For all you idiots who still buy into, and perpetuate, the cliche that models are nothing more than vapid mannequins, look no further than the stunning supermodel that is Jourdan Dunn. The 22-year-old British beauty has walked the runway for everyone from Alexander McQueen to Alexander Wang, and we mean walked, but Miss Dunn truly made her mark at the tender age of 17, when she beat the casting odds and secured a spot in the lineup for Prada’s Fall 2008 show. Beat the odds, because she is black, and was the first black model to walk for Prada, the show most coveted by every model in the business, in a decade.
And now, she’s calling bullshit on the fashion industry’s racist practices.
In a recent interview with The Guardian, Dunn came out firing about the industry’s ridiculous, and offensive, practices, starting with their need to only feature white girls on the cover of fashion mags:
The people who control the industry … say if you have a black face on a magazine cover it won’t sell, but there’s no real evidence for that. It’s lazy.
“No real evidence” may actually be quite the understatement, especially when you look at the sales of Dunn’s July 2008 Italian Vogue cover.
This is also not the first time Dunn has called bullshit on the industry, having said of the casting process in a tweet earlier this year:
I’m normally told I’m cancelled because I’m ‘coloured’ so being cancelled because off my boobs is a minor : )
— Jourdan Dunn (@missjourdandunn) June 30, 2013
Even better, was when our girl talked with Fashionista about when the runways are diverse (but just for a season), saying:
I mean, there was a season where ethnic models were being represented and then it went back to the same routine of just using one or none at all. It seems like [non-white models] are only cast when it’s hot for one season and everyone jumps on board. It’s a look.
Racism in fashion is not a new topic, the amazing ladies over at Jezebel have done a remarkable job of reporting on the sad stats by just presenting the facts, but it is incredibly important and remarkable and, quite honestly, selfless, for Miss Dunn to come out and make these statements. Dunn is part of an “elite” crowd of industry vets, a crowd that includes Puerto Rican Joan Smalls, Liu Wen and Fei Fei Sun (both Chinese) and girl of the moment Malaika Firth (also black, and the first black woman to land a Prada campaign in 19 years), who walk the big shows and score the blue chip campaigns when, as if almost speaking to Dunn’s earlier point, their ethnicity is “hot.”
And now, once again, Jourdan wants someone to address what goes on:
I want to talk about what goes on. A lot of people are scared to speak up. People think it’s all glamorous and good and that all models get treated the same, but there is still a lot of BS that happens
Pretty wise and impressive words coming from a “vapid” 22-year-old.