Jourdan Dunn is a beautiful, tall, lean established black A-list model. Alongside Chanel Iman, Joan Smalls, and Liya Kedebe, they are viewed as the new IT girls of this fashion generation. Well, for black models. Although we have a large number of black models trying to make it these four women are holding the fashion throne right now. They have all managed to stay relevant and highly successful and continue to work with top dollar ad campaigns and top-notch designers in the fashion industry.
Dunn has made a name for herself despite being pregnant at 19 and having a baby out of wedlock. She has covered major fashion magazines and ads for leading designer brands like Yves Saint Laurent, Burberry while being the first black model to walk the runway for Prada in over a decade. Seeing her and others like her makes us feel invincible. There are so many beautiful brown shades of blackness who have come before her that set the tone and created this path to show us that we too can be just as sexy, in charge and beautiful as our white contenders.
But what really goes on behind all the glitz and glamour? We have made it on the best of the best magazine covers? Billboards? Commercials? It all looks good but then reality hits. Believe it or not we still deal with the heavy racism of being too black, not black enough or we don’t need you anymore because (secretly) we have enough of you already.
Here Jourdan recently spoke to The Edit magazine on dealing with racism.
There were times, however, when Dunn would be on her way to castings and told to turn back because the client “didn’t want any more black girls”. As quoted/written from The Edit.
There was even one instance when a makeup artist announced on a shoot that she didn’t want to make up Dunn’s face because she herself was white and Dunn was black. As quoted/written from The Edit.
The model admits that in the past, discrimination like this has upset her, but a tremendous sense of self-belief, instilled in her by her mother, has always seen her through. “I grew up wanting to be my mom,” she says now. “She always seemed to make things work without ever complaining. She whips me into shape.” As quoted and written from The Edit.
Chanel Iman talks about racism to The Sunday Times Style UK.
Designers have told me, “We already found one black girl. We don’t need you any more.” I felt very discouraged. When someone tells you, “We don’t want you because we already have one of your kind,’ it’s really sad.”
AND THEN YOU HAVE THIS……
Wendy: Is it hard to be a black girl model?
Devyn: I don’t really consider myself as a black girl model. I know what my ethnicity is, but I’m fair-skinned and I feel like I have an international look.
Wendy: So you don’t feel black?
Devyn: No, that’s not what I said, whatsoever.
Naomi Campbell (chimes in off to the side): What the f*ck does she mean? That’s a disgrace! She’s a black girl.