“To Me Race Is Not A Trend.” Tyra Banks Points Out A Troubling Pattern in the Fashion Industry

January 14, 2018  |  

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After spending quite a bit of time behind the scenes going to Harvard Business School, creating and producing shows and cosmetic brand “Tyra Beauty” and becoming a mother, supermodel Tyra Banks has returned to her throne on the famous panel of judges to host her hit show “America’s Top Model” which is currently in its 24th season. Banks is known for always testing the fashion waters and taking risks on aspiring models who may not meet traditional industry standards. Although the 44-year-old hasn’t been in front the camera for some time, while making press rounds for the latest season of ANTM, Banks returned to her roots of redefining beauty standards and working to end racially insensitive ad campaigns. While appearing on the AOL Build Series, the beauty and fashion mogul responded to a question about diversity issues within the fashion world and pointed out a trend she’s witnessed that bothers her personally:

“[The industry] is liberal and cyclical, and trends, Oh, it’s a black-girl season! Oh, it’s a Brazilian season! OK, now where are they? Oh, it’s the Russians! Oh, now it’s the Asian girls! To me, race is not a trend. My skin is not a trend; your skin is not a trend. We are who we are, so we should not go in and out of fashion.”

“The trend should be what we put on our bodies, not our bodies. And so that’s the part of fashion that I don’t like, is they’ll say, ‘Oh, the chocolate girls with the short hair is in for two years.’ And now, where’s that girl? She’s trying to figure out how she’s going to pay her bills, because she’s no longer hot, and cannot pay to get hired. And that’s what hurts me.”

This definitely isn’t the first time Banks has been vocal about the discrimination that often occurs in the fashion world. In an interview with Variety, she reflects on how conscious she was of being a black model in the industry from the beginning of her career:

“You know it’s so interesting because as a model, going back to my past, I didn’t feel the women glass ceiling because that industry is run by women — female models are paid sometimes 10 times more than a male model on a set. I didn’t have that mindset that I’m a woman and it’s holding me back. I felt I’m a black model and that’s what’s getting in the way of me having the same opportunities as other people — or should I say, it was getting in the way of other people, it wasn’t in my way. So that was more of my challenge.”

If anything is clear, it’s that despite however many projects Banks has going on she is dedicated to making sure that careers in modeling and fashion are accessible to anyone who has an interest, despite their differences and working to break the rigid rules of what the industry says is “beautiful”.

You can check out her appearance on AOL’s Build Series below:

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