Do you think the fashion industry is racist?
In BBC World‘s “World Have Your Say” feature, they re-visit Nykhor Paul‘s open letter to international makeup artists who she thinks are racist. In her letter she talks about how the are never prepared when it comes to a black model and usually ask her to bring her own foundation etc when coming for a shoot, but never ask the Caucasian models to do the same.
Now, black model – Mulan Itoje is also sharing her thoughts on the issue. In her argument, she says she experiences the same issue when it comes to the runway and shoots. She recalls makeup artists always using Vaseline to highlight her skin just because she’s black, even though products to use in highlighting are available.
“You can’t really match different tones of white foundation to get black foundation, so even if you mix and match for a Caucasian model, you can’t really do the same for me if you actually don’t even have anything that is remotely similar to my shade. And I have my makeup cause I always bring it anyway and the same goes with hair that I will just always bring a wig or wear a weave; and it’s like black girls always wear a weave and well we have to. If you have your natural hair no one is going to be able to do it, so you have to wear weaves.
As soon as you start saying anything about what is preferred on your skin tone, or your type of hair, all of a sudden “oh, she’s got an attitude”, so you just have to keep quiet and take it. And in terms of highlighting, it’s not like a black person will have a different face shape from a white person, the highlight can be on the same face shape. Face shape varies not based on the colour, so the highlight will always be on the same place, but what you don’t need to do is use Vaseline to highlight everything on a black person which is all everyone is constantly using Vaseline, Vaseline, Vaseline, like “oh yeah, Vaseline on a black person”.
How is it that I can buy a product for a Caucasian model for 17 pounds from L’Oreal to highlight and not look as greasy as Vaseline but for me all that’s left for me is Vaseline. I just keep quiet. It’s hurtful but then you’re friend with these girls and they don’t they don’t understand the pain because they’re not going through it, there’s no point in dwelling on the negative, and you know you’re always going to look as good as everyone else anyway so just be positive.“
Other models and makeup artists have also commented on Nykhor’s open letter. Read Joy Adenuga‘s thoughts on racism in the fashion industry.
Photo Credit: Getty Images/Jason Carter Rinaldi