Posted on July 24, 2018

Black Models Say They Were Turned Away from a Miami Swim Week Casting

Nadra Nittle, Racked, July 17, 2018

Model Joia Talbott says race was the reason she and other black models were dismissed from a casting call during July’s Miami Swim Week. Talbott says that after arriving at the call, she and roughly 15 other black models were told, “The casting’s closed.”

However, when the women left the line, casting quickly resumed, according to Talbott.

“They told us they didn’t want any more black models, and that afros were a no-no,” the model said in a video posted to Facebook. “They was definitely not feeling my afro at all, so I didn’t stand a chance, right? Wow. We’re ready to go back to LA where we’re appreciated, and we book.”


Neither model named the casting company that rejected them, but Leggett urged the city of Miami to recognize that “there’s no such thing as too much brown skin.”

Talbott also raised the call on Instagram, where she posted a picture of herself and 10 other black models purportedly turned away from the casting. The models have a wide range of skin tones, hairstyles, and body types. Since they’re such an eclectic group, the allegation that all were deemed unfit for the casting is especially disturbing.

In recent years, black models have made a point of discussing the racial discrimination they face, and for years now Jezebel has kept a tally of how many models of color walk the runway during New York Fashion Week. {snip}


Two years earlier, model Ashley Chew coined the slogan “Black Models Matter” after painting those three words on a tote bag. {snip}

“People don’t realize it, but the fashion industry is really cutthroat,” Chew told Fashionista in 2016. “People will tell you straight up if they don’t want black models or natural hair. {snip}”


Model Ebonee Davis {snip} gave a TED talk about what’s it’s like to be a black model.

During the talk, she said: “I had white agents, with no knowledge of black hair care, run their fingers through my hair and tell me things like, ‘We already have a girl with your look.’ Translation: All black girls look the same. Or ‘we don’t think there’s room for you on our board.’ Translation: We’re at the capacity for black models we’d like to represent. But the most excruciatingly painful? ‘We just don’t know what to do with you.’”

And, of course, fashion’s diversity problem does not just apply to black models. Chrissy Teigen has called out the fashion industry for marginalizing Asian models. {snip}

{snip} If black models can’t get a foot in the door at less prestigious industry events, how are they ever supposed to rise to the top?