Black Top Model Leomie Anderson Had To Do Her Own Hair And Makeup For A Runway Show And Here’s Why That’s A Problem

I will see an artist kit. It's only for light-skinned models (one Black makeup artist stated).
Sean Zanni / Patrick McMullan via Getty Images Leomie Anderson at the Christian Cowan SS22 runway presentation during New York Fashion Week, Sept. 10, 2021.

Leomie Anderson, a top black British model, shared her experiences at a runway show in which the glam crew was not equipped to work with her skin tone or hair type. The video recap has been viewed almost 3 million times on TikTok. Anderson shared her experience as a black model on Twitter. She said that she does other people's work and is not paid for it.

Black modeling is when you do other people's work and are not paid for it. Twitter: @Leomie_Anderson

BuzzFeed News reported that Black beauty professionals said Anderson's video showed that models still have to look their best. The teams that make them look good are often not equipped to deal with skin and hair color. This is why Black professionals find it difficult to get jobs. Anderson, 28 years old, was a model at the Christian Cowan runway show in New York Fashion Week. She shared her experiences in the TikTok video uploaded Sunday. First, a makeup artist applied a foundation that was not compatible with her skin, and then another artist failed to fix it. Anderson claimed she felt awful and that she redid her face in ten minutes.

Leomie Anderson / Via TikTok

This clip shows how Anderson's hair was handled before a team consisting of three hairstylists arrived to style and dry it. Anderson felt that it was a terrible experience and wanted to go home. She pleaded with fashion houses to hire more Black hair stylists and makeup artists to ensure other models don't suffer the same.

Leomie Anderson / Via TikTok

Anderson's experience is not an isolated one, but rather an indication of the risks associated with her job. Model Londone Myers had a similar experience in Paris Fashion Week 2017. Ashley Chew created the hashtag #BlackModelsMatter to highlight the struggles of Black models in their field of work. Fashion Spot analysis shows that New York Fashion Week Spring 2022 had 55.5% of its models being of color, making it the second-most diverse season. Anderson raised many issues about the disconnect between the front and backstage. Christian Cowan declined to comment on Anderson's experience. The British brand is a favourite among Black women, including Sawetie and Cardi B. Andersons TikTok was described by Esther Edeme, a celebrity makeup artist.

Sean Zanni/ Patrick McMullan via Getty Images Anderson in the Christian Cowan show.

This is not a new concept. Edeme said that she is not surprised by the fact that Eve, Jourdan Dunn and Ari Lennox are among her clients. Anderson, a Victorias Secret model and activist, has shared many horror stories with BuzzFeed News, including one with a hairstylist she claimed threatened her career. She was upset that certain products were being used in her hair. Anderson has learned to advocate for her own rights. Anderson received one-on-one lessons from Edeme, a makeup artist, in May to help her fix any mistakes she made.

Neil Mockford/Getty Images Leomie Anderson, Oct. 22, 2021 in London

Edeme stated that even if they make mistakes, she will know what to do. She knows what to add and what to remove. These are all things she has to learn to do. Edeme stated that even with her impressive client list, it is still difficult to secure major fashion jobs. And when they do, only one Black person is hired.

Keisha Esther Eme and Ivorian Doll, British Drill rapper

Edeme stated that sometimes it can be very hostile. Edeme stated that it is a secondary school environment where you are the only Black girl among your white classmates. We don't always get paid the same as white makeup artists, but that's something you find out after speaking with them. Dionne Smith, a veteran hairstylist, says the glass ceiling is the greatest challenge in being a fashion stylist for Black talent. BuzzFeed News told Smith that she quit after two years as a hairdresser at major fashion shows, including Amanda Wakeley and Vivienne Westwood. She said that Regina King, Teyonah Pinnock (Marvel actor), and Little Mix singer Leigh-Anne Pinnock are some of her current clients.

Zakiyah Shani Makeup artist Zakiyah Shani

If you are a Black makeup artist, it is important to show that you are able to work with a wide range of ethnicities if you want regular work. However, the expectation seems to only go one direction, according to Zakiyah Shani, a London-based makeup artist. BuzzFeed News told her that she has seen artists kits in certain jobs. It's only for light-skinned models and is not suited to white people. It's just crazy to think that you are so certain that you won't encounter Black talent in the future. Industry professionals are also fighting against institutional racism. Show Division, a top production company that handles backstage logistics, was founded by Celia Sears who is a former model. It runs workshops with two distinct mandates to improve the diversity of behind-the scenes culture. All hairdressers must be able to style textured hair and all makeup artists must have a wide range of products that can accommodate all skin types. This organization represents 250 artists including nail technicians, makeup artists and session stylists. It hopes to inspire fashion bodies all over the world to follow its example. Shani pointed out that many opportunities are not made available to Black makeup artists. She stated that Black talent has been left out of the market due to a culture of nepotism and gatekeeping. Roles are often not made public or shared between family members of white professionals. Black beauty and hair professionals have taken to their own networks, relying heavily on models and actors of great Black color advocating for inclusion. Edeme stated that it is never the agent, and it is not the booker. It is always the talent who insists on me.

Sean Whitty Hairstylist DionneSmith