The fashion industry has undeniably made strides towards becoming more diverse, including models of different races, ethnicities, skin colors, and looks in recent years more than ever. While the change is certainly a positive one, it may not be as progressive and positive as it seems.
Model, Nykhor Paul, explained in an Instagram post last August the struggles she still faces as a “blue black” model working in the industry…and even more so, other models hesitancy to speak out against these issues due to fear of not being booked for jobs.
Paul explains that makeup artists are often unprepared and models with darker skin tones are asked to bring their own makeup to professional shows while those of lighter complexions do not.
“Just because you only book a few of us doesn’t mean you have the right to make us look ratchet. I’m tired of complaining about not getting book as a black model and I’m definitely super tired of apologizing for my blackness!!!! Fashion is art, art is never racist it should be inclusive of all not only white people, shit we started fashion in Africa and you modernize and copy it! Why can’t we be part of fashion fully and equally?”
Paul is not the first model to speak out against this issue either… Supermodel, Tyra Banks, told HuffPost she had to create her own foundation kit in order to avoid embarrassing makeup artist mishaps. Her advice to every model is to “come prepared”, saying that, “Yes, complain. Get the word out. Spread the word. But, while you’re spreading the word, make sure that you’re looking right and tight and take it into your own hands.”
After all, are we really making strides in an industry when people of color are still being treated differently? When they are forced to bring their own makeup to sets and are a statement in the show…. Not really. Hopefully Paul, along with Banks and other influential models are able to bring this issue back to the forefront to demand that they are not only represented in the industry but also respected and treated equally.