When I put my hair aside before New York Fashion Week, the industry feared I would not find a job, which made me feel “too dark.” But I like to stand out and stand out – so I decided to stay and take the chance.
Two days later, my agent in New York called and said the coach had given me a show in New York for their spring / 2018 show. I could not believe it – I used to walk in other shows, but it was a career changer. I went on to Miu Miu in Paris and Bottega Veneta in Milan, a classic Italian brand that is not known for using avant-garde models. I am very excited – a girl with a fear like this brand, it is crazy.
There are a lot of dark hair politics. When Marc Jacobs intimidated a group of white girls on the runway and everyone shouted “racial discrimination,” I did not think so. Like his actions to create a normal state, so now if we black girls want to wear fear in the workplace, then white people will not call it “slum.” Kim Kardashian’s mumps label is a new and avant-garde “boxing braid” that is a slightly different story – it does not respect the hairstyle’s heritage and people are right to be angry.
Fear at least in the United States or with negative connotation. Remember when actor and musician Zendaya was scared of when American television host Giuliana Rancic said she looks like she smelled cannabis? But because some people think that fear means you’re a weed-sucker – I’m not – it’s not stopping me from getting them. I have been keen to change my hair and hair, to me, it’s about self-expression.
In the past, fashion people like black girls have a long braid, or straight hair to imitate white women, “fit.” Things that affect the female model far outnumber men. But lately, black women have been saying, “No, I will not straighten my hair.” African-Americans are getting more and more proud, and it has a trickle-down effect on fashion.
Fashion does not create a trend, so now they are casting more black and Asian models because of our collective purchasing power. But we do not have a lot of people working at shows, and hairdressers sometimes have a hard time knowing how to handle our hair. It’s a man who goes back to 22: they are hair stylists, so they should know how to deal with dark hair, but most of the time they’re afraid because they do not want to be that dark girl. I used to be behind a stylist told me, “I do not want to be your hair.” The other black girls and I was the last one to finish our hair because no one would touch us.
But that was three years ago – now, they have no choice. It is a common endeavor that designers like Ashley Brokaw and Anita Beaton, as well as designers like Carl Temple and Katie Grande, empower their positions by casting different models, which can often be all-white Performance.
Hair stylists start thinking: “I have to learn this or I will not be hired.” Now, when I talk with stylists, they say, “What’s the best product you use for hair?” I made a show in Milan this season, stylists do not have the right product. When I arrived in Paris, she already had it. At Miu Miu, more than half of the models are black, and in the background they have all the right products.
But you have to give up halfway. I always make sure my fears are super clean and tidy, so in some ways they still look classic. I also have my fear really long – so you can do many other styles with them. Although I’m pushing my agenda, I’m giving them something.
Thanks to social media, the model is easier to say. When I signed, in 2010, my agent would tell me, “You need to shut up, stand there and look pretty.
Now, with platforms like Instagram, people have their own space to voice and cool themselves. Agents encourage girls to have more personality; customers want it now. Just quite can not work anymore. And now I’ve got more success – the industry has finally caught up with me and now I really understand it.
Next year, I suspect there will be more girls on the fashion show, more people saying, “I like my hair, I like my hair curling.” They’ll still cast you. If a girl is a paint, a girl is a paint. If you stand on your position, the world must pay attention.