The lack of diversity in the fashion industry seems to be a never-ending conversation, as it appears that Black models are always being slapped in the face by casting directors and designers who make it obvious that they have a specific “Black girl quota,” which they refuse to exceed. Earlier this week, model Chanel Iman told The Sunday Times that she was no stranger to racism in the fashion world.
“A few times I got excused by designers who told me, ‘We already found one Black girl. We don’t need you anymore.’ I felt very discouraged. When someone tells you, ‘We don’t want you because we already have one of your kind,’ it’s really sad,” she regretfully revealed.
It appears that instances such as this one have caused young, up and coming models of color to want to disassociate themselves with their ethnicity, just so that they have more of a competitive edge in the industry. It was rather heartbreaking to watch Devyn, a contestant on Naomi Campbell’s modeling competition, The Face, reveal that she doesn’t consider herself a “Black girl model,” during an interview with Wendy Williams, which was seemingly a part of one of the competitive tasks given to contestants by the show’s panelists. The first red flag that appeared during Devyn’s interview was when Wendy asked her what advantage she believed that she had over her competitor Ebony, who just so happened to have darker skin.
” I feel like I have an international look and I have a story that can relate to everyone,” Devyn replied.
While her response seemed a bit suspect and a tad slighting, the way she answered the next question was mind-boggling and sent Naomi Campbell off the edge. When Wendy asked “Is it hard to be a Black girl model?”, Devyn responded:
” I don’t really consider myself a Black girl model. I know what my ethnicity is, but I’m fair-skinned and I feel like I have an international look.”
The moment those words left Devyn’s mouth, Naomi Campbell could be heard in the background, going off.
“What the f**k does she mean? That’s a disgrace. She’s a Black girl,” Naomi said to the other judges.
Since the airing of her highly criticized comment, Devyn took to her Twitter page to apologize to offended fans and suggest that the producers over at Oxygen edited her response.
Is “international look” the new code word for fair enough to pass the brown paper bag test?
Turn the page for footage of the interview. What are your thoughts on this? Was Devyn’s response misinterpreted?