Posted on January 27, 2009

Madison Avenue Wants Cute Little Black Girls, Can’t Find Them

Sarah Warn,, January 26, 2009


New York magazine reports that ad agencies are suddenly eager to cast young girls who look like Sasha and Malia Obama to sell products. {snip}

But wait, hold the phone! Is that even possible? Marlene Wallach, president of Wilhelmina Kids & Teens, says the First Daughters are tough subjects to match because, “It’s a very specific age and a very specific ethnicity, so there aren’t that many girls that would necessarily fit the bill.”

Um, what? It’s difficult to find cute young black girls? What city/country have you been living in? What you really meant to say is, “Damn, I guess we really should have had more than one black model on our payroll before now!”


On the other hand, I do love the fact that modeling agencies are now being forced to hire more black girls and women. As the continued discouraging results from the classic white-doll/black-doll studies show (as recently as 2006!), there’s clearly a need for greater visibility and celebration of darker-skinned women.

What do you all think–another positive outcome from the Obama election, another depressing sign of America’s obsession with consumerism, or proof that we still have a long way to go to achieve true racial equality? (Or all three?)