Here we go again. Model Nykhor Paul called out makeup artists just last season for being ill-prepared to work on her complexion (she joins the ranks of fellow models Iman, Jourdan Dunn, and Brandee Brown, who have all been vocal about the lack of resources available for models of color in the industry), and just today, model Leomie Anderson took to Twitter to voice her own valid frustrations surrounding the issue. "Of course I get given to the makeup artist who had ONE brown foundation she was trying to mix with white on a sly because she's not equipped," she wrote. "Why is it that the black makeup artists are busy with blonde white girls and slaying their makeup and I have to supply my own foundation." Anderson's disappointment doesn't stop in the makeup chair, she also addresses hairstylists inability to work with Black models' tresses — even those, like her, who choose to wear a weave because they don't want to damage their natural strands.
"Why is there only ever one black hairdresser backstage yet they need four hairdressers to inspect my weave?" she inquires. "Why can a white model confidentially sit in anyone's chair and feel confident they'll look okay but black models have to worry?" Model Lameka Fox also chimes in to the conversation, stating: "Preach! when I have my hair done at shows it takes 2 to 4 [stylists] & I'm not fully black & I have a keratin treatment it's ridiculous." Anderson then goes on to outwardly state: "WE NEED MORE MAKEUP ARTISTS AND HAIR WHO ARE COMPETENT WITH ALL RACES BACKSTAGE AT SHOWS." It's a demand that seems to be expressed season after season (after season after season...) yet continues to get swept under the rug, time and time again.
In news that surprises no one: the industry has a diversity problem. During the Spring 2016 shows, The Fashion Spot reported that out of the 373 shows and 9,926 models who walked the runways of New York, London, Paris, and Milan fashion week, 77.6% were white (a percentage that's only slightly greater than what they reported for Fall 2015). That percentage will probably decrease once the numbers come in for this season, seeing as a handful of designers are tackling this issue head on: both Kanye West and Zac Posen used models of color almost exclusively. However, it's still a long-standing issue that not only shows the lack of progress amongst designers, but it also trickles down to effect the handful of models that are cherry-picked to walk. It's an issue that starts and stops at not only the lack of color on the runway but also backstage, as Anderson expressed. With more and more models vocalizing their concerns, and with public platforms like Twitter and Instagram available for them to do so, maybe — just maybe — someone will make moves to address these cries. You can read up on what Anderson had to say on the topic on her Twitter account. It's definitely worth a click.