She is a stunning Instagram model who currently has over 40,000 followers. Looking flawless in a Fenty Beauty mattemoiselle lipstick, the young woman’s perfectly brown skin, almond eyes and short haircut speak instant fierceness. But guess what?
She’s not real.
And it’s not entirely clear whether Fenty Beauty was aware of this.
Cameron-James Wilson, a white British photographer, created Shudu, a deep brown-skinned digital model. When asked by Metro News why he created this image, the photographer said that it was an opportunity that he could not pass up.
“I was learning how to create 3D imagery for graphic novels and animations and I had the opportunity to create a model however I wanted,” he said. “So I created the most beautiful woman I could.”
Wilson said that a real dark-skinned model named Duckie Thot was one of the inspirations behind Shudu’s look, along with a Barbie doll called Princess of South Africa. Duckie also modeled for Fenty Beauty, and she, too, looks stunning.
But since Duckie Thot exists as the real “Shudu,” then why wouldn’t the photographer use her to shoot or any other model that’s similar in look? In my opinion, it’s hard enough for deep brown-skinned black women to have representation in the fashion industry, and competing with digital images will not make the fight easier.
Wilson’s choice to just create his own black woman has some people understandably annoyed and outraged.
And for people coming for the photographer, he said, “The criticism that I’ve faced only comes from misunderstanding.” What are your thoughts?