Model fights for diversity by recreating classic supermodel shoots

By Litaletu Zidepa
10 December 2016

She believes everyone deserves to be represented.

When model Deddeh Howard got tired of being told by modelling agencies, “No thanks, we already have black models,” she thought of a brilliant plan to show how she equally deserves a chance.

The Liberian model decided to hit back by collaborating with photographer Raffael Dickreuter to recreate campaigns by top designers like Gucci, Victoria’s Secret and Dolce and Gabana starring popular mainstream supermodels. “We are bombarded everyday with flashy advertisement, billboards and television ads that try to inspire us to buy the products that are hitting the market. Something that always bothered me when you see these amazing images that very rarely you ever see a black woman on them,” the model wrote on her blog.

Answer to your questions: #blackmirror ; The two images all being shown together should really show that we all have a place, that we all belong and should be visible!! Thanks for all the love ?

A photo posted by Deddeh Howard (@secretofdd) on

“When growing up as a girl I always wondered, why the big brands such as Gucci, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Guess and many others rarely seem to use a black model? And if they do, a very small group of black models does make the cut here and there, but that group seems to remain pretty much identical over a long period of time.”

A photo posted by Deddeh Howard (@secretofdd) on

In the photo series called “Black Mirror” Deddeh said she wanted to poke and bring attention to the need for racial diversity in the fashion and modelling industry and seek for the visibility of black models.

A photo posted by Deddeh Howard (@secretofdd) on

The Liberian born model who is now based in LA further explained in her website secretofdd.com that agencies would compare her to the next one or two black models they had on the call sheet. “Even though I was told by those agencies that I have an amazing look and [they] wish they could represent me, they already have a black model,”she recalled.
“It seemed as if one or two black models on the roster are enough to represent us all. When you are told that, trust me, it feels bizarre.”
In the flawless reproductions photo set, the model can be seen posed in the exact same way as supermodels Michelle Williams, Candice Swanepoel and Gisele Vivara, while donning similar clothes and make-up. Bringing light to the 2017 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, the model highlights that there's a “same pattern you can see at New York Fashion Week or any other famous fashion event: Black girls are almost invisible,” She added that there is always an odd one here and there, labelling it as an “afterthought”.

A photo posted by ?? (@kmj9_9) on

Deddah said she hopes her project will show the world that everyone deserves to be represented. “Just like a Gisele Bundchen, Kate Moss or Candice Swanepoel gets to travel the world, shoot the most amazing campaigns and live an exciting life to inspire young girls, let’s give the next generation something to believe in.”

Sources: secretofdd.com, DailMail.co.uk, BoredPanda.com, Instagram

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