Though runways are getting increasingly more diverse every season, the same progress seemingly isn’t being made backstage.
Model Londone Myers called attention to the different treatment she received at Paris Fashion Week in an Instagram post. In the time-lapse video, stylists buzz around models getting ready for the show while Myers sits in the hair and makeup chair, apparently ignored by the backstage glam squad.
“I don’t need special treatment from anyone. What I need is for hairstylists to learn how to do black hair,” she captioned the post. “I’m so tired of people avoiding doing my hair at shows. How dare you try to send me down the runway with a linty busted afro. We all know if you tried that on a white model you’d be #canceled. If one doesn’t stand we all fall. If it isn’t my fro it’ll probably be yours.”
Myers told Teen Vogue that she and the “three or four” other black models did not get the attention that others did.
“I was just so frustrated with how people would avoid even looking at me,” she said. “I usually do my hair before every show, but this time I just showed up without anything on hand like everyone else.”
She also explained that she did her best to ask for a stylist but was rejected several times.
“I simply asked around the room for who did black hair multiple times and was cast aside, until they sat me in this guy’s chair who tried to send me off looking unpolished, like the other [black] girls,” she said. “One of the other black models saw all of the lint in my hair and was surprised.”
Fellow models commented on the viral post to share their frustration, as many have done in the past.
Dominique Brannon wrote, “Thank you for speaking out. I come to most shows with my hair already done (by me) because I know they won’t even groom it.”
“Fashion wanted diversity right! Get some diverse HAIRSTYLISTS too!! 🤧” agreed Nejilka Arias.
Model Jourdana Phillips, who has modeled in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show and often rocks her natural hair also chimed in.
She said, “Now that we have more models of color we need hairstylists, makeup artists, photographers, etc. [who] know how to support black beauty.”
In a follow-up post, Myers thanked her followers and friends for all the support she received in the wake of the viral video.
“I encourage my powerful working women not only be brave and speak out against the mistreatment they face within the industry – but to also help out and support the newer generation,” she said. “There is more than enough room for more than one poc supermodel/ it girl at a time. We really need to take notes from the other [people of color] who paved the way for us. I can’t imagine what working would be like for us if Naomi, Tyra, Bethann, or even Iman were too scared about not getting shows to speak up.”
She concluded, “You were born without these shows and you will die without them. Do it for the girls after us and the ones looking up to us. We as women of color need each other more than we need fashion.”