Just last week, very few people knew who Deddeh Howard was. Yet the Liberian model went from obscurity to viral sensation in a matter of days. The Los Angeles based beauty recently published a photo series for which she enlisted her photographer boyfriend, Raffael Dickreuter, to recreate fashion campaigns featuring the likes of Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner, Kate Moss, and other top white models and actresses.
Her goal was to demonstrate how white models are given the majority of opportunities in the fashion world, though black models are equally qualified.
“Not to long ago, … I would walk into various fashion model agencies and I would immediately be compared to … one or two black model that they had on the roster,” Deddeh explained on her website.
“Even though I was told by those agencies that I have an amazing look and [they] wish they could represent me, they already have a black model,’ she said. “It seemed as if one or two black models on the roster are enough to represent us all. When you are told that, trust me, it feels bizarre.”
Howard has since gone viral with features in The Daily Mail, The Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, and countless other publications. Her Instagram following also shot up to over 65,000 followers and counting. While this may sound frivolous, these days models and public figures work hard to garner a mass amount of social media followers because sadly, it’s how they are deemed worthy for certain opportunities.
We don’t know if Howard landed any major jobs from this yet, but her story is a clear example of how black women use ingenuity to combat being marginalized in any industry. It’s a shame we have to make bold statements like this to gain recognition, but at the same time, such obstacles lead to great ideas that have the ability to propel us. So when you think things are bleak, be still and allow your inner genius to drop a brilliant idea in your lap.