Iman on Model Diversity

imageWhile the modeling industry is getting increasingly more diverse, it still has a long way to go. This past Fashion Week, the New York Times noted the “Obama effect” as responsible for encouraging more racially diverse runways, but the claim hasn’t quelled debate over whether or not the industry is really making steps forward, or merely introducing stunts like Vogue Italia’sall black” issue as novelty — only revert to the same, Caucasian-centric casting afterward. New York mag has posted a video of fellow Somali models Iman and Ubah Hassan (the latter is face of Ralph Lauren for Spring) discussing exactly this subject.

“It’s a brand new day,” Iman says, citing Vogue’s recent back-to-back covers featuring black women (Michelle Obama preceded by Beyonce). But, in the same breath, she touches on the disappointment a number of young models have voiced to her when they’ve gone to castings for fashion shows and been told, “We’re not using black models this season.” “It’s like, ‘We’re not doing denim this season’,” Iman quips. While the video chat is hardly revolutionary, it’s an interesting opportunity to hear two different generations of black models discussing the issue. And it’s not all serious; there’s also talk of giving up pizza for Ralph Lauren and showing Sports Illustrated what a woman with 32As can do too.

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