Text: Eight black models speak about their experiences in the industry, the microaggressions they've experienced, the ways in which they have been made to feel less-than. Each model speak specifically to that body part or feature that once made them feel insecure but is now their biggest motivator.
Khoudia Diop, 19
I grew up in Senegal, where more than 50 percent of the women bleach their skin, and skin bleaching is a huge deal. I grew up seeing my cousins and my aunts using it. My cousin pressured me and they wanted me to use skin bleaching products but my sister said you're not using it because a lot of them experience the damages [from it].
I wanted to use it at a point, not going to lie, and I felt really ashamed of being dark, but my sister would always show me pictures of dark skin models, there weren't a lot, but she would show me pictures of dark skin models and say "this is not a bad thing and your skin is not a thing you have to change. It's unique and beautiful and you have to learn to know things you like about yourself and celebrate them.
Mominatu Boog, 21
I am very dark but I am very soft and feminine and I don't really feel like there is a lot of that in the dark skin market. Stop trying to make us out to seem like we are these animals.
I feel like in the industry when it comes to dark skinned women they always make us out to be these aggressors and these angry people when we're not. I don't have to shave my head to be a model. I don't have to look like I am going to bark at you to be a model. I like flowers. I like perfume. I like sweet stuff.
Kamie Crawford, 24
I once had a job where the client was so nice, the shoot was long and the rate wasn't amazing, but I wanted to do it regardless. I got there and the hairstylist was Australian. She went in to do my hair and she kept referring to my hair as an afro and my hair was straight this day. She was like "OMG this afro!" and I was like, what the hell are you talking about and she kept referring to my edges as afro bits. In a negative way.
[She said] "Omg your afro bits I just can't get them." It was taking so long to do my hair, the client asked what's going on, we are not on schedule, and she said her afro bits are too difficult for me to do them, I am trying to get them straight. Basically she was blaming it on me and making it seem like my hair and I were the problem but it wasn't me. My hair was straight but she just didn't know how to do it. Of course, it's offensive but I can't cuss her out and do my job at the same time. These microaggressions add up being a woman of color and others models who aren't of women of color don't have to face it.
Diandra Forrest, 27
People are curious about why I look the way I do. I have very full lips and I remember going to Paris and every casting director that I met was like "did you get your lips done?" And I am like what why did everyone think I got my lips done? Well, they didn't know I am black girl. I have a strong nose and I remember people suggesting that if I were to get my nose done I would get more work and I was just baffled.
I love my nose and I don't want to lose that part of me. To each its own, if you want to change the way you look to fit into society more or if it's something you want to do to make yourself feel better then fine but I don't think you should suggest to people what they should do because you don't completely agree with their look. There shouldn't just be one standard type of model. Beauty is diverse.
The rest at the source #1
sources : 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,