COLOUR YOUR WORLD
NOIR THE AGENCY
6 models from noir the agency and i headed to auckland city's commercial bay to literally bring colour into the cbd. until recent years, i would never see models of colour on billboards or store campaigns in central auckland.
AOTEAROA IS A MELTING POT OF DIVERSE CULTURES AND ADVERTISING IN COMMERCIAL SPACES SHOULD REFLECT THIS.
MUCH LIKE THE MANY PASSERBY'S & SHOPPERS WHO STOPPED US TO LEARN ABOUT OUR MODELS AND AGENCY; AOTEAROA IS also READY TO EMBRACE MODELS OF COLOUR.
our models shared what being a model of colour means to them & the importance of this representation in the fashion & beauty industries.
SPECIAL THANKS TO THE TEAM AT COMMERCIAL BAY.
LOCATION: commercial bay, auckland city
creative director, Photography
& make up:
Being a Model of Colour means owning what makes me different with confidence. This boils down to loving and accepting my body type, from my walk, to my larger than life, laugh. The camera sees everything and body language gives anything away, that gives incentive to rid myself from feelings of inferiority and insecurities. Confidence and self-acceptance demand space, there is no room for negative-self perception. This will give whoever is watching, similar or different to me the boldness to be bold in how they were made.
Discovering the agency was Black-owned was a shock, even though I could see Chichi's name signed off, I made excuses that maybe some Europeans were very creative with naming. I don't want it to be a shock anymore that people of colour are occupying different spaces. Aspects of my appearance that faced adversity growing up, which society is embracing or even desiring is still registering to me. Though, the media has begun desiring these features, they are still not necessarily desired on a person of colour.
I want to be part of a movement that represents for a generation that does not have to live with the transition of finally being accepted, but normalising appearances of people like them in mainstream pop culture.
I recently discovered I have a curved spine, it is visible when I show my back but hidden until I bring it up. As if I could not get any different. But I want to own all of it. I will be that model with the curved spine, but can lift twice her body weight, with melanin skin, and be under the typical desired 5'7 height. I will be petite but curvy, with my luscious lips, and 4C hair. I will continue loving and embracing my body for it is the home I will live and die in. I will be the beholder of my own beauty.
Being part of NOIR has been awespiring and a revelation that I have to be what I promote, which is self-accepting, I need to embody that. We live in a world where beauty comes in various shapes, colours, and sizes I cannot imagine why we would want people to look the same, how boring that would be.
A space has been created where it is safe and promoted to be me. Being a Model of Colour is a challenge to accept all parts of myself with grace, and kindness, and I accept the challenge.
- Kudzai Biri
Being a Model of Colour means;
Disrupting the status quo
Making ‘them’ feel uncomfortable
Dismantling European beauty standards
Celebrating myself first
Allowing myself to exist the way I am
Being kind to myself when the world isn’t
Protecting my hair
Allowing my ebony skin to glow like she’s designed to
Reminding young black girls that their skin is beautiful
Their hair is just right
Their size is needed
- Favour Ukah
Being a model of colour for me is great because not only am I entering the mind of a
creative designer and seeing what inspired them to have this idea but I am also being
part of their work, and having the colour of my skin; it gives me confidence to wear it everyday.
- Awer Yout
Personally, I think that idea of “Model of Colour” means Equal opportunities, Hope, Change of Mindset, Revolution and Beauty. Change of Mindset as it is hard for any person of colour to get equal opportunities to their counterparts, especially in the modelling and beauty industries. But I believe that slowly but surely things are changing for the better. It has been hard for models of colour to penetrate the market because they have been regarded as NOT beautiful.
They have to work twice as hard to be seen and given the opportunities to showcase their talents in this cut throat industry. It got to a point where some were not comfortable wearing their natural hair to jobs and resorted to straightening their hair with chemicals just to get THAT job. Recently there has been a change of mindset, more and more Models of colour have started wearing their natural hair and embracing themselves.
I think now models of colour know they are beautiful the way they are. Once upon a time, no make- up matched their skin tones. I have seen some documentaries on models of colour where they are sad because make-up artists have to mix different tones to try to match their skin tone. Gone are those days, many doors and opportunities have been opened by people like Rihanna to help people of colour feel good about who they are through make-up that matches their skin tones.
Models have varieties of make-up to choose from and that helps them be comfortable in their skin and most of all feel Beautiful. Being a model of colour also means Beauty Revolution and Hope People like Naomi Campbell have paved a way for others. I Hope that things will change in a positive direction. We still have a long way to go but there have been some changes and diversity in the modelling industry recently. Whenever I see Black models like Dukkie Thot, and Adut Akech, to name a few in magazines and tv, I smile and say to myself “there is hope for models of colour”.
- Masego Wilford