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Jourdan Dunn FTW: Talks Racism in Fashion

Andrew Lasane | Complex   in  ·
April 12, 2015

Jourdan Dunnthe first Black model to make the Forbes list who is also known for her popular Well Dunn cooking series on Jay Z‘s Life + Times media site, has been very outspoken about the treatment of black women in the industry and her personal experiences with discrimination. In a recent interview with The Times, Dunn spoke about being bullied as a child and how that feeling of not belonging still exists because of her career.

“It’s hard for black girls,” said Dunn. “A lot do give up, because if you don’t have an agency who is going to push you, you are just there doing nothing and having to deal with all the rejection.” Dunn revealed that she has wanted to quit but can’t because of her position of influence. “I feel like, I owe it to other little Black girls and other ethnic-looking girls to carry this on. You know what? It is hard but I had to, like, get over it.”

There has been a lot of talk about race in the fashion industry lately. Balmain designer Olivier Rousteing recently criticized perfume campaigns for not using Black models and for using Photoshop to lighten models’ skin. He added that he has been getting positive feedback for using Black models and that people “don’t think that fashion belongs to white people.” Riccardo Tisci also commented on the lack of diversity on the runway, stating that “people make such a big deal about using black girls in your casts, but it shouldn’t be a big deal—it should be normal.” It was big news last month when Rihanna became the first Black woman to sign a deal with Dior, but the fact that it was news at all shows how much of a problem it is.

During the interview, Dunn also spoke about her son’s sickle cell diseasediagnosis, and how being a mother and model has changed her perspective and forced her to deal with the rejection. “Becoming a mum, realizing that you are responsible for this human being for the rest of your life is daunting. You have to get your shit together. On top of that, having a sickle cell child has been a lot to deal with… It’s made me grateful for everything that is around me.”

 

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