It’s no secret that the fashion and beauty industries have a long way to go when it comes to becoming more inclusive places. Models of color know all too well what it’s like to fight for inclusion and rally against colorism, discrimination, and unfair treatment throughout their careers.
a few of the show’s high-fashion model stars were discussing diversity in the industry. “I used to get bullied,” Victoria’s Secret model Shanina Shaik, whose father is Pakistani-Saudi Arabian and mother is Lithuanian-Australian, told the other women. “I remember a girl sat across from me and told me that I wasn’t going to be able to model because of my skin color; I wasn’t going to be able to do high fashion.”
“Do you know how hard it is to be blonde? I have to get a highlight every month,” Devon said while laughing, seemingly likening the maintenance of her hair dye to the struggles models of color face due to their skin color.
In the aftermath of the controversy, multiple Twitter users alleged that the model blocked them in response to their criticism, before Devon shared a statement of her own, apologizing for her “incredibly insensitive” words. “I have an immense amount of respect for my peers,” she wrote.
“I know the struggle of diversity and inclusion in my business as well as in so many others is not one to take lightly. 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 breaking barriers and working to forge a new and inclusive community both in and outside of the modeling industry.”
Meanwhile, Olivia Culpo took to Twitter to defend her friend, writing, “Please understand information can be taken out of context & misconstrued to manufacture drama. I can assure you Dev has an immensely kind heart and anything that portrays otherwise is a manipulation of her true character.” (Tue 11)
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