African Instagram model recreates famous fashion ads to call out industry's lack of diversity

Black Mirror photoshoot
[Photo: Guess/Deddeh Howard]

As we flick though our latest glossy magazine, there’s always a large selection of iconic fashion label ads to pore over.

But however creative or stunning they are, one thing’s for sure: They’re notably white and lacking in diversity.

So Instagram model and blogger Deddeh Howard, who was born in Liberia, has decided to react in a clever and thought-provoking way.

The LA-based model is calling out the fashion industry through a photo series of her own, ‘Black Mirror’, which are recreations of ads but with Howard in place of the usual model.

So think of ads featuring white models – such as Gisele Bündchen and Gigi Hadid – but with black Howard instead.

Howard strikes the same poses, wears the same makeup, and wears the same clothes.

And the result is striking.

Taken by photographer and Deddeh’s boyfriend, Raffael Dickreuter, the new photos – placed alongside the old – put out the question as to why we don’t see more models of colour in such shots.

And on a personal level, Deddeh is tired of the industry’s backwardness affecting her career.

“Agents would say, ‘Wow, you’re stunning. I love you, but we’re already booked with all these other [diverse] girls. You should go try commercial,” she told Cosmopolitan.

“So I tried — same thing.

“I just gave up. I felt really nasty about myself — disappointed, distraught. I left my entire family [in another part of the country] to pursue this career.”

She would apparently go to casting calls for ads – at which she was told they had ‘already cast’ their required number of black models – and when when the ads came out, no black girls were to be seen.

So Deddeh decided to count in a nearby store how many magazines on display featured women of colour – and when she found none, the idea of Black Mirror was born.

Importantly, Deddeh didn’t choose brands such as Gucci, Chanel, Victoria’s Secret and Louis Vuitton for her series by coincidence – but because they’re brands she knows to be less diverse:

“Brands that fool [people] that they love diversity, but are tricky when they actually choose the photos,” she explained.

But she made it clear that she doesn’t have anything against the original models themselves.

“It’s not going against them — nothing negative,” she said.

“It’s an awareness. These models should agree and take action. It’s not about them or me. We need to change things, move forward.”

What do you think of Deddeh’s ‘Black Mirror’ series? Tweet us at @YahooStyleUK.

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