You wouldn’t believe it from their smiling faces on this November issue cover of Teen Vogue, but Chanel Iman and Jourdan Dunn haven’t always seen eye to eye. Chanel has revealed that the two 19-year-old models used to get on like a house on fire, but pressure on black models in the industry lead to them barely speaking a word to each other for years.
Now we’re all used to model catfights and tantrums with Naomi, Kate, et al, but the lack of work for black models means that it’s even harder to book a job, especially when most designers are only looking for one black girl, so the competition is fierce.
"People will say things in Chanel's ear like, 'Jourdan is taking your spot,' and then they'll say to me, 'Don't trust Chanel. You're being told, 'So and so is only booking one black girl. It's either you or Jourdan,'” Chanel says. “So we'll be sitting in the lobby looking at each other like, 'Okay, I want this job, and she wants it too. Which one of us is going to get it?’”
Her comments have brought home the controversial debate about racism in the industry, but it seems the tide is already starting to turn. PPQ used an all-black model line-up for their LFW show and while critics accused them of trying to boost their column inches, PPQ’s Percy Parker simply said: ‘It’s not something we really considered. We just wanted to find the most beautiful models and those were the best ones.’
And this year Italian Vogue released a fab supplement called The Barbie Issue with their July edition, completely dedicated to black Barbie dolls all clad in designer garb. Barbie even plan to launch a more realistic-looking Black Barbie range early next year (the first one was created way back in 1980!) called the So In Style collection.
Whether it’s just a publicity move or not, perhaps we’re seeing a step in the right direction…