Diversity (or lack of) in the Modelling Industry

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The modelling industry. The epitome of glamour and fame. Well, that’s what we used to think. Over the recent years it has become more apparent of how tough this career path really is. From Kendall Jenner’s alleged bullying, to the fat shaming of models such as Barbara Palvin, we are slowly starting to see cracks in something that once seemed so perfect. Recently, Leomie Anderson was just another model to find difficulty within the industry.

Words by: Megan Horton
Edited by: Abby Kessock-Philip

The British model who has worked for the likes of Tommy Hilfiger and Victoria Secret, tweeted her dismay when she discovered her allocated make-up artist at NYFW awkwardly mixing foundation shades instead of using one that matched her skin tone. And why was this? The un-experienced make-up artist shockingly only had one shade of brown foundation, which clearly wasn’t the right shade.

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Anderson didn’t hold back her feelings, documenting her experience on her twitter page. Posts included images of multiples shades of white foundations and stylists attempting to control a black female’s hair.

1st tweet

2nd tweet

Can you blame her? I am not sure which confuses me most; the fact that the make-up artist was so unequipped at one of the most professional prestigious fashion events, or the fact that she offered to do Leomie’s make-up knowing she only had one shade. It’s shocking that we live in the 21st century yet ludicrous things like this still happen in the fashion industry.

Sadly this isn’t the first and won’t be the last time a black model has been wrongly treated in the make-up chair. Last year model champ Jourdan Dunn announced that she had now been subjected to wearing wigs due to lack of care taken to her hair. After numerous styling sessions by so many whom simply had no experience in styling ‘afro hair’, Jourdan was left with little to no hair around her hairline. It has often been stated that it’s harder to be black in the model industry, and this demonstrates just that. Why should someone have to worry about others doing their job correctly when they’ve got their own to focus on? We all know fashion week is one of the most stressful times in the annual fashion calendar, models have enough pressure on them to worry about other peoples professionalism. In the past, Jourdan has also explained her experience with make-up artists whom simply have no idea how to do black make-up, and often found herself using her own foundations in the bathroom trying to fix the mess the ‘so called’ professionals had made.

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Since her foundation incident, Leomie has now posted a video online entitled ‘The Black Model Survival Kit’, where she shows tips and tricks she has picked up along the way. Examples include: taking your own concealer palette, hair oil and even your own nude underwear. The video makes it evidently clear that black models have to go through a lot more than most with Leomie proving they always have to be prepared.

Speaking to the newly qualified make-up artist Marisa Miceli, I was told how she often finds herself turning away clients as she simply has no training in doing any other skin tones apart from white. When Marisa questioned this, her teacher explained that these skills are not a necessity, as there was little diversity within the class. A fairly outdated and ignorant response.

Not all make-up artists are clueless when it comes to this issue, some are perfectly capable of doing their job properly, and those who don’t aren’t, are not always to blame. However, in this day and age all hair and make-up artists should be fully trained and prepared for anyone whom may sit in their chair – whether that person is black, white, or any complexion in-between.