They say there are two sides to every story. But in this case, there are four. When blogger and Future Tech Lab founder Miroslava Duma posted a photo of a fashion show invitation from her friend and designer Ulyana Sergeenko to her Instagram Tuesday, the industry went berserk. Not for any other reason than the fact that Sergeenko called Duma the N word, using lyrics from the Kanye-Jay-Z anthem "N****s in Paris." The receipts were in full view and the consensus was clear: Wait... what? After Sergeenko released a statement, and then deleted it, more controversy was unearthed from Duma's past. This time, blogger Bryanboy and model Andreja Pejic were dragged into it.
In the video, which has been reposted by several industry figures, Duma calls BryanBoy "weird" and misgenders Pejic not once, but twice. She continues to explain that both need to be censored and would not be featured on her fashion and lifestyle site, Buro 247. Following backlash from the industry, including Bryanboy, in which he claimed to be shocked by the video and reminded his followers that racism and bigotry is not cool, Duma released statements via her Instagram to address both controversies. At the time of publishing, she has 1.6 million followers and disabled comments on both posts.
After processing the news, Pejic posted a photo and response of her own. And, out of all four, it's the best yet. "I’ve never been the girl to do every campaign or walk every show, but I’m happy that I’ve had some pretty unique moments in this industry — a few of which have challenged the dominant paradigm, outdated views of gender, and a few that have even spilled over into pop culture," she wrote. After acknowledging that she'd seen the video and heard the hurtful comments about herself and Bryanboy, she continued: "I won't say it wasn’t hurtful. However instead of focusing on this blatant ignorance, I couldn’t help but realize the contrast between the state of our business today in comparison to 2012, the yr [sic] of this video."
Here’s one of my favorite pictures from the time I’ve been working in this business. I’ve never been the girl to do every campaign or walk every show, but I’m happy that I’ve had some pretty unique moments in this industry – a few of which have challenged the dominant paradigm, outdated views of gender and a few that have even spilled over into pop culture. I woke up to a video yesterday, where a woman by the name of Miroslava Duma said some pretty ugly things about @bryanboycom and me during a conference (scroll right to see). I wont say it wasn’t hurtful. However instead of focusing on this blatant ignorance, I couldn’t help but realize the contrast between the state of our business today in comparison to 2012, the yr of this video. Fashion hasn’t always celebrated, to quote @miraduma “people like us.” Today I can say I’ve walked for iconic designers like @MarcJacobs and even landed on pages of American Vogue as none other than myself. However for a long time I didn’t believe that I was deserving of a firm place in fashion. I remember when I was one of only two people representing a specific “trend” that many people would now place under the title “gender diversity in the fashion space.” Circa 2010 my friend @LeaT and I found International media attention on the one hand and faced ignorance and scorn on the other. Today we are part of a movement of unique talents that are smashing the old categories that once stood and proudly displaying a spectrum of age/color/gender/class. @miraduma ‘s hopes that “this trend fizzles out quickly” have not been realized. I am thankful I got to stick around! I understand that some sort of apology has been issued and I do think people should be given the chance to grow, change, overcome their ignorance. To my sisters, bros and non binary siblings who don’t have the resources to fight back, to change schools, pay for medical care and the support of thousands of followers and who experience cruelty directed at them only because they have the guts to follow their hearts and minds in the hope of an honest, happy life please remember, chin up ALWAYS! Evolution is no stranger to our cause and one day we’ll see revolution❤️
Pejic went on to recap the love and acceptance she's received from the industry, no matter her gender, which have led to many fashion firsts for transgender models, influencers, activists, and more. And, in her view, she's thankful she got to stick around. Like Pejic, we hope Duma has learned from her mistakes and expanded her views — especially in an industry that acts as a safe space to those who've been outcasted from society because they're told being different isn't cool. As Pejic states, it's important to keep pushing forward.