Recent reports about the shockingly low wages models earn at top fashion magazines have revealed yet another layer of the ugly underside to the glamorous world of fashion. But for models of color who also face racial barriers to entry in this highly competitive field, the idea of a full-time modeling career is a particularly high-risk and precarious proposition. Elizabeth St. Philip explores the economic and emotional toll of modeling for women of color in her new mini-documentary called, The Colour of Beauty (2010, 18 min). From the website:
The Colour of Beauty is a short documentary about racial discrimination in the fashion industry. Director Elizabeth St. Philip follows a young and fiercely talented Black model, Renee Thompson, as she navigates the fashion world as a visible minority.
This film asks: Why isn’t the multi-cultural society that we live in reflected in our magazines, on billboards and on the runways of fashion shows? And who are the parties involved in this industry’s lack of diversity? Does the answer lie somewhere in the back rooms of fashion magazines or in the offices of casting directors of fashion shows? Is it something that is discussed at advertising agencies, or between designers and modelling agencies? Whatever the answer, the fact is that models of colour work less, and their chances of success are very low.
(Thanks to Shauna Sweeney for cluing us to this film!)