The struggle continues! Over the years, the perils of being a Black model have been well-documented. From being passed up on gigs in favor of white models to dealing with texture discrimination behind the scenes, the stories and experiences are endless. With so many calls for inclusivity in the industry — thanks in major part to legendary model and activist Bethann Hardison — the runway has seen a change. However, British-Jamaican model, Leomie Anderson, has revealed that the industry still has some work to do.
The 28-year-old recently went viral on TikTok after revealing her experience modeling for Christian Cowan at NYFW. In the video, Leomie shared that she actually had two jobs for the day —model and makeup artist — which is sadly a common occurrence.
“And this is why I carry a full makeup kit wherever I go for work,” Leomie captioned the video.
Leomie explains that she asked the staff who could do Black makeup. Unfortunately, the white MUA that attempted to beat her face left her with a super-flat, washed out look.
“Why do I look like I work in the mines?,” she says via subtitles. “Wow, I’m clapped. I told him this wasn’t my color. He is trash.”
Not to mention, Leomie shares that the white hairstylists were not only hurting her natural mane, but they told her to come with her hair washed and decided to dry her hair at the last minute.
She went on to update that a white lead makeup artist tried to fix her makeup with no progress. “Good try girl, but felt ugly AF,” Leomie says. “Redid my whole face in 10 minutes, can’t go out sad.”
As a result, the whole experience left a sour taste in Leomie’s mouth. By the time she walked the runway, she wanted to go home. Leomie ended the video by asking fashion houses to “hire more Black hair and makeup artists” so that Black models won’t have to go through what she experienced.
“It’s unbelievable that professional makeup artists don’t carry makeup for all skin tones,” one fan commented under the TikTok video. “You should be paid more for the inconvenience.”
Unfortunately, Leomie responded saying that the “MUA” had the products, he just lacked the skills to apply it correctly. “Oh no he had it, this is just what he chose to do with it,” Leomie said.
There are a plethora of talented Black hairstylists and makeup artists in the industry. Why are these fashion houses still not facilitating teams that are capable of catering to the wants and needs of models of all skin tones and hair textures?
Making matters worse, supermodel Naomi Campbell also called out the lack of inclusion in the industry while reflecting on her own experiences when speaking at BBC Women’s Hour (via Independent). At Naomi’s 1988 Vogue Italia cover shoot, the model sported an ashy makeup look due to the team not knowing she was black.
“He said he didn’t have the foundation for me,” Naomi explained. “He had to mix some colors that he had of foundations to make up own color, and that consisted of a lot of grey. When that cover came out, I just cried.”
Keep in mind, Naomi’s unfortunate incident occurred over three decades ago. Since then, diversity at the beauty counter and beyond has come to fruition, so there is no reason why Black models should still be subjected to any inequities behind the scenes.
Representation has long been a hot topic in the industry and many fashion houses have made valiant efforts to push an image of inclusivity. But, the sad truth is that they’re far from it. The only way change will come is if models continue to call out fashion houses and demand that they do better.