Sudanese Model Nykhor Paul: 'I'm Tired of Apologizing for My Blackness'


25-year-old South Sudanese Ford model Nykhor Paul wrote a heated post on her Instagram on Monday criticizing makeup artists for their lack of preparedness when it comes to black skin tones.

The caption reads:

“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 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 and do there 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 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?”

Paul, who has walked for Vivienne Westwood, Balenciaga and Rick Owens, and who won the Humanitarian Award this spring for her foundation We Are Nilotic (which works to bring awareness to the crisis in South Sudan) is not the first model to deal with this bullshit. As she points out, the makeup itself has, to a certain extent, caught up—why the hell hasn’t the industry? Why are models of color still being treated differently than their white counterparts?

Unfortunately, this is an industry that remains absurdly homogeneous; 80 percent of the models who walked in this year’s fall 2015 shows were white. As Paul underlines in her post, until designers, photographers, booking agents, and makeup artists begin to see physical difference as an asset rather than an inconvenience, they will struggle to attain anything resembling genuine artistry.

Contact the author at [email protected].

Image via Getty.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Share Tweet Submit Pin