Model Castings Called For 'No Blacks, No Ethnics' As Recently As 2007

41 women of color got real about beauty and diversity for Allure.
Allure's April issue
Patrick Demarchelier / Allure
Allure's April issue

Just last week, New York Fashion Week was applauded for featuring at least one model of color in every single runway show this season.

But a new stunning spread in Allure proves we still have a long way to go when it comes to true inclusion.

Meghan Markle, Eva Longoria and Padma Lakshmi are just three of the 41 women of color profiled for the glossy’s stunning April cover story, celebrating beauty and diversity.

Actresses, journalists, models and doctors shared anecdotes and realities of their complicated relationships with their skin, their bodies and the industries they work in. For many, the memories are distant. For some people, such as former model and fashion activist Bethann Hardison, they are still pretty fresh.

Hardison hosted a town hall meeting in 2007 with various members of the fashion industry. She explained to Allure that during the event, she “sat in front of them and talked about what I thought was inappropriate behavior.” At that point, she said, models of color “were being told, ‘sorry no blacks, no ethnics’” at castings.

L to R: models Dilone, Imaan Hammam and Aamito Lagum
Patrick Demarchelier / Allure
L to R: models Dilone, Imaan Hammam and Aamito Lagum

Hardison, who said the event sparked articles and a shift in the conversation, added that the phrase “has never been said again.”

There is no denying that things have improved in 10 years since that meeting, but these issues still arise today. Take this season’s Lanvin show, for example. The fashion house came under fire when casting director James Scully claimed he heard “from several agents, some of whom are black, that they have received mandate from Lanvin that they do not want to be presented with women of color.”

It’s so important for magazines like Allure to represent a broad range of women with uniquely beautiful skin tones, shapes, sizes and ages. And it’s equally important for us to hear stories like these. They serve as a constant reminder that there is always more work to be done toward inclusion.

Head to Allure to see the entire spread.

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