In support of his new documentary The Gospel According to André, fashion legend André Leon Talley sat down with The New York Times for an explosive, intimate interview about his experiences with racism in the industry, as well as his loneliness and his personal finances.
The documentary focuses on Talley’s incredible journey toward becoming one of “the most influential figures in the fashion industry” (as Tyra so eloquently put it) – from his childhood in the Deep South, to getting stoned by other students crossing the Duke University campus to buy Vogue, to climbing his way up, against all odds, to becoming Creative Director of the magazine and the only black man sitting at the front of the crowd during Paris Fashion Week.
“There’ve been some very cruel and racist moments in my life in the world of fashion,” Talley told the Times. “Incidents when people were harmful and mean spirited and terrifying.”
Talley recounts learning that the Parisian fashion set had taken to referring him with racial slurs, notably “Queen Kong.” He recalls that the nickname had been conceived first by the head of PR at Yves Saint Laurent.
He also revealed how the fashion industry has become an incredibly lonely place, and that even some of his oldest friends seem to have dropped him, and that his personal funds are dwindling. “I’m broke,” he declares.
Take a look at the trailer for The Gospel According to André below.