Meet the Model Who Is Recreating Ad Campaigns to Prove Diversity Is Lacking in the Fashion World
uncategorized| | By Margo Gothelf
Howard was tired of seeing the same white models in ad campaigns over and over again — so she decided to do something about it. The Liberian born model took measures into her own hands and created the Black Mirror project, a photo series where she recreated famous ad campaigns starring famous white models.
“I was in a grocery store and picked up a magazine looking for inspiration for my blog,” Howard told Mic. “Then it hit when looking through various magazines, there were simply no black models in there. Then it struck me how often this is the case not only in magazines, but also billboards and TV shows. That gave birth to the Black Mirror project and shoot these pictures.”
A photo posted by Deddeh Howard (@secretofdd) on Dec 7, 2016 at 11:13pm PST
She continued, “The goal was to do a bold project and show the world what diversity is capable of. We live in a globalized world today with many mixed couples, you assume this should be more common now. But we were humble in our hope that it might get little attention.”
Howard’s main goal was to pick brands that rarely use diverse models in their shoots. With the help of photographer Raffael Dickreuter, she was able to recreate the images only citing her skin color as the major difference among the ads.
“The first criteria was to identify brands that truly never or almost never use black models and were we felt strongly that black models would look great representing them as well. We were surprised to find out that there were so many of them,” Howard told Mic. “Then for each brand we tried to find a shot that was ideally famous and striking at the same time and that would look great when being re-shot. In the end, it was important to have a diverse collection of different products as well, covering sunglasses, bags, jewelry, etc to cover a broad range of the fashion industry.”
Once the photos were up on Howard’s blog, they quickly went viral. Many social media users praised her idea and complemented her on how she is redefining big ad campaigns.
@secretofdd true inspiration to young girls!! I'm so amazed by ur work and courage to use ur beauty to speak up the truth & change the world
— melina (@LINAPESRA) December 8, 2016
@secretofdd you are amazing … thank you for bringing awareness to what black models have to endure in the industry
— Lela🐝Victoria✊🏾 (@LelaV89) December 8, 2016
@secretofdd you are beautiful and you are unique and you are your own and you are different and that is wonderful ❤️
— (◕‿◕✿) (@divinahinoj) December 8, 2016
“Nothing prepared us for the big wave of response we got and how many people got inspired by the Black Mirror project,” Howard told Mic. “It almost seems it started a movement.”
The Los Angeles-based model now hopes to inspire other black model and educate viewers about the lack of diversity in the fashion world. She hopes her message will reach other black models and let them know that they are not alone on this path.
“I want [viewers] to feel what I have been through when I got rejected and if they have been through the same thing to give them hope they are not alone,” Howard told Mic. “The two pictures all being shown together should really show that we all have a place, that we all belong and should be visible.”
She continued, “It might take a movement to break the status quo, customers speaking out and asking for change and progress. It might take a similar effort like the green movement, when it became all of a sudden hip for brand to produce sustainable products. All it takes is people speaking out.”
Check out all of the images on Howard’s blog.