When Deddeh Howard (a Liberian-born, L.A.based model and blogger ) first tried to break into the fashion world, she was turned down by several agencies. Some agencies even told her that they “already had a black model.”
Deddeh, 27, got fed up with the lack of diversity in the modeling industry having seen fashion campaigns feature so few models of color. She therefore chose to do something about it. According to her, “it was time to personally fight for more diversity by doing something positive & inspiring about [her] race.”
So, with the help of her photographer boyfriend Raffael Dickreuter, Deddeh started her creative project dubbed “Black Mirror”, where she recreates popular fashion ad campaigns with Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid, Kate Moss among others & posing for brands like CalvinKlein, Gucci, Dolce&Gabbana, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Guess and Victoria’s Secret.
Each photo from her 3-month project features Deddeh with identical poses, props, accessories, makeup, clothing & expressions to show what advertisements would look like if they featured a black woman instead of a white one.
“The next generation can only get inspired and reach for the stars themselves if they believe they can do it too”. She notes that black girls are so often only included in the industry as “an afterthought,” adding that while girls get to see Gigi Hadid, Kate Moss or Kendall Jenner …travel the world, shoot the most amazing campaigns & live an exciting life to inspire young girls,” the next generation of black women needs to see themselves represented, too”.
The facts at hand highlight that representation of black models in the industry is woefully inadequate. This is, of course, why all of us need to keep pushing for more diversity, and it’s why Deddeh decided to say something with her photo series.
Her movement is already gaining global recognition. She mentions agencies that used to shoot her down – because they had their quota of “2 black models” – are suddenly sniffing around her door.
You can tell she’s got the attitude to make it — Deddeh explained why she’s not jumping immediately at every offer she gets. Werk!
As “Black Mirror” continues to spread, it’s also continuing a much needed conversation.
Photo Credit: Raffael Dickreuter © 2017