My skin may have extra melanin than yours giving it a darker color, and even now in 2016 that bothers some people. Before modeling I never had any personal experiences with racism. I was never called names at school or felt like I didn’t belong. My complexion was darker than a good amount of my friends, but it had never been an issue because the color of my skin was just that, only a color.
As I stepped into the fashion world, I began to notice racism in many ways. While working for Abercrombie I would be the only dark skinned model at many castings. It was rare to find anyone of darker complexion in any of their ads. Since my move to Seattle I often find myself in similar situations, being the only dark skinned model at shoots for designers or walking in fashion shows.
I have been asked to participate in shoots and fashion shows where the makeup artist will request I bring my own foundation. Now this may not seem like that big of a deal until you stop and think about how many times the same request has been made of a light skinned model. They say my skin is so dark, unique and beautiful but can't supply the right makeup for me as they do for the other girls.
I was recently on the set of a shoot where the makeup artists didn't have the right color foundation to match my skin tone. The artist proceeded to try and blend the foundation down my neck and even put some on my shoulders to try and bring the lighter color down in hopes that no one would notice the color difference. As I looked at myself in the mirror, a sadness swept over me; I couldn’t even recognize the face that was staring back. I've never felt more ugly than I did in that moment. After a few shots the photographer noticed the issue: my face did not match my body. The makeup artist made another attempt to fix the mistake but was unsuccessful. Thankfully another makeup artist had arrived on set that was equipped with the right foundation for me. How can you call yourself an artist and only be able to appeal to one range of skin tones?
I didn’t write this post to gain pity but rather to bring attention to an issue that many might not even realize exists. The fashion industry has recently begun fighting for diversity in shapes and sizes on the runway and in print, but when will we start to fight for all the minorities in the industry.
This is a cry for change, a hope for a revolution. #blackisbeautiful