What is the “Colour of Beauty”?



By Sharon Haywood

According to a 2008 survey about models in New York fashion week:

  • Six percent are Black
  • Six percent are Asian
  • One percent are Latina
  • Eighty-seven percent are White

When the modeling world is criticized, the media, activists, and the general public focus in on the fact that the standard size zero of today’s models represents a very small percentage of women in the real world. But size is not the only way the fashion industry excludes. A new short documentary, “The Colour of Beauty,” examines how the ideal in fashion is not only is rail thin, but also White. The documentary’s creator Elizabeth St. Philip, highlights Renee Thompson’s experience as a Black model in a White world:

Renee Thompson is trying to make it as a top fashion model in New York. She’s got the looks, the walk and the drive. But she’s a Black model in a world where White women represent the standard of beauty. Agencies rarely hire Black models. And when they do, they want them to look “like White girls dipped in chocolate.”

“The Colour of Beauty,” is part of the Work for All series, a Canadian project that makes “films against racism in the workplace.” View St. Philip’s documentary and learn more here.

Related content:

Censored Census: Latino Isn’t a Race

Afro-Latinas and Why Blatina is Beautiful

The “Mi Pobre Hijo” Syndrome

Culture: Latina Beauties



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