Beauty

Leomie Anderson reveals the discrimination Black models still have to deal with backstage in hair and make-up

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Leah Sinclair
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Anderson shared a TikTok about the struggles she still faces with hair and make-up artists as a dark-skinned model.

Sitting in a make-up chair for Black women can be a difficult experience.

Whether you’re in the middle of a department store and having foundation slathered across your face in completely the wrong shade or you’re a model facing a similar experience backstage at a fashion show – that feeling of otherness and, quite frankly, unattractiveness, is something many of us know all too well.

Black models have been speaking about their experiences with this very issue for decades. From being covered in ashy foundations that make them look more ghostly than glowy to damaging hair products that leave their coils totally destroyed, many models have consistently been subjected to poor treatment by hair and make-up artists and it’s something that continues to this day.

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Leomie Anderson has extensively documented her journey behind the scenes in the fashion industry, and she recently took to social media to share a video backstage at another show where, once again, the hairstylists and make-up artists were unable to cater to dark skin and Black hair.

In the video, Anderson shows her make-up being done by an artist, who used a lipstick that the model said, “wasn’t her colour”.

The clip also shows the British model getting her hair done, and how despite another make-up artist attempting to fix her make-up, Anderson ended up doing it herself as she felt “ugly af”.

Anderson concluded the video with her walking the runway and wrote that by the time she walked the show, “I wanted to go home”.

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“Please hire more Black hair and make-up artists so we don’t have to go through this,” she said.

The video, which amassed over 1.6 million views on Twitter, provoked women to discuss their frustrations that this is still an issue in the fashion industry

One commentator wrote: “You should absolutely NOT be licensed if you cannot work with black hair and makeup. Absolutely not..”

Another said: “That’s annoying. She doesn’t get to relax and clear her mind before doing her actual job. She has to do two jobs before her job. She’s tired and stressed by the time she hits the runway which is unfair. Lucky for them she’s a pro and doesn’t look like what she’s been through.”

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Other Black models also took to social media to share their experiences with hair and make-up artists. 

“I was the only black girl on set for this mv [music video]. everyone else got pink ponytail extensions while i got a fucking scarf wrapped around my bun. it’s a hate crime,” one revealed.

“This is my slick back ponytail they did,” another tweeted. “I felt so ugly & hideous.”

“What my hair looked like before plus the inspo pics and what it looked like afterwards when they tried to make “bigger” curls,” a third said. “Peep all the dried out looking straight bits..”

While many were outraged that this issue is still ongoing, many also discussed the need for better training at beauty schools.

“The problem is beauty schools. I’m finishing an aesthetician degree so I can do fx makeup, and our makeup teacher said they aren’t going to teach us colour theory in dark skin because it “isn’t very common,’” one tweeted.

Another wrote: “It’s not just a hiring more black ppl issue, it’s also a they need to train muas and hairstylists to know how to work with all skin tones and hair types. It’s 2021.”

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This isn’t the first time Anderson has discussed this.

In 2016, the founder of athleisure brand LAPP took to Twitter to address make-up artists who are unprepared to work with darker skin tones and frequently discussed this issue on her now-defunct blog Cracked China Cup.

Image: Getty

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Leah Sinclair

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