Naomi Campbell used to feel like ‘token black model’ in fashion shows

Naomi Campbell used to feel like the “token black model” when she walked the runway.The 49-year-old discussed diversity in fashion during an interview at the Wall Street Journal’s WSJ Tech Live event and opened up about feeling uncomfortable in the ear…

Naomi Campbell used to feel like the “token black model” when she walked the runway.

The 49-year-old discussed diversity in fashion during an interview at the Wall Street Journal’s WSJ Tech Live event and opened up about feeling uncomfortable in the early days of her modelling career.

She candidly shared the examples of tokenism that she experienced, and while she didn’t name any specific brands, Naomi insisted that the problem was far-reaching when she was walking the runways back in the 1990s alongside fellow models such as Cindy Crawford and Helena Christensen.

“I know what it’s like to be the token and it wasn’t a good feeling to have to always be the only black model in a show of 70 girls. It was uncomfortable. I didn’t like it,” she explained.

“I don’t want to say names of brands because I’m not going to call people out… I have to believe that everybody is coming from a good place. We’ll discover, as we go along – we will know who is doing it for the token and who is doing it for real.”

She also denied that she didn’t want any other black models walking the runways with her during her heyday, by saying: “Well that’s not true. I did.”

Elsewhere in the interview, she discussed how she now wants to see more representation behind-the-scenes at big fashion houses and wants brands to employ more people of colour.

“You’ve seen all shapes, sizes, colours, different hair types on the runway – we’re still in that,” Naomi said. “But now, it needs to go deeper than that. We need to see within the actual companies, in the offices, are you going to give the diverse staff a seat at the table to advise and be part of the projects that you do?”

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Tyra Banks recalls struggling with ‘painful’ Naomi Campbell feud

Tyra Banks has insisted she and Naomi Campbell were pitted against each other early in their careers because they were two “young black girls”.The model-turned-TV personality opened up about the pair’s tense history in a recent video interview with The…

Tyra Banks has insisted she and Naomi Campbell were pitted against each other early in their careers because they were two “young black girls”.

The model-turned-TV personality opened up about the pair’s tense history in a recent video interview with The Wall Street Journal and claimed that friction with Naomi often left her in tears.

“It wasn’t a rivalry, I’m very sensitive to that word because a rivalry is with two equals, whereas one was very dominant, she was a supermodel and I was just some new girl that got on a plane from Paris and was studying fashion in magazines,” she explained.

“I had a very painful early days in Paris, as much as I was booking every single fashion show, people didn’t know I was going home crying my eyes out because a woman that I was looking up to seemed like she just didn’t want me to be there and was doing everything in her power to make me go away. I didn’t understand that as a young girl.”

Tyra, who is African-American, went on to reflect that she believes the feud between her and 49-year-old Naomi, who is of Chinese-Jamaican descent, was escalated by leaders in the fashion industry, and cited race as a key factor in the pair being pitted against each other.

“The adult me understands that she was reacting to an industry that was all about a token,” the 45-year-old added. “When I came on the scene (it was like): ‘Naomi, look out! There’s a black girl that’s going to take your spot.’ Only one spot available.”

Elsewhere in the chat, Tyra spoke about co-creating America’s Next Top Model, a stint as a guest lecturer at Stanford University, and her various business ventures, including the upcoming launch of amusement park-inspired attraction Modelland.

And the mother-of-one is open to investing in all sorts of businesses, but only if she makes a connection with the people running them.

“I’ve learned over time it’s not about investing in the business, it is about investing in the person,” she smiled.

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Gisele Bundchen got her first taste of modelling thanks to her bad posture

Gisele Bundchen’s first experience of modelling was a course her mother sent her on to correct her terrible posture.The Brazilian supermodel opened up about her early years as part of the Wall Street Journal’s weekly House Call feature, in which she re…

Gisele Bundchen’s first experience of modelling was a course her mother sent her on to correct her terrible posture.

The Brazilian supermodel opened up about her early years as part of the Wall Street Journal’s weekly House Call feature, in which she reflected on her childhood and current domestic life. Though now considered one of the most beautiful women in the world, Gisele is adamant that she never prioritised her looks as a youngster and was more interested in playing sports. But at 5 ft 9 by the time she reached her teens, she was a foot taller than her peers and was bullied as a result.

“When I was 13, my mother worried about my posture. I was being teased at school about my height, so I was hunching over,” the 38-year-old recalled. “My mum wanted me to be confident. She enrolled me, Pati and Gabi (her sisters) in a local modelling course. At the end of the course in 1994, the 50 girls in the class, along with five mothers including my mum, took a long bus trip to visit Curitiba, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. It was a reward.”

It was in Sao Paulo that Gisele was discovered by Elite Model Management and persuaded to take part in her first modelling competition.

Having enjoyed an immensely successful fashion career, the Brazilian star has since taken a step back from modelling and now prioritises spending time with her family – sports star husband Tom Brady, nine-year-old son Benjamin and six-year-old daughter Vivian, as well as her 11-year-old stepson John whom Tom shares with his ex-girlfriend Bridget Moynahan.

“I’m still my mother’s child,” Gisele insisted. “Even though we have help at home, my children have chores. I’m teaching them that things don’t just happen. They have to make their beds and fold their clothes. I tell them, ‘Clothes don’t have legs.'”

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Disney changes Princess Tiana in Ralph Breaks the Internet after whitewashing backlash

Disney animators have reportedly redone the artwork for Princess Tiana in Ralph Breaks the Internet after receiving backlash for whitewashing the character. The animation, a sequel to 2012’s Wreck-It Ralph, came under fire from critics in August (18) …

Disney animators have reportedly redone the artwork for Princess Tiana in Ralph Breaks the Internet after receiving backlash for whitewashing the character.

The animation, a sequel to 2012’s Wreck-It Ralph, came under fire from critics in August (18) after a trailer was released, revealing that a number of Disney princesses would feature, including the first African-American princess, Tiana, from 2009’s The Princess and the Frog.

Many noticed that Princess Tiana looked distinctively different from her first outing, with a smaller and thinner nose and lighter skin, while her previous tight, kinky hair had been smoothed out into looser European curls – leading many critics to call out Disney for whitewashing the character.

The backlash reportedly prompted Disney executives to reanimate scenes involved Princess Tiana to restore her to her original appearance. According to the Wall Street Journal, this process, an unusual move for Disney, particularly as the film is set for release on 21 November (18), began shortly after the marketing materials were released.

Disney animators reportedly spoke with Anika Noni Rose, who voices the princess, and invited Brandi Collins-Dexter, a senior campaign director with Color of Change, an advocacy organisation that focuses on issues of racial representation and political inequality, to their offices in Burbank, California last week (ends23Sep18) to review the changes with the animators.

The organisation celebrated the move by releasing a statement last week, which read: “Disney’s decision to restore Princess Tiana’s image to that of an unapologetically black princess with full lips, dark skin and dark hair in Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 is a victory for Color Of Change members, black children and their parents, and black audiences who want to see the variety of shades, shapes and sizes of black characters accurately represented in the arts.”

They shared the news on Twitter and wrote, “Huge win for Black girls who look up to Princess Tiana! After conversations with @Disney & @DisneyAnimation about the character’s appearance in #WreckItRalph2, they addressed our concerns and restored Tiana to her original depiction. #RepresentationMatters.”

Ralph Breaks the Internet also boasts a voice cast including John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman and Taraji P. Henson.

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