If “The Face” model contestant, Devyn Abdullah, believes her “international look” will let her skip classification as “a black model,” she is in for a rude awakening. Jourdan Dunn, a supermodel whose covered Vogue Italia, fronted Burberry and YSL campaigns and closed out the Olympics, is lauded for her almond-shaped eyes that “look almost Chinese” and yet she regularly experiences racism in the industry.

She recounts a scenario for Net-a-Porter’s The Edit Magazine that’s almost reminiscent of the Jim Crow era in which a makeup artist won’t work on her because of her black skin:

Not just a model then, but an icon in the making, up there, as she is, with that embarrassingly small clutch of black women – Chanel Iman, Joan Smalls and Liya Kebede among them – who have made it all the way to the top.

There were times, however, when Dunn would be on her way to castings and told to turn back because the client “didn’t want any more black girls”. There was even one instance when a makeup artist announced on a shoot that she didn’t want to make-up Dunn’s face because she herself was white and Dunn was black.

Despite those racially-charged challenges, the single mother continues to persevere due to inspiration from her mother:

The model admits that in the past, discrimination like this has upset her, but a tremendous sense of self-belief, instilled in her by her mother, has always seen her through. “I grew up wanting to be my mom,” she says now. “She always seemed to make things work without ever complaining. She whips me into shape.”

Her strategy seems to be working in her favor as she continues to rank in accomplishments in her career: she is the first black model to appear on the Prada Runway since Naomi Campbell 11 years earlier and she won Model Of The Year at the British Fashion Awards. Read more of her article with The Edit here.

  • Keshia

    Wow, well she and her skin are gorgeous anyway. What kinda crazy messed people are working in the fashion world…the world in general is crazy.

  • Nickie

    A few yeats ago there was this whole thing about her being a pregnant teen and on the cover of Teen Vogue. Like in 2008 or something

  • Yb

    What do the above comments have to do with the racism she faced? Does being a teen mother all of a sudden justify receiving racism?

    Someone please enlighten me.

  • BeanBean

    The make-up artist was a racist and a hater. I love Jourdan Dunn, she has beautiful skin. I really believe that people who claim to “hate” black women so much, truly have an inferiority complex. There must be something about us black women that make these people uncomfortable. Whatever it is it must be powerful, I’ll keep enjoying my brown skin.

  • jamesfrmphilly

    we got to stop taking white people so seriously. they ain’t nothing. get the money and run.

  • Raya

    I agree. In fact, I find an almost perverse pleasure in the hateful glares I frequently get from a particular demographic. Sometimes I even wink back ;-)

  • Nickie

    Nooo, I didnt mean to link racism w/ teen motherhood. It was just a random thing I remembered about her. I wasnt commenting with intent to offend. Sorry bout that.

  • Angie

    U go Girl!

  • Nubiahbella

    on a totally random note, I find funny that a Black who has high cheek bones and the so-called almost Chinese eyes are seen as something from other races yet those same futures are extremely present in Africa. Oh I forgot everything seen as beautiful on a Black person is always attributed to another race never the motherland.

  • Pseudonym

    “she is the first black model to appear on the Prada Runway since Naomi Campbell 11 years earlier”

    [head explodes]

  • Nooni

    Actually you can get these chinese looking eyes in parts of west africa. I know some west africans who have them. Some people just don’t understand what black people look like!

  • Linguere

    Tru that. My daughter’s dad is Senegalese. Her eyes are extremely almond shaped and very Asian looking.

  • Niesha Gourdine

    yes!!!!! we never get credit for everything…

  • Rue

    Whoever said her eyes look Chinese has obviously never seen a Chinese person.

  • jamesfrmphilly

    FWIW – black people were here before the asians. they got the eyes from us.

  • Keshia

    Lol I swear that’s what I was thinking almond shaped eyes and Asian slanted eyes look nothing alike lmao. My eyes are almond shaped and look nothing like Asian eyes

  • jamesfrmphilly

    self knowledge would inform you that we are the original people. we ARE the ‘standard’ of beauty. these others got it ALL from US. we are the first ‘venus’. the black woman is the original queen.

    self knowledge would infuse the black woman with natural pride and self love. no need to listen to anything the white man has to say. they don’t even know.

    just take their money and tell them to kiss your black ass.

  • Lady Ngo

    LMBO, i’m glad its not just me. When i read that i had to scroll back up and then re-read and scroll back up again. Nothing “Chinese” looking about her eyes to me.

  • Mommy

    Wow, this is similar to the Chanel Iman article last week. I’m confused?? Did they just wake up and realize they aren’t white in the modeling industry? Shocker!!!!

  • Chic Noir

    I love Jourdann and I love Chanel. It’s very sad that they are expecting the same things that Beverly Johnson, Naomi Simms and Iman experienced.

  • Chic Noir


    *Check please*

  • lolala

    So in an article that address the racial discrimination that she has faced, they have faded her complexion. WTF? Jourdann Dunn is a dark-skinned woman…

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