South Sudanese model and activist, Nykhor Paul, is an established Sudanese model who has been working in the industry since 2008 after being scouted by Ford. Earlier this year, she made Models.com’s Humanitarian Award list for her efforts to raise awareness about the civil war crisis in her native homeland. Though she’s modeled for modern powerhouses like Vivienne Westwood, Rick Owens and Calvin Klein, her struggle as a black model remains archaic. On Instagram, she blasts the modeling industry for considering the needs of “white girls” but ignoring black girls, which means she has to carry around her own makeup products to work:
“Dear white people in the fashion world! Please don’t take this the wrong way but it’s time you people get your shit right when it comes to our complexion! Why do I have to bring my own makeup to a professional show when all the other white girls don’t have to do anything but show up wtf! Don’t try to make me feel bad because I am blue black its [sic] 2015 go to Mac, Bobbi Brown, Makeup forever, Iman cosmetic, black opal, even Lancôme and Clinique carried them plus so much more. There’s so much options our there for dark skin tones today.
A good makeup artist would come prepare [sic] and do there [sic] research before coming to work because often time you know what to expect especially at a show! Stop apologizing it’s insulting and disrespectful to me and my race it doesn’t help, seriously! Make an effort at least! That goes for NYC, London, Milan, Paris and Cape Town plus everywhere else that have issues with black skin tones. Just because you only book a few of us doesn’t mean you have the right to make us look ratchet. I’m tired of complaining about not getting book [sic] as a black model and I’m definitely super tired of apologizing for my blackness!!!! Fashion is art, art is never racist it should be inclusive of all not only white people, shit we started fashion in Africa and you modernize and copy it! Why can’t we be part of fashion fully and equally?: — Nykhor
We can understand Nykhor’s heated rant and frustrations. Nikia has been very vocal about her experience as a model of color showing up to work. In her case, her natural hair often poses a challenge for the hair stylists on set who usually see it and pretend not to or just fluff it with their hands leaving her with hair that’s partially shaped but dry and lifeless. It’s more than unprofessional and disrespectful to show up for work unprepared to to the job. All makeup artists worth their weight in salt (and if you’re working couture shows and high fashion editorials you should be a stellar artist) you should be able to do all skin tones and not make excuses for not being able to do someones makeup because they are too black. That’s just ridiculous. Like Nykhor said, white people in the fashion world get your shit together.