Makeup artists rarely have foundation for this black model. In 2015, there's no excuse.

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!

A photo posted by nykhor (@nykhor) on

I want that face and that dress please and thank you.


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.

That's a whole lotta variety but not a whole lotta diversity... Image via Thinkstock.

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.

Source. Image by David Shankbone/Wikimedia Commons.

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.

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In many ways, 18-year-old Idaho native, Hank Cazier, is like any other teenager you've met. He loves chocolate, pop music, and playing games with his family. He has lofty dreams of modeling for a major clothing company one day. But one thing that sets him apart may also jeopardize his future is his recent battle against a brain tumor.

Cazier was diagnosed in 2015. When he had surgery to remove the tumor, he received trauma to his brain and lost some of his motor functionality. He's been in physical, occupational, and speech therapy ever since. The experience impacted Cazier's confidence and self-esteem, so he's been looking for a way to build himself back up again.

"I wanted to do something that helped me look forward to the future," he says.

Enter Make-A-Wish, a nonprofit organization that grants wishes for children battling critical illnesses, providing them a chance to make the impossible possible. The organization partnered with Macy's to raise awareness and help make those wishes a reality. The hope is that the "wish effect" will improve their quality of life and empower them with the strength they need to overcome these illnesses and look towards the future. That was a particularly big deal for Cazier, who had been feeling like so many of his wishes weren't going to be possible because of his critical illness.

"In the beginning, it was hard to accept that it would be improbable for me to accomplish my previous goals because my illness took away so many of my physical abilities," says Cazier. His wish of becoming a model also seemed out of reach.

But Macy's and Make-A-Wish didn't see it like that. Once they learned about Cazier's wish, they knew he had to make it come true by inviting him to be part of the magical Macy's holiday shoot in New York.

Courtesy of Macy's

Make-A-Wish can't fulfill children's wishes without the generosity of donors and partners like Macy's. In fact, since 2003, Macy's has given more than $122 million to Make-A-Wish and impacted the lives of more than 2.9 million people.

Cazier's wish experience was beyond what he could've imagined, and it filled him with so much joy and confidence. "It is like waking up and discovering that you have super powers. It feels amazing!" he exclaims.

One of the best parts about the day for him was the kindness everyone who helped make it happen showed him.

"The employees of Macy's and Make-A-Wish made me feel welcome, warm, and cared for," he says. "I am truly grateful that even though they were busy doing their jobs, they were able to show kindness and compassion towards me in all of the little details."

He also got to spend part of the shoot outdoors, which, as someone who loves climbing, hiking, and scuba-diving but has trouble doing those activities now, was very welcome.

Courtesy of Macy's

Overall, Cazier feels he grew a lot during his modeling wish and is now emboldened to work towards a better quality of life. "I want to acquire skills that help me continue to improve in these circumstances," he says.

You can change the lives of more kids like Cazier just by writing a letter to Santa and dropping it in the big red letterbox at Macy's (you can also write and submit one online). For every letter received before Dec. 24, 2019, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. By writing a letter to Santa, you can help a child replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy, and anxiety with hope.

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