Fair skin’s always preferred: Deddeh Howard, model behind Black Mirror project
Model Deddeh Howard has replicated images from popular brand shoots to make a point about racial discrimination in the modelling world. The 27-year-old gets talking to Hindustan Times about her project, Black Mirror.fashion and trends Updated: Dec 13, 2016 08:09 IST
Recognise her? Yes, she’s the model who dared to challenge the modelling industry. Deddeh Howard recently set the internet abuzz with her powerful pictures as part of her Black Mirror project. She replicated images from popular brand shoots to make a point about racial discrimination, and lack of diversity when it comes to models worldwide.
“When I was growing up, I wanted to be a doctor but people would tell me that I can be a model,” says the 27-year-old medical student and fashion blogger in the United States. “I was born in Liberia and raised mostly in West Africa. When I came to the US, I auditioned for a show and walked out with many awards. I thought I’ll get big agencies to work for. But that’s where I faced discrimination.” She was told: “We already have people who look like you.”
The #blackmirror Q&A time. I'll answer all your questions in a video. In a time where black people too often are in the media for being underrepresented at important events such as the Oscars or make headlines for being targeted by the police I felt it was time to do something positive and inspiring about my race. For too long the negativity seemed to take over in the public eye. It's time to should the world what diversity is capable of!. A little quote from the blog post in case you haven't read the post ( link in bio). #blackmirrorchallenge Photo credit: @raffaelphoto_com
That’s what ticked Howard off. “Why are just one or two black girls sufficient to represent the entire race when there are hundreds of white models?” She and her boyfriend, photographer Raffael Dickreuter, took three months recreating images from popular brand shoots for her project, Black Mirror. The campaigns included those by Dolce & Gabbana, Victoria’s Secret, Chanel, Guess, Calvin Klein and David Yurman. She recently posted her pictures on social media, and the world took notice.
Growing up in Africa, I knew nothing about Black and White, we're all equal, it was United we stand! At least that's what my parents thought me and that's what I believe in. I believe we can be whoever we want to be, so don't let anyone tell you're not what you want to be. If they can do it! So can you. It's about time we stand up together..Dream and Believe. I'm personally fighting for more diversity especially more black models to be seen on bill boards, movies, TV commercials, advertisements etc for us all. #blackmirrow. Full Article now on the blog at www.secretofdd.com ( line in bio). Photo credit: @raffaelphoto_com Makeup and hair by: @dgbyjd Hair by: @melissahoylehair
It was her boyfriend’s idea. “Why not show it to the world that you can do anything that a white girl can,” Dickreuter had told her. He says he was sure Howard could do this. “I knew she’d have to go against some of the world’s biggest names. But I also knew that when people see her pictures, they will admit that she is one of the few girls who can do it. Not everybody can.”
#blackmirror Not to long ago it happened to me that I would walk into various fashion model agencies and I would immediately be compared to that one or two black model that they had on the roster. Even though I was told by those agencies that I have an amazing look and wish they could represent me, they already have a black model. Besides having an abundance of white models. It seemed as if one or two black models on the roster are enough to represent us all. When you are told that, trust me, it feels bizarre. Check out my full story now on the blog at www.secretofdd.com or link in bio. I've been working on this project for a while, for the sake of our new generation. A Call For Diversity!. Photo credit: @raffaelphoto_com , Makeup by: @dgbyjd Hair by: @melissahoylehair BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL
“It’s not just America but everywhere that fair skin is always the first choice. I know that even in India, fair skin is a fad. But, we need to stop discriminating. We need to step up and change things. It’s 2017, and we need to change, at least for the next generation,” says Howard. “When we did the shoot we didn’t know that it’d become a campaign. Now, we’re thinking of doing a shoot with diverse women. Because discrimination needs to be talked about and not burried,” she adds.