Black Model Transforms Major Fashion Ads to Promote Racial Diversity


Deddeh Howard is a model, blogger and now a voice for change. Her photo project, ‘Black Mirror’ is bringing attention to the lack of racial diversity and discrimination present in the fashion world.

Deddeh Howard is a 27-year old Liberian-born model based in L.A who is bringing attention to a lack of diversity in the fashion realm. She is raising awareness with her photo project ‘Black Mirror’, where she re-creates some major fashion campaigns that have included Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid, Kate Moss and Gisele Bundchen.

It seems like model agencies put a “quota” when it come to hiring black models and other women of color. They may may pick only one or two women of color and multiple white women.

"“Agencies would often tell me, “We like your look but there’s a black girl already.’ It shouldn’t be limited to just one black girl; there can be more than one! It’s as if [agencies] are ashamed to represent diversity,” she told BuzzFeed news. “There are many beautiful black models and they are not represented the way they should be.”"

Many people are still unaware of the glaring disparities in modeling. Historically, women of color (especially dark-skinned women) have been under-represented in every aspect of the beauty and fashion spectrum. From runways to commercials and print advertisements, black and brown women have been absent from mainstream media or pushed to the background.

But women of color, plus size women and other minority groups are demanding to be seen and represented front and center.

When she isn’t modeling, Deddeh is preoccupied with medical school and managing her very popular blog. According to Cosmo, Deddeh says the inspiration for ‘Black Mirror’ came to her when she was scanning through several fashion magazines and didn’t see much representation of Black, Asian or Latina women.

"“I brought all of the magazines home and turned the pages and said to my boyfriend, ‘Have you seen this? There’s not a black girl!” she told Cosmopolitan."

After talking about her idea with her boyfriend Raffael Dickreuter, the two decided to collaborate. Raffael, an established photographer, helped organize and shoot all of the photos.

Deddeh says that the project was never meant to bash the models in the ads she re-creates. In addition she states,

"“It’s not going against [the models],” Howard told Cosmopolitan. “I’m not saying I’m more beautiful than them. I’m just saying if they can do it, I can do it.”"

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Deddeh is receiving positive feedback for her project and more work is coming to her as well as other women of color. Model agencies are now contacting Deddeh for advice on including more women of color in their fashion campaigns.