model. The 2022 HBO’s documentary THE BEAUTY OF BLACKNESS (2022 Tribeca X Feature Film Award) featured Damian’s casting for the historical relaunch of Fashion Fair.
MUSIC, ART, AND CULTURE
Music artists, such as Beyoncé, Coldplay, FKA Twigs, A$AP Rocky, Princess Nokia, Father John Misty, and Super Junior all seeked Damian to help them cast and discover unknown faces for their music videos. He worked with legendary rapper Nas‘s company Mass Appeal and Showtime on live pop up experiential spaces for Hip Hop 50, a 3-year multi-media program celebrating Hip Hop’s 50th birthday.
In the art world, Damian’s casting work for artist Adam Pendleton‘s exhibit “Who Is Queen?”, dubbed one of the museum’s most complex projects by The New York Times, was on display at The Marron Atrium of the Museum of Modern Art from 2021-2022. The project explored Blackness, masculinity, abstraction, and the avant-garde. During the pandemic, he collaborated with critically acclaimed visual artist Mika Rottenberg on her first feature-length film REMOTE (2022), which stars MacArthur Fellow “Genius Award” performance artist Okwui Okpokwasili, Korean newcomer Joony Kim, and 4 other female or non-binary talent all speaking different languages in the futuristic 7-languages feature narrative. Co-created by multidisciplinary storyteller Mahyad Tousi, the film is touring the globe from 2022-23 at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (MAC) – Canada, Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) – Los Angeles, Busan Biennial – South Korea, Artangel at the Tate Modern – London, Moderna Museet – Stockholm, X Museum – Beijing, and other major international art venues. In a partnership with the Studio Museum in Harlem and Public Art Fund, Damian’s casting for artist Jacolby Satterwhite’s video for the inauguration of the Lincoln Center’s new David Geffen Hall is currently displayed on a 50-foot video media wall in the building’s lobby. Showcasing the work of more than 100 music and dance students found by Damian from local schools in all 5 boroughs, the ambitious project is a reimagination of the New York Philharmonic’s historical lack of diversity. It is the biggest and most diversely cast public artwork ever made in NYC and will be live until 2024.
FILM CASTING AND PRODUCING
Damian Bao is known for his expertise spearheading a distinct hybrid casting strategy combining professionally trained actors and artists with cinematic and dynamic street finds and real people. He often works 6 months to 3 years on the casting of a narrative feature film, leading and directing a team to scout, research, and outreach all over the world to find unique talents. He started his film career as the associate casting director on Oscar-winning director Andrea Arnold’s AMERICAN HONEY (2016 Cannes Jury Prize winner) and Ryan Gosling’s LOST RIVER (2014 Cannes Un Certain Regard nominee). He then went on to start his own casting studio to lead the casting for Sam de Jong’s GOLDIE (2019 Berlinale Crystal Bear nominee) for Vice Films & 20th Century Fox. Damian street scouted Slick Woods before she became Rihanna’s Instagram muse and immediately introduced her to Sam and Vice after reading the GOLDIE script. For Danielle Lessovitz’s PORT AUTHORITY (2019 Cannes Un Certain Regard nominee), Damian street scouted and discovered Leyna Bloom at an underground voguing ball in Philadelphia on his cross country drive talent scouting for the leads. His team auditioned thousands of trans and queer POC from all over the world for the lead and supporting roles. Leyna became the first trans person of color to lead a movie at the Cannes Film Festival. The casting received unprecedented press as Leyna was the most written about casting discovery in the festival’s 72-year history. In the world of documentary, Damian cast for Oscar nominated director Garrett Bradley’s work for Netflix’s TRIAL BY MEDIA (2020).
Damian also served as associate producer under executive producer Martin Scorsese on PORT AUTHORITY. He is an associate producer on the Korean-American-Italian co-production ABROAD (post production) by director Giovanni Fumu. He recently wrapped casting on Peter Vack‘s Sundance double granted sci-fi social satire www.rachelormont.com (post production), of which Damian is also an executive producer.
In an effort to elevate the voices and careers of female, queer, and non-binary directors and writers and create space for a more truly diverse and equitable film industry, Damian still occasionally produces and casts short films when his schedule is open. He cast Erin Lau’s award-winning Asian-led queer romantic comedy ALL I EVER WANTED (2022 HollyShorts Best Comedy winner) for Film Independent’s Project Involve. He recently cast Ragini Bhasin’s HAPPY RAKHI (post production) and Banban Cheng’s HEARSAY (post production). Both scripts are winners of the 2022 Julia S. Gouw Short Film Challenge and are executive produced by Janet Yang, Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment (CAPE), and Damian Bao.