Whether it’s on the runway, magazine covers or in campaigns, it’s pretty obvious that the fashion industry struggles with racial inclusion. But one fed up Black model is fighting back with a new photo series that recreates fashion ads with white models such as Gisele, Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner by injecting herself into them.
With the help of her photographer boyfriend Raffael Dickreuter, Deddeh Howard is using her “Black Mirror” series to continue to show that #BlackModelsMatter. The 27-year-old fashion model and medical student wrote in a blog about the series that too often Black girls are usually included as “an afterthought.”
“Gisele Bundchen, Kate Moss or Candice Swanepoel…travel the world, shoot the most amazing campaigns and live an exciting life to inspire young girls,” and that “the next generation of Black women needs to see themselves represented, too,” the Liberian native stresses.
The stunning beauty recently told BuzzFeed :“I thought it was perfect because we are mirroring two images. When you [Black women] look in the mirror you question: ‘This could be me, why is this not me?”
Howard also told Buzzfeed that she finds it “unbelievable” and “bizarre” that there are barely any models of color featured in fashion magazines. “There are many beautiful black models and they are not represented the way they should be,” she said.
Howard, who’s been modeling since she was 18, admits that it’s been frustrating and crushing to continue to be rejected for jobs because of her skin color.
“To be told that there were only one or two Black girls like Naomi [Campbell] and Iman to represent me, it was just very damaging to my image. I always felt like I didn’t fit in or like the white girl was more beautiful than I am,” she recalls. “It just really affected my self-esteem growing up,” she recently told Elle.
She added: “You have 100 white girls but you only have two or three black girls—and you’re turning me down because of that? It’s such a shame that they try to cast a couple and are like, ‘This girl represents everybody,‘” Howard says.
“Like Victoria’s Secret—they cast the same black girl and they use her all the time. Do you not believe another girl can do the same thing she’s doing?”
As expected, the response to her melanin-popping photo spread has been incredibly positive:
And quiet as it’s kept:
Great work Deddeh!