Let ‘Em Know: Model Nykhor Paul Posts Open Letter About Makeup Discrimination

by Shonette Reed 

Nykhor Paul is tired of apologizing for her Blackness.

The 25-year-old Sudanese model recently posted an open letter on her Instagram criticizing makeup artists in the fashion industry on their lack of preparedness to work on Black models during runway shows.

In the letter, Paul points out that while the makeup industry has caught up by making sure various shades of foundation are available for black women, the fashion industry has not. Instead of viewing her complexion as an asset, it is viewed as an inconvenience.
“Dear white people of the fashion world!” Paul begins the letter. “Please don’t take this the wrong way but it’s time you 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!”

Paul, who has walked for Vivienne Westwood amongst other major fashion names and won the Humanitarian Award for her foundation We Are Nilotic, isn’t the first to address makeup-based discrimination. Back in 2013, Jourdan Dunn expressed similar frustrations when a white makeup artist refused to work on her because of her black skin.

The fashion industry is continuously known for its lack of diversity, with bookings and runways being overwhelmingly white.

Paul is just one of many models who is completely annoyed by the fashion industry’s restrictions. She feels it’s time for the industry to step it up in terms of being more inclusive and accepting of varying types of beauty.

We couldn’t agree more.

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?
A photo posted by nykhor (@nykhor) on

Photo: Nick Dorey / i-D

Shonette Reed is regular contributor for Coloures and For Harriet from Los Angeles, Calif. With plans to break into the fashion industry as a fashion reporter, she runs her own style blog. Her aim is to highlight the important contributions of women of color in the fashion industry as well as give women of color more exposure within the leading magazines in fashion. You can follow her on twitter @ShonetteReed.
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