The founder of a London-based model management company says it’s hard to find commercial modeling work for dark-skinned women because designers in fashion capitals Milan and Paris “absolutely don’t want Black girls.”
Carole White, founder of Premier Model Management and former agent of Naomi Campbell, made the remarks during an interview with the UK news site, Daily Mail.
“At the high end, it is slightly better now,” she said. “But in the mid-range – the catalogues, the e-commerce websites – it is difficult. They want girls who are ethnic, but light-skinned girls. If a girl is very dark, they say no.”
White says “they absolutely don’t want black girls” in Paris and Milan. “A black model has to be a real star before you can take her there. They only take a Black girl when the biz is buzzing about her.”
But even White’s most famous Black star, faced roadblocks because of her race. “Clients never wanted to pay Naomi as much as the white girls,” she said. “It was always a battle.”
Photographers also add fuel to the fire, she contended, “because many “don’t know how to light a Black girl.”
One anonymous Black model told the site that the fashion industry is “still ghettoising those of us with very dark skin.”
“Beyoncé is always made to look so much paler than she really is that I don’t really relate to her,’ the model added.
According to the fashion and culture website Jezebel, Paris and Milan aren’t the only fashion mecca’s with a skin problem. New York’s fall 2011 fashion week was the “Whitest” since 2008, with 84.8 percent of the clothing modeled by White women, Jezebel reported. Designers used Black models 384 times and Latinas 79 times, while White women walked the runway 4,468 times.