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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.

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

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.

True

When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

via Pixabay

Over the past six years, it feels like race relations have been on the decline in the U.S. We've lived through Donald Trump's appeals to America's racist underbelly. The nation has endured countless murders of unarmed Black people by police. We've also been bombarded with viral videos of people calling the police on people of color for simply going about their daily lives.

Earlier this year there was a series of incidents in which Asian-Americans were the targets of racist attacks inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Given all that we've seen in the past half-decade, it makes sense for many to believe that race relations in the U.S. are on the decline.

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