From the pages of ELLE Magazine to CNN and Paris Fashion Week, supermodel Nykhor's face has been everywhere. But too often when she shows up on set, not everyone's ready for her.
One look at Nykhor and it's easy to see why she's a supermodel.
By mainstream industry standards, she more than fits the gorgeous supermodel bill. Statuesque? Check! Incredible smoldering eyes? Check! Perfect smile and the most envy-inducing flawless skin you've ever seen? I've run out of checks, take all my checks!
For Nykhor, booking the gigs isn't the hard part. It's dealing with the makeup artists when she gets there.
Nykhor isn't some naive ingénue. This girl has been around and has worked with everyone. One scroll through her Instagram and you'll see photos from top magazines with some of the best designers and photographers in the world. But when she sits in the makeup chair, everything changes. The reason? Nykhor is black. And not just black. She's a deep sea-blue black, leaving too many makeup artists fumbling.
After being asked to bring her own foundation to one too many shoots, Nykhor posted this stern message for the fashion industry on her Instagram:
Dear white people in the fashion world! Please don't take this the wrong way but it's time you people get your shit right when it comes to our complexion! Why do I have to bring my own makeup to a professional show when all the other white girls don't have to do anything but show up wtf! Don't try to make me feel bad because I am blue black its 2015 go to Mac, Bobbi Brown, Makeup forever, Iman cosmetic, black opal, even Lancôme and Clinique carried them plus so much more. there's so much options our there for dark skin tones today. A good makeup artist would come prepare and do there research before coming to work because often time you know what to expect especially at a show! Stop apologizing it's insulting and disrespectful to me and my race it doesn't help, seriously! Make an effort at least! That goes for NYC, London, Milan, Paris and Cape Town plus everywhere else that have issues with black skin tones. Just because you only book a few of us doesn't mean you have the right to make us look ratchet. I'm tired of complaining about not getting book as a black model and I'm definitely super tired of apologizing for my blackness!!!! Fashion is art, art is never racist it should be inclusive of all not only white people, shit we started fashion in Africa and you modernize and copy it! Why can't we be part of fashion fully and equally?
A photo posted by nykhor (@nykhor) on
"Why do I have to bring my own makeup to a professional show when all the other white girls don't have to do anything but show up wtf! Don't try to make me feel bad because I am blue black. It's 2015."
— Nykhor Nyakueinyang
Whew! Nykhor is PISSED! But can you blame her? A "professional" makeup artist needs to be prepared to work with all different types of models, not just ones that look like them. It's no secret that the fashion industry isn't always forward-thinking when it comes to diversity, whether it be body types or skin colors. And although Nykhor is a high fashion model, regular brown ladies like myself have faced the foundation struggle too.
Years ago, it was almost impossible to find makeup darker than deep tan. So an average makeup artist not having the right colors could maybe be forgiven. These days? There's no excuse.
If you really want to dive into the world of diverse makeup, look no further than one of fashion's biggest and most iconic black models: Iman. Iman's career started in 1976, in the pages of Vogue. After years of being asked to bring her own makeup to set, Iman launched her own makeup brand in 1994.
And while Iman Cosmetics is often referred to as a black beauty brand, its wide range of colors has made it a go-to brand for Asian and Hispanic women too. Best of all, you don't have to shell out the big bucks to get in on this shade range goodness. Iman Cosmetics are carried in lots of drugstores alongside Maybelline, Revlon, and CoverGirl. Many mainstream lines have gotten the message too, expanding their lines to include more diverse shades. There's also brands like Shea Moisture, Black Opal, and Milani that focus on women of color.
Point being: A lot has changed since 1976. When it comes to today's makeup artist, there's no excuse for not having a fully stocked and colorful kit.
The makeup industry's come a long way. Now it's time for makeup artists to catch up.
Nykhor's Instagram appeal to the fashion industry isn't just about her. It's a call for everyone to wake up. It's important for our magazines and runways to reflect that beauty comes in all shades. And Nykhor gets that progress won't be made unless we demand it. Fashion still has a long way to go when it comes to showcasing a wide variety of models, but it's nice to see someone like Nykhor standing up for herself and for black girls just like me.