On Monday, yet another model of color spoke out about the racism inherent in the fashion industry.
South Sudanese model Nykhor Paul took to Instagram to vent about her most recent experience with a makeup artist being unable to work with her darker skin. Paul has been modeling since she was 17 years old and has appeared in tons of designer shows, including Rick Owens and Vivenne Westwood.
This is a problem models of color have been facing since their entrance into the mainstream fashion industry. However, as Paul (now 26) mentions, with the abundance of makeup specifically created to match darker skin tones, you’d think makeup artists would get it together.
After her frustrated post, Cosmo conducted a phone interview with Paul to learn more about the discrimination she faces. Paul was not scared to speak out about her struggles in the industry, and explained what led her to create her post.
A couple days ago, I was doing a show — I won’t say which one — and I was getting my makeup done. The makeup people tried to match a bottle to my skin and it was clearly too light. Then they were like, “We don’t have one for you.” No foundation, no powder. They asked me, “Did you bring your own?” I haven’t been bringing my own makeup since 2010. They said, “We don’t work with a lot of people like you. Most black girls we work with bring their own makeup.”
She told Cosmo about having to spend her own money on makeup to bring to shows and then having to either apply it herself, or fix it when artists did it incorrectly. She also explained why she stopped buying makeup and decided to take a stand against the incompetent artists.
“I just refused to keep doing it. The thing is, no one is supplying me with this makeup. I have to go out and buy my own. It’s expensive. I was like, Fuck it, I don’t have time to buy makeup I cannot afford. I have family that’s starving in a refugee camp,” she said.
“It also creates tension among the black models, since only one gets the job. It gets into your head. We’re like dogs fighting for one small bone. If there were more of us modeling instead of just one or two a show, I’m sure things would change. When people say, “We don’t book a lot of black girls,” it means they’re not exposed to us…”
She ended her interview with some beautiful words about her hope for the future:
“Let’s hope it will change. We deserve to be a part of fashion. Fashion is so beautiful. Fashion with variety is more beautiful.”
Head over to Cosmo to read the full interview.
SOURCE: Cosmopolitan | PHOTO CREDIT: Instagram