‘The Face’ Contestant Says She Doesn’t Consider Herself A Black Model Because She’s Fair-Skinned

March 22, 2013  |  

Source: Oxygen

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? 

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  • disa

    I’m the same skin color as her and i don’t even consider my self to be light-skinned, I’m black till I die…International?? She could only portray a black or mixed(with black) girl

  • dee

    I feel sorry for her. Self-hate is sad. I guess she never looked in the mirror. Black is Beautiful!

  • RealTalk

    Another sista girl fooled by flashing lights syndrome, plz! don;t perm your hair and get back to me about being exotic, you should describe yourself as toxic, because u have traces in your brain
    Why some light skinned sista can’t be proud of being black all our ancestors sacrifices, I’m lighter than her and totally black, black is the spice of life, without us it would be blan, so get it together no one will respect you now in the any industry
    . Dam sell out lmao

  • Coco

    Devyn thinks she is above darker black girls. I think the same too. Black girls are not as pretty as other girls. I have dated latino, white and black guys and NONE wants a black girl. You have to spend thousands of $$$ to have what I grown naturally. You will never look like me or have nice hair like me Niggerians.

  • Color Me Crazy

    Girl you are black and if she considers herself light skinned, then she is delusional. She is not light nor dark but in between both shades

  • She probably means just like black actor don’t want to just be seen as ‘black actor’s instead of simply an actor it is the same thing. TV will jack you up and yes of course they showed Naomi’s response but that could have been her initial reaction until Devyn cleaned it up. She didn’t say “I don’t consider myself black” There’s a difference. Leave this young lady alone.

  • more

    She is a disgrace !! This chick is white washed. Those White folk she be around made her feel like she was above being black! Now she act like she is not smh. I cant wait to see her reaction when realty sets in.

  • 2Ja2

    Doesn’t really matter if she considers herself a “black” model, the fashion world (and the world at large) will…Which is probably why she needed to go on the show anyway to get a break!

  • Candacey Doris

    I think she means that she doesn’t feel that the way she looks represents the look she thinks of as black women. But then that begs the question of what she thinks other black women are like? Everyone has their own style and if she’s thinking black women are either video girl or Alek Wek then she needs to really try and get her head into an international mindset and learn about diversity

  • jjac401

    Exotic – strikingly unusual or strange in effect or appearance.

    Ummm… I’m thinking this girl doesn’t have a real understanding of what exotic means. This poor girl thinks that because she is kinda “light” that she looks exotic? She embarrassed herself in a BIG way because she looks like exactly what she is – an attractive girl who is black. Nothing strikingly unusual or strange.

    The aspiring model beside her looks exotic to me. The very beautiful Naomi Campbell is certainly exotic looking and she is obviously not light, but has beautiful skin and features that make her stand out among others.

    Ignorant people who think “light” skin is something better need to stop being so ignorant. Skin color has has nothing to do with exotic.

  • ccn

    An TRUE international face would have ancestry from all over the world.

    • ccn

      Not only that, they would be genuinely wordly cultured, beyond pop-culture, and effectively communicate several languages fluently.

      Having fair skin, alone, doesn’t mean you have an international look, honey.

      • jjac401

        Girl PREACH!!!

  • yea right

    my sister and i was talking about light skinned girls acting like they are something exotic when they barely know English and couldn’t tell u anything cultural outside the hood. Chile please! u look like the typical black girl and act like it too. But if u watch the show when they show pictures of her daughter she is a dark skin little girl, not yellow, brown, or caramel but Dark.

  • Sagittarius81

    Ugh, I watch The Face and I cannot stand this bird, so I’m not shocked by her comment, she’s stupid like that. I’m fair-skinned and I’m 100% black and I’m so damn proud of it!

  • I am the same shade as this woman and I am highly insulted by her comment! Aint no way im gonna describe myself as having an “international look” what foolishness am i reading! Nothing against other races we are all beautiful made in Gods image but just no that I looove my BLACK skin and its caramel tone, and when the sun hits it and it turns a little bit darker than usual guess what I love it EVEN more! BLACK N PROUD over here! smh

  • Tehara

    As an afro latin young woman, with a similar complexion to this girls’, but rather different looks/facial features, i know exactly what i am, and my mother made sure that i grew up knowing and being proud of it. I don’t take offense to any comment that could be made about me and my “looks”, weither they come from uneducated white / black people, and racists hispanics. A few weeks ago i heard a young girl tell her friends who were teasing her: ” i’m not black ! i’m Dominican ! ” which made me laugh & realized that not everybody was as lucky as me to have parents who made me understand that you can be both, and that one does NOT negate the other.

    • Coco

      I’m a real latina pr/dominican. I don’t find black girls attractive. My bf is black though but I only keep him around so he can buys me things.

      • MissRealuminatti

        And he keeps you around because you’re a dumb and easy heaux.

        • cuteci

          Did this girl say so he can buys me things? That is the biggest clue to her inteligence.you don’t think black girls are attractive because they make you insecure.your culture is mixed with with afrocentric features.you just didn’t get enough ti make love that part of you.espeacially when it comes to that black man.feel scared i’m sure he finds his black woman attractive.lame.

          • Coco

            My bf hates dark skinned black girls and I hate black girls with their ugliness.

            • Isabella

              And white latinas hate pr/Dominicans with their ugliness you will never be Latina in the eyes of the world.

      • MissRealuminatti

        Also,it doesn’t matter if you find black girls attractive because PR/Dominican men loves black girls. Jealous hater!

      • jane

        Why exactly are you here on a black women’s blog then?

      • kierah

        What does “real” latina mean? Just curious

        • Coco

          I am light skinned with long silky hair not dark and nappy like you.

        • Isabella

          To most people it means Sofia Vergara, certainly not a dark skin pr/Dominican.

      • Sagittarius81

        Then you’re using him, ignoramus!

      • Isabella

        I’m a real white Latina (the real thing). I don’t find pr/dominican girls attractive. Not even the few that I know are attractive but I keep them around so they can remember who is boss.

        • Miranda

          I have to agree with Isabella a Puertorican/dominican combo is really scraping the bottom of the barrel. Neither are considered Latina in the Spanish speaking world they are looked down upon by all as a Mexican I can attest to this.

    • Isabella

      If she is not white with Castilian features she is black so describing herself by nationality does her no good, unless she is white. But Dominicans are from slavery so….

  • rubbish

    nonsense my dark hair is lighter than her

  • Ummm, she’s NOT fair-skinned! Wow…..

  • First of all, she’s not that fair-skinned. Some of my family can damn near be white, including my son and they consider themselves black. She can spin it how she wants, she’s still going to face the same struggles we all face!

  • bits

    all light skin black people…this includes black latinos as well…please take several seats.

    • britchick


    • Janae

      That’s stupid, not all of us have her mentality.

    • jasmine

      All jealous dark girls please take all the seats in the stadium.

  • Yay!

    This is clearly a low educated and misguided young lady… She thinks because she is light-skinned that she can play white or “international” as she put it. The truth is if she were a Latina, Asian or a white girl with dark features she would be treated like the token ethic on the runway lineup just the same. Let’s not turn this into a light vs. dark thing though. All brothers and sisters have a lil light skin and brown-skin in them:) Most allegedly light skin brothers and sisters are not this foolish either.

  • Them big lips and that nose should remind her

  • Brenda

    Average looking at best Selita Eubanks is better looking and has a better attitude. Devyn is going to learn soon enough that having lighter skin means little to nothing to the racist who won’t hire her to strut their collection. I am light skin, have wavy auburn hair and gray eyes and I have experienced racism in my profession. I have to stick up for myself because if I don’t I will get passed over in favor of a white woman less qualified than I am.

  • awet

    The whole notion that “light skin” equals exotic kills me. Not to be mean but many light-skinned people including the subject of this article look like basic black- Americans. I actually think their light skin devoid them from appearing exotic. Models that look like Alec Wek, Iman, Ubah Hassan, Naomi Campbell have a more exotic, regal, and international look to me!

    • ok

      I kinda see what you are saying..light skin is so prominent that it cant really be considered “exotic”

    • hell yeah

      100000 thumbs up @awet the lobster i had today was more exotic than devvyn

      • pretty1908


    • Kenedy

      Right? She does look like Bonquisha from down the block…international my behind

    • Suchalady

      Real Talk!

  • sammi_lu

    “Clean up on aisle 9”.. her response smells like nothing but damage control. I watched the most ignorant vlog yesterday that Tommy Sotomayor posted.. “Mixed and Light-Skinned Girls Do Look Better..Get Over It” the comments in that section from mostly blacks was devastating. We have got to instill in our kids at a young age to love themselves, and let this whole ‘shadeism’ die with our generation. We don’t love ourselves enough yet expect the rest of the world to embrace us.

    • jjac401

      It seem to me that shadeism is getting worse not better! I am aware that shadeism affect other races and cultures abroad. But After all of these years after slavery people still let the ignorant crap about skin color division continue to brainwash people. When will folks stop this ignorance.

      I have brown skin – and I find that it is one of the best features I have. When I was young I was teased, but now the same people who teased me back when are the ones with all of the compliments.

  • kierah

    Naomi’s reaction kinda punches holes in her story. Naomi heard everything Devyn said and she still got the same message that viewers got. Good luck with that!

  • Chey

    Devyn’s response was definitely not misinterpreted. She meant exactly what she said!

  • The racism in the fashion industry has a lot to answer to when it comes to pigeonholing their models. They select “one black model” and dismiss all the rest as excessive and only one will do the trick. The fashion industry is dominated by gays who arbor a racist mindset against any color that is not white. Yet they railed against the homophobia in the Hip Hop community and do everything they can to portray Hip Hop as close minded and anti-gay. To fashion designers it is okay to be racist but not okay to be homophobic. They need to get their house in order because they are 25 years behind the times. Any other industry would be sued for racial discrimination.

    • Tehara

      I beg to differ: The people FINANCING therefore dominating the fashion industry are powerful older white /STRAIGHT men (editors/owners of the big fashion houses) , these gay fashion designers you’re talking about are just puppets hired to be the name and face, they have very little say in the artistic directions, they do what’s asked of them if the wanna keep their jobs. When Anna Wintour decided to put a black model on a September issue for the first time 15 years ago, they told her that it would be a failure & that she might lose her jobs after that, the cover made headlines & the magazine was still a success anyway, but still, these same old white men signing the checks didn’t want a black woman on their magazine, because it didn’t appeal to THEM, they didn’t think it would appeal to the rest of the world, keep in mind that almost every decision is taken from their point of view. That’s why the acceptable version of a black woman is a white woman deeped in caramel.

      • Marcel

        No, the gay designers do not want to use black skinned models when they show up they tell them we already have our quota. The designers do have a say so no one is falling for that! Gay men & older white women are in control of the fashion industry.

        • Wilson

          Agree! designers may or may not have a say in who goes on the covers of fashion magazines but they most definitely have a voice when it comes to what type of model dresses for them at fashion shows. Don’t pretend that the designers are powerless pawns in this game because that is not true.

        • MissRealuminatti


    • MissRealuminatti

      very good point

  • SunshineBlossom

    Alright she needs to stop. Fair-skinned my behind, that girl look like Tyreka walking down the street in the hood. Lonette McKee is fair skinned. She is not. Lighter than Ebony? Yes, but not fair skinned. She does not have a story that relates to everyone because she denies part of her heritage. That is denying part of the world. So no, that “face” can go sit in a toilet bowl to contemplate another career. Next!