Being a professional means coming to work with the right supplies to get the job done. That’s something that should translate to any industry and occupation. But for some reason, when it comes to hair and makeup artists working in fashion, it does not applied.
At the tail end of New York Fashion Week Leomie Anderson, a British model who’s walked major designer shows and is signed to Fusion Models, took to Twitter to lament about the lack of products and professionals who are educated in working with Black skin and hair. “Had to ask her straight ‘do you have foundation for my skin tone orrrr?’,” Anderson tweeted about the makeup artist working on her for a show. “My girl started sweating and said ‘I like to mix brands’”
Adding, “Don’t tell me you’ve been a makeup artist for ten years yet your fingers develop a stutter when I mention brightening my complexion… WE NEED MORE MAKEUP ARTISTS AND HAIR WHO ARE COMPETENT WITH ALL RACES BACKSTAGE AT SHOWS.”
Anderson started modeling at the age of 15, and from the beginning the now 22-year-old has been vocal about colorism in the industry. On her blog Cracked China Cup, the beauty further expands on all the challenges facing models of color in fashion. From all day casting calls to being able to grow hair –when tugged and pulled at constantly– she keeps it real.
And in a great twist of fate, or maybe a sign of the times, she’s being heard and respected. Every major publication picked up the story and she’s been wildly praised for taking a stance on the institutionalized preference fashion has for White models.
In addition to Anderson, models Nykhor Paul and Jourdan Dunn have specifically addressed the lack of darker color makeup for models of color. “Just because you only book a few of us doesn’t mean you have the right to make us look ratchet,” Paul said on Instagram about the lack of makeup options. “I’m tired of complaining about not getting booked as a black model and I’m definitely super tired of apologising for my blackness!”
The hope is that if enough models complain and these makeup artists are exposed for their lack of preparation, they’ll be held accountable and show improvement. And honestly, as messy and uncouth as it may be, it’s a strategy that we have a feeling will work most rapidly for change.