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“I’m definitely super tired of apologizing for my blackness”! South Sudanese Model, Nykhor Paul has a Message for the Fashion Industry



Nykhor Paul - BellaNaija - July2015Nykhor Paul has had enough!

The South Sudanese model and activist has always been very vocal about her thoughts on equality in the fashion industry when it comes to beauty, race and the industry’s practices in general.

As a former refugee, Nykhor has reiterated how she wants to pave the way for model-hopefuls from Africa to achieve their dreams of modelling too; and with this message seems to be trying to make sure the industry is ready for an incoming crop of young black models.

In a recent Instagram post she shared how the fashion industry is quite racist drawing instances from shows where she was asked to come with her own makeup because the makeup artist don’t come prepared for her dark skin. Read her post below;

Dear white people in the fashion world!
Please don’t take this the wrong way but it’s time you people get your shit right when it comes to our complexion! Why do I have to bring my own makeup to a professional show when all the other white girls don’t have to do anything but show up WTF! Don’t try to make me feel bad because I am blue black its 2015 go to Mac, Bobbi Brown, Makeup Forever, Iman cosmetic, black opal, even Lancôme and Clinique carried them plus so much more. There’s so much options our there for dark skin tones today. A good makeup artist would come prepare and do there research before coming to work because often time you know what to expect especially at a show! Stop apologizing it’s insulting and disrespectful to me and my race it doesn’t help, seriously! Make an effort at least! That goes for NYC, London, Milan, Paris and Cape Town plus everywhere else that have issues with black skin tones. 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?


Nykhor Paul - BellaNaija - July2015001

Nykhor has walked the runway for countless designers, the last of which was the ILJA for their Fall/Winter Couture 2015 show in Amsterdam. Maybe that was the label that prompted this message?

What do you think BellaNajarians?

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Jason Carter Rinaldi | @Nykhor (Instagram)

Jennifer is the Beauty Editor & Style Representative of Get in touch - Send an email to: beauty(at) or style(at) | Follow us on Instagram: @bellanaijabeauty OR @bellanaijastyle | Follow us on Twitter: @bellanaijastyle


  1. lolipop

    July 7, 2015 at 3:23 pm

    way to go gurl!!!,luh ya olredi….super tired of apologizing for my blackness!!dts my point ryt der, muaaaaaahhhhhh

  2. Jane Public

    July 7, 2015 at 3:38 pm

    …………………………and that is just how this girl has tanked her career. Go ask Linda Evangelista, Madam i don’t get out of bed for less than $10000 a day, what happened after she made that daft statement. There are ways to address this issue without coming across like a belligerent child. Tyra herself has addressed the makeup issue and it challenged brands to be more inclusive, even inspired new makeup brands for black people to spring up. In the corporate world, rant like this to your boss and you get fired immediately. The fashion industry doesn’t like loud mouth models. You are to be seen and not be heard.
    If Naomi can still be relevant AT HER AGE, and is a black woman, who are you again????? You just sound like the stereotypical angry black woman, and such ranting will make you disappear into oblivion. Rant with your girls over a glass of wine, don’t come to social media and talk like this to your employers and prospective employers. You can use social media to address your situation positively and let people be the one to fight for you or champion change, you know how powerful social media can be on public issues.
    If i was in charge of booking models, best believe, i will drop your name to the bottom of the pile and I am a fellow black woman. When she starts begging for jobs, she will start saying it is people from her fathers village that are responsible. No one is asking you to conform, take it lying down and play dead, because we all know the fashion industry is racist, but you could have addressed the issue without throwing all your toys out of the pram.
    Jordan is black, Chanel Iman is black Jourdan Dunn, Alek Wek is black and they are ten times more successful than you, but you had to be the big mouth. Especially in an industry that doesn’t tolerate open criticism from models that they pay, or feeling too arrogant (enter Linda Evangelista). Even white models are supposed to be seen and not heard, not to talk of you. Even flavour of last year Lupita is toeing the line. They use her when they want to have a black face to showcase and Madam is quietly smiling to the bank. Then who are you, the female version of Rev Al Sharpton or Jesse what’s his name. LMAO. I just can’t i swear. Dear white people!!!!! ROTFLMAO. Girl, you need a PR spokesperson and Olivia Pope herself to fix this mess you have landed yourself in. Better retract it and find a way to pass your message across, smelling like roses

    • guess

      July 7, 2015 at 5:25 pm

      “Even white models are supposed to be seen not heard not to talk of you”
      Did you really say that? So because some dumb white model doesnt know her right,she should follow suit? Jane! You are amazing.

    • Nicole

      July 7, 2015 at 5:51 pm

      My dear, that line should not be surprising, seeing the level of Stockholm Syndrome a lot of Blacks have……even in 2015. Silly ass Uncle Ruckus Daughter @Jane Public… and you are a black woman…clap for yourself. Not every black woman wants to be a mule.

    • Modakeke

      July 7, 2015 at 6:41 pm

      I guess you guys didn’t read the beginning of the comment. I totally agree. There are better ways to address this issue. You two that are talking, rant like this in an email to your boss in Europe, Canada or the U.S. And see if your ass won’t be out of the door so fast. Bells naija commenters and their unrealistic views of life. You will comment one thing online and do the opposite in real life. Amo Iru yin. Shior!!!! Linda Evangelista was white and her career tanked after she made that comment in a mag. The fashion industry doesn’t want their models talking in this way, whether white or black. When she stops working, I guess you black mama Africa ninjas will employ her. Yeye dey smell

    • cryingneversolvedanything

      July 7, 2015 at 7:03 pm

      @Jane Public I used to think you were smart only for you to show your behind as a white apologist and respectability politician. Let me refresh your memory RACISTS ARE RACISTS, WHETHER YOU COMPLAIN OR NOT THEY WOULD STILL BE RACIST TOWARDS YOU JUST FOR THE REASON THAT YOU ARE BLACK.
      You need to go open a book to brush up on your self esteem as a black person.

    • beast

      July 8, 2015 at 1:11 am

      How else should she have put it???? Or on what platform should she have laid her concerns???? You seem to know a lot about achieving success, please what have you achieved apart from your show of obsequious attitude towards the white race that obviously don’t give a f- about you cos you are a f- nobody. Please the model made a valid point.Africans welcome oyibos too much and this has made them treat us with disdain. They can keep their f- jobs but harsh standards have to be set when doing business with them. Wr can keep taking their chicken shit

    • A

      July 8, 2015 at 9:59 am

      i am disappointed in your reply!!!!

      Please don’t mistake the other black models silence for acceptance. You best believe that they have been ranting for years and were unfortunate to have worked before social media. And FYI Naomi C is a known sellout and she is also known to have sabotaged many a black models she saw as a threat (ask Tyra). The fashion industry is racist – and not just to models but to we the consuming public. We are forced to wear clothes that are cut for white girl body shape and for years, forced to wear raggedly ass makeup and go to hidey holes to get our hair done or buy hair products (for those of use living in the diaspora). So, I am proud of her for taking a stance!

    • Jane Public

      July 8, 2015 at 1:37 pm

      It is your prerogative to be disappointed, I didn’t write the comment for your approval and I stand by it. All what you wrote below, is just complaining. They forced you to wear their clothes. OMG!!!!!! Are you for real. You see why the larger society doesn’t take many people with this stance seriously. They FORCED you to go to hidey holes to buy hair products and get your hair done. This blaming the white man mentality is getting old. Scratch that, it IS already old. Oprah is a billionaire, she made it on her own. No wait, she is a sellout too. Sure!!! Obama too is a sellout. How heavy is that chip on your shoulder. they forced you. Please don’t go out and say that in public. @Modakeke, you have given my comment the cherry on top that it needed. A very realistic view, true to the situation view. Don’t worry, the people egging her on, still went to work in Canada, UK and the US as you said. A Yoruba employee can’t even send this kind of message to their Igbo boss. I just don’t agree with you calling my fellow bella naija commenters, bella ninjas and the rest though. What’s that about…. not cool at all

    • cos i say so

      July 10, 2015 at 10:10 am

      I dont like what you wrote, frankly i dont care cos i live in naija and racism even in a black country is real so if this babe wants to rant.. ki lo ko mi
      I only commented to say that i love the way you write
      Do you have a book? i’d like to read it or do you have a blog, i’d like to follow
      Err as a sidenote, i think people are reacting to how you said what you said just the way you reacted to the way the black model said what she said…

    • Black and proud

      July 14, 2015 at 5:32 pm

      Is there somewhere for one to dislike this comment! This is the reason Africans can’t get ahead. This broad is asking her to shut her mouth and smile to the bank, i bet you are the kind to bleach your skin just in the name of conformity. Kmt!
      On the flipside, i love her rant and she couldn’t have said it any better. And yes, ‘Dear white people’ as a race we have been through a lot of BS historically and we earned the right to refer to y”all as White folks.

  3. Diddy

    July 7, 2015 at 3:54 pm

    hello girl friend dont act as if u dont know racism occurs in fashion/modelling industry,iman(david bowie’swife)naomi,tyra,all experience racism and it go to a point they all had to deal with it,so what ever u encounter in ur field u just have to deal with it,as u know the whites own and dictate the fashion/model world,when u r a black or anoda minor race in a much dominated white world just be prepared for the unexpected cos for u to excel it really takes a lot of perfection and luck and most importantly the whites in the fashion/model world to have your back.

  4. Neneh

    July 7, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    Why are you apologising in the first place?

  5. Tuu

    July 7, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    Oh Lawd! I’m so tired of this black skin/Light skin issue, Can we just move on already, this is getting old.

    • seun

      July 7, 2015 at 4:37 pm

      Serioulsy. I’m beyond exhausted.

      This model needs to just work and keep it moving. Learn from your fellow African model , Iman Bowie. She was able to build a successful business by meeting a need in the beauty and modelling industry.

      Do a good job and you will keep getting calls.

    • cryingneversolvedanything

      July 7, 2015 at 7:06 pm

      @Tru another ostrich in the building. We can never move on until the day we as black people learn and start to own and control industries. Until then you can never get your wish.

  6. Tunmi

    July 7, 2015 at 5:00 pm

    Chalé na so una hate each other reach??? No she has not tanked herself. And if those like you refuse to give her work over this, she will be fine. There will always be others to support you and your brand, that is the amazing thing about this life. If that man who murdered people in a church can have people donating money for him, then Nykhor will be fine. Yes others dealt with it. She had dealt with it and she will be fine from speaking against it.

    • Modakeke

      July 7, 2015 at 6:58 pm

      You can speak against it but not in this way, rubbishing your employers. Imam and Tyra spoke against it and the industry stopped and listened, slow yes and more should be said about it but not like this, definitely not in this manner. This is a childish rant that has done her career more harm than good. When you talk like this people lose the message and see it as another black woman ranting again about racism. I dare anyone to send that kind of email to their bosses abroad. You and many bella naija commenters need to get your heads out of the clouds. The utopia you guys have built on bella naija doesn’t exist. I read some of your comments and laugh my head off, because y’all can’t be that naive. Models have ruined their careers with careless comments, especially in an industry where they can replace you so fast, your head will spin. Too many girls waiting for your position. It doesn’t mean she should be grateful she has a job and just suck it up, because anyone who doesn’t agree with her according to you “bella ninjas” is asking her to accept it and shut up, but this rant, yes that is what it is, won’t make the situation any better.

    • tunmi

      July 8, 2015 at 2:58 am

      What makes you think she hasn’t tried other avenues?

      You mentioning imam and Tyra brings up another point, this is a completely different time especially with the use of social media. I recall the woman who was traveling from London to South Africa who tweeted, “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!” Her tweet went viral and the entire Twitter-verse knew she was fired before she landed. And she was. Currently, she has no media presence and she no longer has the lucrative job she had. My point being, people are now armed and aware to the -isms of society. So if she ends up not booking jobs because of this, it will make news. Frankly speaking, she should be booking gigs left and right because of the attention her post is getting. What better PR could the fashion world ask for?

    • Modakeke

      July 8, 2015 at 8:17 am

      Wrong example. Your example just buttressed my point. That woman made a careless comment on Twitter and got fired. This woman has also made a careless comment on social media and will not get booked as much. If she doesn’t get booked as much, it will make news. Okay, confirmed, you are naive. Make news by who? Okay, she will come back and rant again about not getting jobs, and people like you who egged her on, will come out again outraged, to soothe her ego and you all will go back to your cushy jobs, sucking it up if I might add (again I repeat, I DARE you to send this kind of message to your boss’s abroad, EVEN IN NIGERIA, YOU WILL get fired), so this whole acting brand new abi should I say internet armchair activists is some funny shit. I beg una, live in the real world. If as much “activism”, notice the quotes, that goes on, on Bella naija is reciprocated directly in the real world, we would have noticed something by now, but nooooooo y’all come here and preach one thing and do the next. Egging on some poor confused soul who will read this, follow your advice and you guys won’t be there to pick up the pieces when shit hits the fan. This IS going to affect her career negatively and if it makes “news”, laughable at best, you think that would bully the fashion industry to hire her?????? She could have used her experience with racism in the fashion industry positively. She could have championed the cause, be the face of black makeup or something, brands will be falling over themselves to use her, the way Lupita is being used. She could have been the model version of Lupita for brands like loreal and Lancôme and black up, even an Iman spokesperson, she could have gotten Oprah’s attention etc, but no, she had to go all ninja Mrs Sharpton on us for some publicity stunt that will backfire. Reminds me of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. Those two have become tolerable nuisances to black people. Always there promoting themselves instead of the issue. Express your anger at discrimination, in a way that people will stop and listen to the MESSAGE, not write you off as another “angry black woman”.

    • NothingIsGivenFree

      July 8, 2015 at 3:16 pm

      Nothing in this world is ever given freely, it is all about interest and taking opportunity. The change that is needed will not start by keeping quiet. If you want to know the effect she has made already, think no further because we are already talking about this issue and I guess the world will also take notice too. I am all for effective communication but there is also time for some radical form of communication and this is one of them. She is being Assertive.

  7. GhatanArewa

    July 7, 2015 at 6:15 pm

    I really do understand her … with the fact that I”m dark skinned .

    It’s really hard being dark skinned in a world where erry’one is changing their skin tone and all that shii..
    Nevertheless.. It’s High Time Dark Skinned Girls… Especially The Young Ones Like Myself Begin To Embrace The Colour Of Their Skin.. And To Help In Building Their Confidence I Recommend That You Listen To “For Colored Girls” By SuliBreaks…
    And Everyday When You Wake Up… Look In The Mirror And Tell Yourself :My Black Is Beautiful”

  8. Mee

    July 7, 2015 at 6:18 pm

    @Tunmi, well said.
    Don’t mind Jane and similar comments. So because the industry is racist, she should accept it and keep it moving? Maybe MLK and others should have accepted segregation and kept it moving. Smh.

    To be fair, although jane said there are other effective methods she could have communicated her point through, she should have listed those alternatives. It doesn’t help when you cruise so vehemently without offering solutions. Doesn’t help at all.

  9. Drknite

    July 7, 2015 at 8:54 pm

    She looks like my brother.

  10. ANITa's Pikin

    July 8, 2015 at 5:38 am

    Men, this girl just pour sand inside her garri. i hope you got another hustle because you are right but suffer for the others to come. ride on. i give you hi 5

  11. Madame Solange

    July 8, 2015 at 9:27 am

    This girl should go and learn how to play “The game of thrones” from Tyrion Lannister, see how it Ned Starks approach didn’t work, which is what she just did. Nne it’s a dog eat dog world out here. So she should change her game tactics. At he end of the day if Alek Wek and Lupita have make up shades, I believe you should. diplomacy is key when dealing with the world.

    • Jane Public

      July 8, 2015 at 1:38 pm

      GBAM. Play the game differently, but noooooo, some people would rather her throw a tantrum. Like that has ever solved anything.

  12. mz_daniels

    July 8, 2015 at 1:50 pm

    I’m thinking Modakeke’s point is about tact.

    Sometime’s you pick your battles and wait for the right time and avenue. ‘To be angry is easy but to be angry at the right time is the challenge’.

    Maybe the babe should have called up Iman for some coaching, made friends and contacts and gotten to the Top AND when she does, start talking about this ( heck, scratch that, use her connections to pave the way for black people).

    We all do this oh, work, invest, make connections etc. The words of a successful man are regarded as wise words while that of a not so successful person is called a rant ‘Wisdom is profitable to direct’.

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