Victoria’s Secret model Devon Windsor is facing harsh backlash for her tone-deaf comments on racial diversity in the modeling industry.
During a conversation she had with her E!’s docu-series Model Squad castmates, Windsor compares her hardships of maintaining blonde highlights to the discrimination those of color face.
In a clip of Episode 6, airing Wednesday night, Daniela Braga, Ping Hue, Ashley Moore and Shanina Shaik are all seen discussing discrimination in the industry and the specific challenges they face.
Shaik explains that she used to be bullied because of her skin color and describes the hardship she had breaking into certain markets. “Because of my skin color, I wasn’t going to be able to do high-fashion,” she says. “A lot of black girls would have to miss Milan because they weren’t able to walk in the shows because they don’t want girls of that color.”
Windsor replied by referencing her time living overseas. “I really f—ing went through hell and literally lived in different countries every other month and didn’t speak that language, didn’t speak Paris, didn’t speak Italian. And I did that for like two years.”
Ping points out that it may be hard for Windsor and Culpo to relate to “the turmoils of being different.”
To which Windsor replied: “Do you know how hard it is to be blonde? I have to get a highlight every month.”
The comment sparked intense backlash on social media. In comments of the Instagram account, The Art of Shade’s video, users replied, “wtffff seriously?! Also she clearly lacks intelligence – I was lost when she said “ I didn’t speak Paris” 🤔😑”
“Omg going to the salon every month is so hard. You know just sitting there while someone does your hair..”
Windsor took to Twitter to issue an apology for her comments writing that she understood that they were “incredibly insensitive.”
“The majority of the conversation was edited and if a peer of mine wanted to discuss such a serious subject, I would never follow it with a joke,” Windsor wrote. “I have an immense amount of respect for my peers. I know the struggle of diversity and inclusion in my business as well as in so many others is not one to take lightly.”
She continued: “I made a comment in jest to infuse levity and I feel terrible that I have hurt others. I’m even more disappointed that my comments could lead anyone to believe that I have a prejudicial bias. I respect, honor and admire all of those braking barriers and working to forge a new and inclusive community both in and outside the modeling industry. I hope that I can continue to learn from others, I am always trying to a better version of myself.”
In a follow-up tweet, she advised viewers to stay tuned for Episode 6 “where the truth really comes out.”
Her Model Squad co-star, Olivia Culpo, came to her defense claiming that “information can be taken out of context and misconstrued to manufacture drama.”
She backed Windsor’s character by saying, “I can assure you Dev has an immensely kind heart and anything that portrays otherwise is a manipulation of her true character.”
RELATED VIDEO: Olivia Culpo Opens Up About Putting Life in Front of Cameras for ‘Model Squad’
Many Twitter users had harsh word for Culpo’s stance on the situation.
“and the other WHITE girl speaks… what Devon said just shows how utterly shallow she is, i mean, poor thing, she has to have a highlight on her hair EVERY MONTH… and did i y’all about her not speaking paris? you can talk cause you have NEVER went through the struggles they were [sic] talking about! It seems to me pretty clear that there’s no excuse for this, since you were the only one who defended devon, so proud to stand real intelligent girls who are more than pretty thin models who actually went to school…”
Another writing, “There was nothing out of context,, yo girl tried to relate to something that she couldn’t relate to and now she’s getting backlash idk why you’re throwing yourself under the bus in the name of friendship.”