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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

On Modeling: I Turned My Back and Never Looked Back



 I rarely write about myself on my blog but I have decided to explain the main reason why I didn't pursue modeling as a career to the disappointment of most people. Here goes:

Some girls have dreams of being models especially if they fulfill the fashion industry's requirements. I was told time without number to delve into modeling full time and that I might make it. Yes, there was that possibility. Then after one specific trial, I turned my back on that so called dream. I had bigger things to do with my time and energy and I couldn't work in a narrow minded industry that had specific beliefs that I constantly disagreed with.



I walked into an agency and walked out more confused than I've ever been. Who decides what the acceptable standards should be? A friend told me that I gave up too soon but I was only too happy to respond that I wasn't going to subject myself to a standard that made me less than the happy person I should be. It's not news that the modeling industry is now embracing several nationalities and accepting diversity but what I didn't expect was the discrimination within a certain ethnicity. I, of course, identified myself as an African. It should be no surprise to anyone who works internationally that Africans can have different appearances. But what I found out shocked me. Apparently, there is a kind of "African" that was easily embraced in the modeling industry. It wasn't enough to be tall, and lanky. "Caramel," like I was called, was not what they were looking for. It took me a moment to realize that they meant my skin color. The African in me bursted out with a loud hiss and a catwalk out of their presence. The follow up call I got that tried to mend the situation said they were looking in terms of you know, the "Wek" look; sweet dark chocolate like I call her. It didn't end there, apparently my full head of hair was a problem too. 
 
I know if I persisted, I would have gotten what I wanted but I also know deep down that I didn't want that life. It was never going to be a full time kind of thing for me so why make half of a commitment? I just hope that this divide that the fashion industry is causing by defining "African Beauty" a certain way will stop. Are they aware of the diverse cultures of different countries in Africa? Are they aware that there are Africans that are whiter than some Europeans? Are they aware that there are Africans with blue eyes? Open your minds everyone and accept the differences around. That's what makes the world an interesting place.


(ukoemem - Author; Ola Y - Editor)

2 comments:

  1. Good on you, Emem. Way to take a stand. The world might have a long way to go yet in embracing diversity but with people taking a stand like you and saying "I don't accept your label" then we have hope. :D

    Debbie

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