Leomie Anderson calls for fashion equality
Model Leomie Anderson is tired of black models being branded “divas” for wanting to be treated equally.
The British catwalk star has made no secret of her frustration with the fashion industry, having previously slammed make-up artists for being unable to deal with her skin tone. In an episode of CNN Style's Soapbox series - where key creative and industry figures speak passionately about issues that matter to them – Leomie says it’s time for attitudes to change.
“When black models do speak out sometimes, I feel like the first thing people say is, ‘Oh, she’s fierce! Oh, she’s a diva!’” Leomie explained in the video clip. “It’s nothing to do with me being a diva; I want to feel as comfortable as a white model when I go out on the runway.
“Fashion is a very old thing, it has been around for a long time, and I feel like they – not want to stick to what they know (sic) – but they want to stick to a formula that seems to have worked for them for many years.
“They had always had white models on the covers of magazines and they always sold, they always had a lot of white models in their campaigns and they always sold. I think they were just fearful of trying to represent that the world is actually changing.”
Leomie made her debut for Victoria’s Secret in 2015 and has walked for designers including Ashish, Jeremy Scott and Kanye West. In 2012, she launched a blog detailing her experiences in the fashion world and during New York Fashion Week earlier this year (16), she took to Twitter to vent her frustration about the lack of diversity in her industry.
“Why is it that the black makeup artists are busy with blonde white girls and slaying their makeup and I have to supply my own foundation,” she wrote in February (16).
“We need more makeup artists and hair stylists who are competent with all races backstage at shows.”
Leomie is eager to encourage people to start talking about the issues facing the industry today and believes it’s time for a fresh outlook.
“During a Fashion Week a few years ago, someone actually said to me, ‘We don’t really want to use any black models this season. If you came back last season we were looking for black models, but this season we’re not,’” she revealed during the CNN series.
“Having a discussion about diversity in fashion is something that’s really important and that really needs to be talked about now, across all types of media. Whether it’s within the fashion industry, or on the news, or people talking on social media. I think it’s a discussion that people need to have because the world is a diverse place and fashion needs to reflect that.”